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Decisions remain for the Marlins on Maine, Skipworth and others

    FORT MYERS -- It's coming down to the wire for a number of players fighting for roster spots, including a couple whose jobs might not be as secure as they would appear to be.

     Take catcher Kyle Skipworth, for example. The Marlins have only three catchers on their 40-man roster and one of those, Jeff Mathis, is injured and not due back until May 1 or thereabouts. The Marlins recently signed veteran backup Koyie Hill, who is behind the plate for them this afternoon but is not on the 40-man. Koyie doesn't swing the stick all that well, but does bring some major league experience. Rob Brantly, who will receive the bulk of the catching duties, has only 100 big league at bats. Skipworth has never played above Double A.

      "To have two young guys like that is not an idea situation," manager Mike Redmond said of a Brantly/Skipworth tandem to start the season. "I feel comfortable with 'Skippy,' but at the same time I'm nervous having two young guys back there. So we'll have to see how that plays out. All those are issues and things we have to take into account. That's why it's going down to the last day, to make those decisions."

       Another player whose name is not etched in stone is pitcher John Maine, even though he would appear to be the long reliever based on how the roster shapes up at present. (Maine is also scheduled to pitch today in relief of Kevin Slowey).

       Once again, Redmond could not say with any certainty that Maine will make the club.

       "We're still deciding on Maine, trying to decide what we're going to do there," Redmond said. "It's something we're trying to figure out."

       It's possible the Marlins could be discussing possible trades with other teams, trying to match needs, as spring training winds down. The Marlins have pulled off last-minute deals in the past, acquiring Ross Gload in 2009 and Nate Robertson in 2010 just before the start of the season.

       The Marlins also haven't settled on a backup infielder or extra outfielder. Actually, Redmond said minds are pretty much made up internally on those two roles but an official announcement likely won't be made until Thursday.

       Chris Coghlan and Gorkys Hernandez are vying for the extra outfield spot while Wilson Valdez and Chris Valaika are battling to make the team as the utility infielder. All four players are in the lineup this afternoon.

Comments

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Charlie X

Gorkys Hernandez has been pulled from the game after the 2nd inning. Is he about to be moved?

Flav C.

Charlie,

Looks like you're right about that.

Flav C.

I wrote this in another baseball blog, and decided to share with my fellow baseball fans here:

Hitting/Offense woes for the Marlins - A Spring Training Story

- Only 3 NL teams scored less runs (Mets, Pirates, Brewers)
- Only 2 NL teams had less extra-base hits (Dodgers, D-Backs)
- 47% of the extra-base hits were hit by players who are not in spring training anymore (sent to minors or gone for good)
- Also, 47% of the runs were driven by players not in spring training anymore. Compare it to Braves 23%, Phillies 28%, Nats 27%, and Mets 34%.
- Only 2 NL teams had less stolen bases than the Marlins (Mets, Rockies)
- In the NL East, the Marlins struggled the most to score runs against major league starting pitchers. Most of its runs were scored against relief pitchers and/or minor league pitchers - 46% of its runs scored against relievers/minor leaguers. Compare it to Phillies 61%, Braves 56%, Nats 53%, and Mets 51%.

A team that is hitting so poorly, and so depleted of power, will rely a lot on extra-aggressiveness running bases, which was not seen at all during spring training.

On top of that, there will be extra-pressure to have productive at-bats, avoiding hitting into double play - Marlins had the second highest amount of hit into DP in the NL - and most importantly: near to perfect execution when runners in scoring position. Just in case you're wondering, the Marlins had the 9th best hitting avg w/ RISP in the NL (middle of the pack).

Tino and Redmond will have their hands full.

Flav C.

Correction:

Where you read: "46% of its runs scored against relievers/minor leaguers", it should read "46% of its runs scored against major league starters".

Stan M

The unfortunate passing of Virgil Trucks reminded me of another pitcher who pitched 2 no hitters in the same year. It was Allie Reynolds of the Yankees and I believe he turned the trick the year immediately before Trucks. What is memorable to me about Reynolds no hitters was the second one against the mighty Red Sox. With 2 outs in the last of the ninth, up came Ted Williams. He popped the ball up behind home plate and Yogi Berra went back near the screen...and dropped the damn ball! I don't remember if it was on the very next pitch, but damned if Williams didn't pop the ball back to just about the exact same place again. Yes, Yogi caught this one and the second no hitter was history. I saw the game on TV and it seems like yesterday. Berra must have had some lump in his throat after almost blowing the no hitter, and against Ted Williams no less.

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