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Valaika to get his first career start -- Little League included -- at first base versus Braves

As a utility infielder Chris Valaika said he's always had a first baseman's glove in his travel bag just in case it has been needed in an emergency situation. 

It isn't exactly an emergency situation now, but Valaika will finally be putting his first baseman's glove to work tonight. The Marlins are starting the 27-year old at first base against the Braves. It's not just the first time Valaika will be playing first base in the big leagues. It's the first time ever in a game -- Little League included.

"With Cincinnati I had always taken ground balls over there just in case," said Valaika, who in a span of 35 games over three-plus big league seasons has played third base, second base and shortstop, but never first. 

"There was a time when Joey [Votto] was out where I almost got in. But it never happened. This is Day 1."

Valaika, who has known for the past few days he would likely get a start at first, is getting the nod to play first because Marlins skipper Mike Redmond said he wanted to give Greg Dobbs the day off against Braves left-hander Mike Minor. Valaika, a right-handed hitter, is a career .284 hitter. He's been taking grounders at first with the Marlins since the spring and began getting more work there once Casey Kotchman went on the disabled list last Thursday with a strained left hamstring. 

"We've talked about the position we're in over there," Redmond said. "[Valaika] had some good at-bats the other day in New York against lefty. This is the situation we're in. We need somebody to play first. He's the guy. I feel 100 percent confident he can go over there and do a good job."

Redmond said first base help could be on the way in the next week or two. Left-handed hitting Joe Mahoney, who showed some power this spring before straining his oblique and going on the disabled list on March 22nd, played in his first rehab game Wednesday and went 1-for-4 with a home run and two strikeouts in extended spring training according to Redmond. Mahoney is expected to get some more at-bats in Single A Jupiter soon, Redmond said.

"We all liked him in spring training," Redmond said of Mahoney. "When we talked about a guy who could potentially hit behind Stanton he was one of the guys. He has a lot of pop. He was having a good spring and just got hurt that last two weeks of spring training and that was it. Had he stayed healthy, that decision probably would have been a lot tougher."

> Logan Morrison, who was slated to be the Marlins Opening Day first baseman but is still recovering from knee surgery, said Monday his target date for his first rehab action is May 3rd. Morrison is hitting, throwing and now just beginning to put his full weight on his knee while running.

> Tuesday night's announced crowd of 14,222 was the smallest in Marlins Park's brief two-year history. The Marlins, who obviously expected smaller crowds this season with only 5,000 season ticket holders (a drop off from 12,000 a year ago), only drew fewer than Tuesday's total 14 times in their final year at Sun Life Stadium.

WEDNESDAY'S LINEUPS

> Braves (7-1): 1. Andrelton Simmons SS, 2. Jason Heyward RF, 3. Jason Upton LF, 4. Evan Gattis C, 5. Dan Uggla 2B, 6. Juan Francisco 3B, 7. Chris Johnson 1B, 8. Jordan Schafer CF, 9. LHP Mike Minor.

> Marlins (1-7): 1. Juan Pierre LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Placido Polanco 3B, 5. Justin Ruggiano CF, 6. Miguel Olivo C, 7. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 8. Chris Valaika 1B, 9. RHP Alex Sanabia.

Comments

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Lou

Oh!! Oh!! Marlins just fell behind 1-0. Game. Set. Match.

Camera Mike

Watching the games I'm starting to think my prediction of 57-105 was overly optimistic.

flagstaffishfan

MLB may have to contract this team just on principle alone.

Lou

Sorry!! Went outside for a second and the Braves scred a TD but Stanton blocked the point after.

Camera Mike, My wife is irate that I did not bet more on the Marlins'over and under in Vegas. I wonder if that number changes from week to week and if I can bet more? How in the Hell do you think they are going to win 56 more games. That would require them to go 56-97 over last 153 games and that ain't heppening.

Earlier in the week I said I was going to STILL pull for them to win,however, that would be foolish. This team has a chance to do something no team has ever done. Either the Braves or Nats will win at least 97, the Marlins are not winning more than 50 so they could finish 47!!!!!!!! games behind. That is mind boggling and the funny thing is there is a much better chance of it being worse and not better.

Camera Mike

How many losses do the Marlins have to finish the season with for Bud to have to get involved?

Lou

Maybe Bud wants baseball out of Miami. Who knows? I just looked at the schedule and after tonight they are 1-8 with 3 coming up against the Phillies and Nats, then 4 on the road against the Reds and 2 in Minnesota. I'm looking at a 1-20 going into the Cub series. I'm telling you--jump on the bandwagon. It will be quite a ride.

Camera Mike

I have to ask a question I never though I'd seriously ask. Is there finally a team to break the 1962 Mets losses record?

Lou

Mike, You must Remember IF Miami was a REAL baseball city there already would have been an intervention. Maybe this is a subtle effort to retrench and cut back on teams. Houston could be next. Players Association would go nuts but there would be a good argument for dropping a couple of teams if they were finishing 50 or more out of First.

flagstaffishfan

I was thinking the same same thing Camera. I think Bud is almost as big a scumbag as Loria so unless we break the record we may be stuck in baseball purgatory for eternity because old farts like Loria seem to live forever.

m krebs

No chance they are going to drop the Miami franchise with a new $500,000 ballpark. That's the one thing out of all this that we KNOW can't happen. Loria signed a contract agreeing that the franchise would stay here for 30 years, I believe it was.

flagstaffishfan

Good point.

Marlin Fan

Ah , the bullpen continues to give up runs . ...Lou, Stanton was offsides , so the rekick was good !!!! Anyone know what the record is for most times being shut out in a year ?

Camera Mike

flagstafffishfan, even if we break the record Bud may still do nothing. Remember the Astros are probably looking at their third consecutive 100 loss season and he has yet to do anything there.

Marlin Fan

Doesnt Selig's daughter own the Astros??? The Pirates had , I think 18 consecutive losing seasons , the Cubs , Royals , have been terrible for years . Don't think he will do anything .

Poo Poo Platter

Question: Could this team compete in the College World Series?

Poo Poo Platter

This could be the worst professional team ever assembled in sports

Camera Mike

Sadly the Pirates are up to 20 consecutive losing seasons. Just to put that into perspective. They entire time the Marlins have existed the Pirates haven't finished with a winning record. My heart does go out to their fans.

answer man

The 1908 St Louis Cardinals hold the MLB record ,getting shutout 33 times.Their record was 49-105.

Marlin Fan

Thank you answer man . Something to shoot for . I Valaika playing 1B for the first time . Exciting debut of Skipworth and Coughlin's first hit !!!!

Lou

The 63 Mets were shutout 30 times. We can shatter these records with some concentration.

Lou

What has the Marlins'record been since June 1 of last year? This year would have really been the year to do that Showtime Special. I'm going to go and check out the minors where all the "talent" is residing.

Carlos Fernandez Blanco

...This post isn't lost; a support column with Marisnik, Yelich, Osuna et. al. is in transit.
There are also Kotchmann, Mahoney and others who are suffering from nothing more than muscle pulls. The Marlins are losing, but they're not in disorder.

carlos hernandez negro

Disorder? They are dis odor,as in they STINK. Dead Fish.

Carlos Fernandez Blanco

...Cousin, Hernandez, moderate your speech, or the FO may start another " basement-sale".

gardens

I am interested and also considering what you are talking about below.

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