Baseball will continue its tradition Monday of honoring the 66th year anniversary of Hall of Fame Dodger Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier in 1947 by having all its players wear Robinson's retired number of '42.'
Thursday night a couple of Marlins -- utility infielder Chris Valaika, rookie catcher Kyle Skipworth and general manager Mike Hill -- attended a special screening of the new movie '42' chronicling Robinson's story over at Dolphin Mall in west Miami-Dade.
Hill, along with several local dignitaries, presented a check for $4,200 to the Jackie Robinson foundation, which provides comprehensive scholarships and support services to minority students enrolled at institutions of higher education.
As for the movie, Hill said he enjoyed it.
"You know the story about him breaking through the barrier, but I didn't know it was like that," Valaika said. "Those scenes with him getting heckled by the [Phillies] manager [Ben Chapman] were pretty intense and then when he went in the tunnel and broke down like that. It's unbelievable what he had to do. It took a special person like they said in the movie not to fight back."
FERNANDEZ A LITTLE NERVOUS ABOUT FIRST HOME START
Marlins rookie right-hander Jose Fernandez said he expects to have a few more butterflies in his stomach -- and a few more friends and family in the seats -- Saturday when he makes his Marlins Park debut against Cole Hamels and the Phillies.
"I got a lot of family coming that couldn't come to New York," said Fernandez, who became the youngest pitcher in 30 years to register eight or more strikeouts in his MLB debut last Sunday against the Mets.
"Two or three of my cousins and a lot of friends and people I knew in Tampa will be coming. It will be fun."
Not only is Fernandez going to have more friends and family in the crowd, but pitching in a city with so many Cuban-Americans is also something he admits is weighing on his mind. It took the 20-year old four attempts and the near drowning of his mother to flee from Cuba five years ago. His story of defection resonates with many here.
"The kids and fans -- they know everytime I go out I'm going to give 100 percent for me and the fans," Fernandez said when asked if he thinks he can serve as a role model for Cuban-Americans in South Florida. "I love to compete. They're going to enjoy every time I go out there.
"I wasn't nervous last Sunday at all. I don't know, maybe Saturday, first start in Miami, maybe I'll be a little nervous. But it's not a big deal. After I throw the first pitch, I'll be doing what I do. At the end of the day it's pitching and time to get outs."
Manager Mike Redmond said Friday he isn't worried about Fernandez psyching himself out.
"I hope he just continues to do what he did, build off what he did his last start. He was totally under control," said Redmond, who saw Fernandez give up just three hits, one walk and one earned run over five innings.
"I'm sure all those things will go through his mind. Will he be more amped up? I'm sure he probably will. But I think he understands his emotions and what he has to do. As a young kid I think that's why we're all impressed with him. I feel confident after that first pitch or first couple pitches he'll gather himself."
The Marlins endured quite a few injuries this spring. A few guys finally appear to be getting healthy.
> Right-hander Henderson Alvarez threw his first bullpen on Friday since going on the disabled list March 27 with right shoulder inflammation. Alvarez threw 15 pitches and said he felt fine afterward.
"He'll ramp up the pitches probably with some change ups in there [next time]," Redmond said. "He'll start a progression, building his arm strength back up."
> Backup first baseman Joe Mahoney (intercostal strain) on the DL since March 22nd has played in a few extended spring training games and will play his first rehab game with Single A Jupiter Friday night.
Marlins vice president of player development Marty Scott had a few updates for our Clark Spencer on some of the franchise's top minor league talents.
> Outfielder Christian Yelich (heel/foot) did full sale running "with absolutely no pain" on Friday. He will see a doctor on Monday and will likely get cleared to play in extended spring games before he is moved up to Double A Jacksonville.
> Outfielder Jake Marisnick (broken bone left hand) will serve as a designated hitter Saturday in extended spring training. He's probably four to six days away from being shipped up to Jacksonville.
> Marcell Ozuna (broken bone left hand) has been cleared to take batting practice and is probably four to five days away from playing in a rehab game.
> Left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney (lat injury) will throw a 25-pitch bullpen Saturday. Heaney, the team's 2012 first round pick, has been playing long toss.
> Phillies (4-5): 1. Ben Revere CF, 2. Jimmy Rollins SS, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 4. Ryan Howard 1B, 5. Michael Young 3B, 6. Domonic Brown LF, 7. Laynce Nix RF, 8. Erik Kratz C, 9. LHP John Lannan.
> Marlins (1-8): 1. Juan Pierre LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Placido Polanco 3B, 5. Greg Dobbs 1B, 6. Justin Ruggiano CF, 7. Rob Brantly C, 8. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 9. RHP Ricky Nolasco.