Unlike fellow rookie outfielder Christian Yelich who got a chance to play at Marlins Park last year when the team took on the University of Miami and FIU in preseason exhibition games, Jake Marisnick took his first tour of Marlins Park Friday afternoon.
Covering the spacious gaps in the outfield are nothing the 22-year old center fielder says he's too worried about.
In fact... "I look at it and it just kind of gets me fired up, it gets me excited to run around out there," he said with a smile. "Not quite [like Double A], but Jacksonville was pretty deep too. It's 420 feet to dead center."
Known for his speed and dandy glove work, Marisnick was the player the Marlins demanded the Blue Jays include in the teams' blockbuster deal last winter. Called up to the big leagues late Monday night, he's still looking for his first big league hit.
He's 0-for-12 with four strikeouts thus far. But Marisnick said Friday that's par for the course for him.
"If you look back at all the promotions I’ve had I’ve kind of went through a little bit of a struggle. I get there and try to do too much instead of just play," he said.
In his three games in Colorado Marisnick said he felt he had good at-bats. "A couple I was kind of just a little overanxious," he said. "For the most part I feel comfortable. Just a matter of time until I settle in and feel good.
"It’s quality pitching [at the big league level] but it’s nothing too special from what we’re seeing in Double A. It’s the same stuff. It comes down to being relaxed and getting a good pitch to hit. That comes over time and experience."
The only Marlin in franchise history to begin his major league career on a longer drought was Nigel Wilson, the team's No. 1 pick in the 1992 expansion draft. Wilson began his career 0-for-16 with the Marlins. He didn't get his first big league hit until three years later with the Indians after he started his career 0-for-26.
Yelich, who went 3-for-4 in his debut with two RBI, said he's not too worried about Marisnick's early struggles at the plate.
"He's hit some balls hard. He lined out that first night. He hit a ball well the other day. He's not finding holes right now, but he'll be alright," Yelich said. "That first one is going to be a pretty special moment for him."
> Roommates at Double A Jacksonville, Yelich and Marisnick are currently staying in a hotel here in South Florida. Yelich said it's likely the two rookies will find an apartment to share together in the coming week.
Yelich said he had four friends from California drive more than 20 hours to Denver to come watch him play Thursday. "They left during the rain delay and texted me this morning at 11 o'clock to tell me they made it home," he said. "Pretty solid friends."
> Rookie outfielder Marcell Ozuna, expected to miss the rest of the season, had successful surgery on his left thumb Friday. Marlins general manager Mike Hill said Ozuna will likely be out six to eight weeks before resuming baseball activities. It's possible Ozuna could play winter ball to prepare himself for the competition in spring training.
> Former All-Star first baseman and Miami native Gaby Sanchez returned home Friday to play in his first game since being traded to the Pirates and received a special gift from Marlins President David Samson -- a suite for his family and friends to watch the game.
"The Marlins have still been very nice with me," said Sanchez, who was dealt to Pittsburgh before the trade deadline last July along with a minor league pitcher for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez (traded to Kansas City earlier this week) and compensatory pick after the first round.
"Samson every once and a while will still send me a text. Those things are nice to see. We ended it with good ties. It wasn't like we were mad or anything. It was just business."
Sanchez, who earned his All-Star invite with the Marlins in 2011, said he spent a long time Friday talking with former teammate Greg Dobbs. He said he still exchanges text messages with Giancarlo Stanton from time-to-time.
" I still have a lot of friends in that clubhouse," Sanchez said. "Although a lot of them aren't there anymore, it's fun to get out there and say hello."
What is it like playing for a team with the second-best record in the National League these days?
"It's fun coming to the ballpark everyday knowing with this team we have the ability to win every game," Sanchez said. "With our pitching staff, with our bullpen we know we have what it takes for a team to win. Every single guy in this clubhouse is awesome, hangs out together. I think that translates to the game. We're having fun in here, we're having fun out there. It's a very loose feeling atmosphere where we're just playing baseball and enjoying things like we should."
> Pirates (60-40): 1. Starling Marte LF, 2. Neil Walker 2B, 3. Andrew McCutchen CF, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3B, 5. Russell Martin C, 6. Garrett Jones RF, 7. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 8. Jordy Mercer SS, 9. Jeff Locke RHP.
> Marlins (38-62): 1. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 2. Christian Yelich LF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Ed Lucas 3B, 5. Logan Morrison 1B, 6. Donovan Solano 2B, 7. Jake Marisnick CF, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Henderson Alvarez RHP.