JUPITER -- This wasn't the way Justin Nicolino wanted to start the spring.
Unbeaten FIU -- using wooden bats as opposed to the aluminum ones they are used to -- jumped all over one of the Marlins' top prospects Thursday afternoon. The Panthers scored five earned runs on seven hits off Nicolino and chased him after only 1 2/3 innings.
"I just kind of have to tip my cap to them," Nicolino said. "They came out with an approach and I was working on a few things and they beat me. It was good. It's good to see where I was at today. Obviously not the start I wanted. Like I said the other day, anybody can get beat on any given day. It doesn't matter who it is, college or pro guys. It happens. I liked my [fielding] plays. I take positives out of it."
Tabbed the fourth-best prospect in the organization by Baseball America and the seventh-best left-handed pitching prospect by MLB.com, Nicolino, 22, was disappointed how he finished last season in Double A Jacksonville after having a strong showing for High-A Jupiter.
He went 3-2 with a 4.96 ERA, 31 Ks, 12 BBs in nine starts (45 1/3 innings) in Double A and 5-2 with a 2.23 ERA, 64 Ks, 18 BBs in 18 starts (96 2/3 innings) in Single A.
Nicolino threw 49 pitches, 27 for strikes on Thursday.
"The way I look at it's two innings. My pitch count ran up," he said. "I was throwing too many pitches, putting myself in situations that weren't in my favor. When I saw Red I was disappointed in myself. It's never good to see Red before you're supposed to."
> Credit Ty Wigginton with the first home run of the spring for the Marlins. He took FIU freshman starter Chris Mourelle deep to left with two outs in the bottom of the second. It was the only run Mourelle surrendered over four innings.
JUPITER -- Marlins closer Steve Cishek was looking forward to watching Survivor this season.
Marlins President David Samson was the first of 18 castaways on the reality TV show to get voted off the island by his peers Wednesday night -- just an hour into the 28th season's debut show.
Although many Marlins players say they don't watch the show regularly or even at all, a few said they did tune in Wednesday to see how Samson would do.
"It was quick," relief pitcher Chris Hatcher said. "I never really watched Survivor, but I thought he would have lasted a little longer than that.
"I was actually prepping my taxes a little bit, getting ready. When Samson spoke I would listen a little bit, but other than that I really didn't watch. I just saw him get voted off.
"Honestly, what's the key to the show? Is it MacGyver skills? Is it knowledge? Is it brute strength? I couldn't figure it out. If it's internal politics I'd be the first one out too."
Samson got to the island and was quickly elected his team’s leader. But it didn't take him long to lose support and be dubbed "a schemer."
After being eliminated, Samson said he “had no hard feelings” and that he played the game as he thought it should be played. “I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world," he said.
"When I watched the show it looked like there were other people I would have voted off," pitcher Tom Koehler said. "But there's other things that happen that you don't really see. There's obviously a reason he was the one to go home. Some of them said he was the biggest threat for them going forward. I guess that's why they got rid of him right away."
Cishek said seeing Samson get voted off "drove me nuts."
"I don't know if I'll watch it again," Cishek said. "That other guy was just sitting in his underwear with a majestic background. You could hear in the interview he didn't even want to be there. He wanted to be fed grapes while lounging. Samson was right from the start.
"I can't believe that other girl made it through two rounds. She's a nuclear physicist and she can't even put two blocks together. It's kind of ridiculous. Put me on Wipe Out or something where I can control my own destiny."
> Manager Mike Redmond said pitcher Henderson Alvarez, who had an infection in his right shin drained recently, looked better on Thursday and was walking around camp without his crutches. "I take that as a positive sign," Redmond said.
> Right-hander Angel Sanchez, the lone remaining piece in the Ricky Nolasco trade with the Dodgers, didn't give up any runs over two innings in Wednesday's start against the University of Miami. But he wasn't exactly happy with his effort.
Sanchez struckout two, but walked a batter, gave up two hits and made a fielding error.
"Physically I felt good. The only thing was I wasn't too happy," he said. "I thought I could have done better. I could have had better focus when I was pitching. I could have looked better fielding on the mound. But in the end I did my job. I didn't let anyone touch home plate. I was just working on my breaking pitches, hitting the strike zone and putting my fastball through the strike zone."
Sanchez is expected to begin the season in Double A Jacksonville.
> Marlins: 1. Donovan Solano SS, 2. Derek Dietrich 2B, 3. Marcell Ozuna CF, 4. Jeff Baker 3B, 5. Greg Dobbs 1B, 6. Ty Wigginton DH, 7. Reed Johnson LF, 8. Matt Angle RF, 9. Kyle Skipworth C, LHP Justin Nicolino.
> FIU: 1. Tyler Hibbert CF, 2. Julius Gaines SS, 3. Aramis Garcia C, 4. Josh Anderson 3B, 5. Edwin Rios 2B, 6. J.C. Escarra 1B, 7. Louis Silverio RF, 8. Roche Woodard LF, 9. Chris May DH. RHP Chris Mourelle.