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Derek Dietrich going with the LeBron James' look

JUPITER -- Derek Dietrich had a surprise waiting for him at his locker when he showed up for work Saturday. Someone decided to poke fun at the second baseman with the broken nose by placing a catcher's mask on his stool.

Dietrich won't be wearing any such device when he begins taking ground balls again, perhaps within a day or two. But he will be wearing a protective face mask similar to the one worn by LeBron James after the Miami Heat star had his nose broken.

"It's going to be clear, but maybe not as extreme, because he's playing in the paint and taking it to the rim, and I'm pretty much contract-free unless the ball takes a bad hop again," Dietrich said. "That's all we're trying to protect."

Call it a coincidence but Dietrich, like James, hails from Cleveland. In fact, Dietrich played both baseball and basketball at St. Ignatius High School, which frequently plays James' alma mater, St. Vincent/St. Mary's. Dietrich, though, was a shooting guard in his prep days and nowhere near the star that James was.

Dietrich said the same person who made James' mask is making his, as well.

Could there be a poster on the horizon featuring the two Miami professional athletes with broken noses?

"I've been telling (Marlins media relations director) Matt Roebuck that we need to get something (going) on that," Dietrich said. "Miami Marlins. Miami Heat. Cleveland guys. Both had to wear masks recently...."

Dietrich was to receive the mask sometime later on the day Saturday and begin wearing it during infield practice, perhaps as early as Sunday. He said his nose felt significantly better on Saturday than it did on Thursday when a sharp ground ball took a wicked hop and struck him in the face.

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Jake Marisnick is having the best spring of any Marlin. But that might not be enough to earn him an Opening Day roster spot, as the Marlins are continuing to evaluate their outfield options.

Marisnick had three hits Friday against the Astros to raise his average to .429. He's also stolen four bases, which equals Adeiny Hechavarria for the team lead.

"I think the spring training (numbers) is a tough one," Redmond said of spring training statistics in general, "because it does factor in. And some guys you go by (past) track record."

As Marcell Ozuna (.171) continues to struggle, the outfield battle is one of the most intriguing ones heading into the final week of spring training. Giancarlo Stanton has right field locked up, and Christian Yelich is beginning to see regualr time in center, which was to have been the position belonging to Ozuna. It suggests strongly that the Marlins are leaning toward Yelich as their Opening Day center fielder, which is Marisnick's natural position.

Marisnick did not hit well with the Marlins after being called up last season, and the feeling could be that he might benefit from additional at bats in the minors. The Marlins would prefer Marisnick play every day as opposed to a part-time role, which is yet another reason why he could start out in the minors, perhaps with Ozuna as his teammate. The Marlins could opt to platoon in left with Reed Johnson, Brian Bogusevic and Jeff Baker seeing time there.

But that all remains to be seen, as final roster decisions will be made over the coming days.

"He's in the middle of these tough decisions," Redmond said of Marisnick. "He's definitely made a case for himself, and that's one of those where we have to decide, does he need more at bats in the minor leagues? Or is he ready to play in the big leagues? He needs to play everyday."

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-- Rafael Furcal was to take part in base running deals on Saturday and could play in a minor-league game as early as Monday depending on how his injured hamstring reacts.

-- Ed Lucas (hamstring) homered Friday in a minor league game while being used as a designated hitter. Following a day off Saturday, he'll make the trip to Lakeland on Sunday and play first against the Tigers.

-- Greg Dobbs (quad) is scheduled to play in a minor league game Saturday.

Comments

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Stan M

Yesterday was the first day all Spring when our pitchers who are important to the team this year disappointed.

Dietrich had been looking good on the balls he didn't hit...or swing at. It seemed to me that he was "taking" pitches that were trouble for him last year...out of the strike zone swings and misses.

Camera Mike

Did anyone else catch the 30 teams in 30 days segment MLB network did on the Marlins?

It was rather interesting. Mostly positive in terms of the potential of all the young players and direction the fish are trending but also had enough qualifiers thrown in that they successfully hedged their bets if the team stagnates this year. Though all were in agreement that the team is in a better place then last year due to one more year of experience in either the majors or minors for the young players and a better crop of veterans on this years squad. Though I don't think it's much of a stretch to declare the risks of Furcal, Jones, and McGehee to be superior to the realities of Juan Pierre and Placido Polanco. I didn't include Saltalamacchia on that list as I see him as more of a known quantity then the other three.

As for predictions the experts were all over the place. Baseball Prospectus predicts a record of 69-93 which while dismal is still an improvement of 7 wins. Mitch Williams has the Marlins still finishing last in the division. Harold Reynolds is optimistic as sees a .500 record while Joel Sherman is predicting a 3rd place NL east finish. Though he added that's more due to deficiencies in the Phillies and Mets. Ron Darling went with a rather vague prediction of simply not last in the division.

While no one was gushing over the future of the team (which would have been absurd and I was in no way expecting to hear) it was refreshing to hear everyone in agreement on the overall direction of the team and the potential of the younger players even the ones having disappointing spring trainings.

As for my prediction. I believe the team is stronger then last year though still no where near ready to seriously compete, especially against the Braves and Nationals. They will still make more then their share of mistakes and take some lumps through some slumps and losing streaks but I'm optimistic that we will see improvement throughout the season. I predict a final record of 70-92 which will be good enough for 4th place in the division.

I look forward the reading how everyone else here feels the Marlins will do.

Delray

The Marlins will be fine if Marisnick starts the season leading off and playing CF and Dietrich is in the two hole at second base. Yelich should be hitting 7th or 8th based on this spring.

Stan M

Delray, everything I read indicates that Marisnick will start the year in the minors. Ozuna has looked awful, whereas Marisnick is hitting over .400 this Spring. Marisnick is far and away our best outfielder and has even been very effective stealing bases (he was called out once when TV replays showed he was obviously safe). This team is built on pitching so defense will be critical. So naturally they'll pick Ozuna because he had a few hot weeks last year before the pitchers figured him out and picked him apart. The one thing that he did do well was to show Stanton how RF should be played and Stanton was a far better outfielder when he finally returned to the lineup. However, that does not mean that Ozuna is a CFer worthy of covering the expanses in our home field. Favoring Ozuna right now ranks right up there with signing Furcal so that Dietrich and Solano can stagnate. Makes no sense. I think Furcal was hired as a veteran presence who is there to show these kids how they should act when on the DL which it looks like will be his designated position.

Flav C.

Camera,

I think that April-May will be very telling of how the Marlins is prepared for 2014. They play 26 games against very good teams ( Dodgers 6 times, Mariners 3 times, Nats 9 games, Braves 8 games)and will include a 11-games trip to the West. If they are able to have 10-16 or 11-15 record against those teams, I'd say they will look in good shape.

Last season they had a 7-12 record against the Phillies. Considering the mess the Phillies is right now, and will probably be even worse after AS Break, I would revert this record in favor of the Marlins (11-8). The Braves won't have two of their aces for the entire season, and the Mets is in a situation very similar to the Marlins. The Nats, imo, is the true favorite in the NL East.

2013 showed the Marlins with a 29-47 record against NL East foes. I would think they will be able to go 36-40 this season.

Overall record: 77-85.

Russell

I'm boring and therefore will take Mike's 70-92 and the Marlins will fight the Mets and Phillies for the right to scream we're no. 3! As we all know the team will go as far as the pitching will take them. It will be difficult for Fernandez to not suffer any drop-off but he may just be that good.

The Marlins' FO continues to seek reclamation past their prime players who will prove to be no better than a kid in AA or run of the mill AAAAer. Stanton is a game changer but only if he remains healthy, however with zero protection behind him he will not see 500 ABs and will be hard pressed to stay patient at the plate.

I believe Vegas has the over/under at 69 1/2 so…. I guess this season will be a success?

richie

totally agree with Stan M and comments about Marisnick, Dietrich, and Furcal. Maybe Marlins will surprise and make some good decisions but don't count on it.

the Truth

Lorias Marlins will be a success this season if they improve by winning 10 more games than 13' and 1 million people{not including the phony tickets sold/given away no show count} actually show up in person at Marlins Park to watch them play. That's realistic Marlins success,bottom line. Not much to ask for,not much to expect.

Lou Vales

As usual Stan nailed it with his remarks. I'm a little surprised that no mention was made of Skipworth's demotion to the minors, He has started a Bull Durham like career------without the production----and one can only hope he meets up with an Annie like baseball groupie in New Orleans. Kyle was able to go the spring without a hit but it is Spring and hope beats eternal in the hearts of the remaining Skipworth supporters who believe he is a late bloomer. I'm not botanist maybe someone can skip in with a tidbit about the bloom taking the longest to show some luster. Maybe it could be renamed a "Skippy"

NOLA

the only Skipworth supporters left come with a bad case of permanent minor league jock itch.

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