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Beinfest Blasts Defense

            JUPITER -- Following a four-error performance by the Marlins in their first spring training game, Larry Beinfest ripped the defense, calling it "unacceptable," even for the first day.

            "I don't care if it's the first day or the last day," Beinfest said. "We need to play better defense from the start, set the tone."

           Beinfest, the Marlins' president of baseball operations, has been preaching better defense for a club that has committed more fielding errors over the past three seasons than any team in the majors.

           On Wednesday, the Marlins escaped with a sloppy, 5-5 tie, against the St. Louis Cardinals in which three members of their starting infield -- first baseman Gaby Sanchez, second baseman Dan Uggla and shortstop Hanley Ramirez -- were each charged with errors.

           And third baseman Jorge Cantu just missed making one.

           Beinfest broke into a post-game discussion between reporters and manager Fredi Gonzalez, saying he was unhappy with the effort.

           "More runs than errors, we'll take it as a positive," Beinfest said facetiously. "Not the way you want to start. This team is going to take pride in its defense. Yes, it is the first day. But we're capable of playing better defense. We have guys who are capable of doing it. We need to do it."