Marlins' open roster spots remain up for grabs
Center fielder, utility infielder, backup catcher competitions continue for Miami
JUPITER, Fla. -- As Opening Day draws near, the Marlins are not any closer to sorting out a number of open spots on the depth chart.
Manager Mike Redmond acknowledged that Miami is in an uncommon situation, with plenty of spots left up for grabs and Opening Day just 2 1/2 weeks away.
"I'm not worried about it yet," Redmond said. "I'm just not. I know we're probably in a more unique situation than a lot of teams are, in the fact that we have so many question marks, but the bullpen and all that stuff will kind of play itself out over the next couple weeks."
With Giancarlo Stanton and Steve Cishek away with Team USA for the World Baseball Classic, and Greg Dobbs (right calf), Placido Polanco (right oblique) and Logan Morrison (right knee) nursing injuries,a number of other players have been able to get additional looks on the diamond. But it hasn't helped provide much clarity.
The center-field job is up for grabs (Justin Ruggiano, Chris Coghlan and Gorkys Hernandez are the top candidates), and the Marlins also need a utility infielder and backup catcher. There's likely to be some competition at the first- and third-base spots, as well.
"I think we kind of anticipated this coming in, that we were going to have a nice battle for a lot of different positions," Redmond said. "Sitting here now, would I love to have somebody really step out in front of that utility-position role? Of course, but nobody's really stepped out in front of that. That's going to be one of those battles that might come down to one of the last days of spring."
Eovaldi plays up to competition vs. Braves
JUPITER, Fla. -- A high-stakes feeling Wednesday night brought out the best in Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi.
Up against much of the best of what the division rival Braves have to offer -- and under the lights at Roger Dean Stadium -- Eovaldi was excellent in five innings, scattering just three hits and one run (a Freddie Freeman home run). He struck out four and did not walk a batter.
"Playing under the lights, that's just a different atmosphere," Eovaldi said. "We're so used to playing under the lights, and being able to get out there and get a start, that's just fun. They had their good lineup out there, and luckily I was locating my pitches for the most part and getting ahead in the count."
After Freeman led off the second with the deep blast to right field, B.J. Upton doubled. But Eovaldi was able to limit the damage by retiring the next three hitters in order.
"No walks, that was a huge part of it, too," the righty said. "Working ahead, getting relatively quick outs. Staying ahead in counts."
After throwing 70 pitches on Wednesday (49 strikes), Eovaldi said he expects to get up to around 85 in his next outing.
"I felt really good," Eovaldi said. "That last inning I kind of fell behind, not getting that first-pitch strike, but still felt really good."
Stanton to chat with fans in Chatting Cage
JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton is temporarily away from camp, but fans can still keep in touch with him via the Chatting Cage online Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Stanton will be participating in the video chat in which fans can ask questions and he will answer them online. Fans can also tweet questions, using the hashtag #chattingcage on Twitter.
While Stanton's teammates are in camp in Jupiter, he's with Team USA at the World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park in Miami. The outfielder went 2-for-3 with a walk in the Americans' 7-1 win over Puerto Rico on Tuesday night.
Team USA faces the Dominican Republic on Thursday (7 p.m. ET) with a chance to advance to the semifinals in San Francisco.
Marlins announce early-season Saturday concerts
JUPITER, Fla. -- Willy Chirino, Fatman Scoop and Coolio featuring Biz Markie will perform at Marlins Park in the first three Saturday Spectacular postgame events in Miami.
After the respective games, fans can go to the West Plaza for the concerts, beginning with the Grammy Award winner Chirino on April 13 after the Marlins' contest against the Phillies.
Coolio and Biz Markie will perform April 27, and Fat Man Scoop will perform May 18.
All 13 Saturday home games this season will feature a pregame party on the West Plaza, with live music on the main stage, appearances from the Marlins and Office Depot Sea Creatures, interactive displays and other entertainment. Postgame events are included with the price of admission to the game on those days.
• Joe Mahoney, one of the Marlins' few left-handed power hitters and a candidate at first base while Logan Morrison recovers from a right knee injury, has an oblique injury that will keep him out of action indefinitely, Redmond said.
"He's not able to do anything," Redmond said. "He's just resting right now. Obviously, I know he's disappointed to have that happen to him this time of the year."
Mahoney was hitting 7-for-30 this spring with three homers and eight RBIs in nine games.
"He was doing a nice job," Redmond said. "We were getting an opportunity to get him into games, and he was definitely in the mix. He was having some good at-bats and showing some power. It's unfortunate that happened to him at this time of Spring Training. I'm still holding out hope that he'll be able to come back and play."
• Morrison was out throwing on Wednesday afternoon, and Redmond said he still continues to progress from his Sept. 5 knee surgery.
"We're just taking our time with him," Redmond said. "We want to make sure he's good to go before he starts ramping it up."
• Ruggiano will stay behind on Friday when the team travels to Tampa, Fla., and hit in a Minor League game, then play with the team on Saturday.
• Former NFL coach Bill Parcells was at Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday night, and spoke to Redmond and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez before the game.
"He said baseball was his No. 1 sport, and that's what he really loved to do," Redmond said. "And I said, 'Well, I think that football thing's worked out well for you."
• In addition to top prospect Jose Fernandez being sent down, outfielder Jake Marisnick was also reassigned to Minor League camp on Wednesday, and right-hander Chris Hatcher was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.