Marlins Park hosted the World Baseball Classic this week, with six second round tournament games played with, and without Miami’s retractable roof. Giancarlo Stanton and the WBC fun in Miami leave town Saturday, but there’s plenty of Marlin competition ninety minutes north in the Grapefruit league.
The Marlins shortened the list of athletes playing in Marlins Park on opening day, assigning Jose Fernandez and Jake Marisnick to minor league camp, and optioning Chris Hatcher to Triple A New Orleans. The always charismatic Fernandez wasn’t discouraged by the assignment.
“They were trying to make it easy for me and I told them, ‘You don’t have to. It’s not a big deal,’” Fernandez said. “I understand how this works. I’m fine.”
Fish Pond blogger, Joe Frisaro outlined many of the positional matchups that Marlins management is still reviewing here. Some positions still in question include: backup catcher, utility infielder, first base, and the main show: center field.
Top prospect Christian Yelich hasn’t made the center field decision easy on management. Yelich has looked more than comfortable at the plate, racking up 13 hits and 6 walks as of Thursday. With consistent production and late-game heroics on top, the 21-year old is making waves, perhaps enough to win a spot on the 40-man when Alfredo Silverio is placed on the DL.
Along with Yelich’s monster spring, front-runner Justin Ruggiano has seen significantly less playing time in 2013 than Gorkys Hernandez and Chris Coghlan, making the competition hotter than ever.
Sun Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez tweeted a couple thoughts on the center field situation Wednesday evening:
@zomall: Why the turnstile in CF? Hasn’t justinruggiano more than proven himself worthy of that job?
We are less than twenty-four days away from the 2013 home opener, and there’s still some question as to who gets to play at Marlins Park. Team USA resides there for now, but who will be there come April 1st? Yelich? Coghlan? Hit up the poll and the comments section below.