Mar 6, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Brad Hand (52) throws against the Boston Red Sox at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday, Marlins fans were treated to Giancarlo Stanton’s latest attempt to successfully launch the world’s smallest geosynchronous satellite. This one was closer than the last, with reports of escort aircraft being scrambled out of Patrick AFB. The actual distance traveled was in the 450-470’ range. The Marlins lost that game, but held the Tigers scoreless through the first four innings. The early lead fell by the wayside when the jersey numbers started getting bigger.
Today’s tilt is technically a road trip, but is well within an easy commute of the Abacoa complex. The Marlins travel to Port St. Lucie to face Bartolo Colon and the Mets. The 41-year-old veteran moved East after a 2013 season in Oakland, and has inked a 2-year deal with the Mets. His age is accompanied with an uptick in injuries, but he still managed an 18-6 record last year, with a 2.65 ERA. If he’s healthy, he’s dangerous.
The Marlins are scheduled to take a look at Brad Hand for the contentious fifth spot in the rotation. Hand has been up and down in the big leagues, and is not considered to be at the top of the list for the fifth spot, but may be able to make a case for himself in the bullpen.
Most likely, coaches and managers are looking at today’s game as an opportunity to focus on offense, and to see if Hand stays up or gets a ticket to New Orleans. As the team approaches the midpoint of Spring Training, manager Mike Redmond will shift from evaluation mode to fine-tuning for his primary lineup. The objective now is to give his starters game time to build team cohesion, and to develop their at-bat approaches as the starting lineup solidifies.