After a strong performance by all of its potential bench players, the Marlins traded Pat Watkins to the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later. It appeared as if the final bench spot was between Watkins and Bruce Aven. Both had a strong spring, so a trade was inevitable.
A strong pitching performance from the Atlanta Braves held the Marlins to a 3-2 loss. Mark Kotsay drive in the Marlins’ runs on a 2-run home run. A.J. Burnett allowed three runs in four innings, putting his chances to start with the Major League team in limbo.
Cliff Floyd, who lead the Marlins in home runs, RBI, and set a club record in doubles will start the season on the disabled list due to a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Floyd recently signed a 4 year contract estimated at $19 million. Preston Wilson will finally get a chance to start everyday in left field.
Even though their game with Detroit was rained out, the Marlins continued to evaluate their roster by sending 4 more players down to the minors: Armando Almanza (P), Chris Clapinski (IF), Benji Gil (SS), and Rafael Medina (P). Medina was a starter last season before falling to various injuries, he was aquired in the Kevin Brown trade (after San Diego aquired him in the Hideki Irabu deal). The Marlins still have to cut 4 more players. Luis Castillo will not be one of them. Boles has decided to keep him and Craig Counsell along with Alex Gonzalez and Dave Berg.
After a much needed day off, the Marlins resumed Spring Training with a 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros. This game was decided early when Todd Dunwoody hit a home run in the first, to give the Marlins the lead for good. Dunwoody ended the game with 2 hits, 3 RBIs, and a triple in addition to the homer. Starter Brian Meadows pitched 6 strong innings, allowing only 1 run on 3 hits.
The high scoring Marlins continued their ways by beating the Montreal Expos on a John Roskos grand slam in the bottom of the 9th. Derrek Lee hit his 3rd home run of the spring and drove in three runs. Starter Jesus Sanchez allowed 4 runs and 5 walks in 5 innings. Rafael Medina also struggled, blowing the Marlins 7-4 lead by allowing 4 runs in only 2/3 of an inning.
The Marlins trimmed down their roster by sending 8 players down to the minors. Leading the way is top prospect SS Pablo Ozuna. Ozuna proved this spring that he is all the experts are saying, but still needs a little more seasoning. During the season, the Marlins will try him out at 2B for Portland. Two starters from last year, Ryan Dempster and Joe Fontenot, Were send down to Calgary along with left-hander Michael Tejera and right-handed reliever Justin Speier, who was acquired with Kevin Orie from the Cubs last year in the Heredia trade. Rob Stanifer, Dario Perez, and Lionel Hastings (C), were assigned to minor-league camp. Perez was considered an underdog for the 5th spot in the rotation, and he struggled. Vetern knuckleballer Dennis Springer or Rookie phenom A.J. Burnett will be the 5th starter. The team must still make 12 more cuts.
A split squad of the Marlins countered another Mark McGuire home run with a seven run eigth inning, beating the St. Louis Cardinals 10-4. Luis Castillo had 3 hits and Matt Mantei earned a save with 2 scoreless innings. The other split squad beat the New York Mets 6-3. Livan Hernandez outpiched Al Leiter in that game. Derrek Lee hit a home run and Jorge Fabergas drove in two runs.
Scott Pose, who started in centerfield in the Marlins’ first ever game, scored 2 runs to lead his current club, Kansas City, to a 7-3 win over the Marlins. Jeff Conine, Mr. Marlin, who started in left field in that same inaugural game, hit a home runs and scored twice. For the current Marlins, Alex Fernandez came back from a bad outing with 5 strong innings, allowing only two hits and a run.
The Marlins lose to the Cardinals 11-7 despite a 4-4 effort from Preston Wilson, whol also hit a home run and drove in 3. Dennis Springer, who is battling with A.J. Burnett for the Marlins’ fifth spot in the rotation allowed 6 runs in 2-2/3 innings.
Dave Berg’s solo home run in the top of the eight snapped a tie to give the Marlins a 5-4 win against Baltimore in Fort Lauderdale. This is the third consecutive win for the Marlins and the second against Baltimore.
Kevin Orie doubled home a run in the top of the 9th to give the Marlins a 4-3 victory over Baltimore in Fort Lauderdale.
Louis Castillo, Mark Kotsay, and Bruce Aven each went 3-4 and Derrek Lee hit a three-run homerun as the Marlins beat the Dodgers 7-3.
The Marlins lose again, this time to Cleveland 13-2. Alex Fernandez allowed 6 runs on seven hits in only 1-2/3 innings. Jorge Fabergas hit a homerun.
Up 2-0 in the ninth, the Vic Darensbourg blows the lead and the Marlins lose 3-2 to the Mets.