The Marlins lost their second in-a-row, 8-1, to the Baltimore Orioles in Fort Lauderdale. Major Leaguers such as Jesus Sanchez, Brian Edmondson, and Rob Stanifer all pitched well allowing 2 hits in 6 innings. It was minor leaguer Armando Almanza who allowed 5 runs without retiring a single batter. He walked the bases loaded and walked in 2 runs and allowed 2 hits. Offensivly, Todd Dunwoody continued his strong hitting going 3-4.
Livan Hernandez struggled in his first outing of the spring allowing 6 runs on six hits in 1-2/3 innings. Todd Dunwoody went 2-3 and scored a run.
In their first Major League spring training game, the Marlins have defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 8-1. Alex Fernandez pitched his first game since the 1997 NLCS and held the Devil Rays scoreless in his two innings. The Marlins starting lineup was composed of most of the projected starting lineup. Dennis Springer, competing for the 5th spot in the pitching rotation, earned the win by pitcing two scoreless innings. Matt Mantei struck out the side in the ninth innings. The young exciting prospects in the Marlins’ organization dominated the game. Alex Gonzalez, Preston Wilson, and Ramon Castro each had triples. Pablo Ozuna, one of the top prospects in all of baseball, was 1-1 with 2 RBIs.
The Marlins have defeated the University of Miami 12-3 in their first spring training game. Kevin Millar hit a 4-run home run in the 8th inning. Guillermo Garcia, a catcher aquired from the Reds this winter, had two doubles, four RBIs, and three runs scored. Dario Perez, fighting for the 5th spot in the rotation, threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. A.J. Burnett earned the victory with four strikeouts in two innings.
Mike Lowell’s prognosis is excellent according to the Florida Marlins. Lowell, 24, will receive a short course of radiation. He is expected to return sometime during the 1999 season, but it is a case-by-case situation, and there is no time frame for his return.
Difficult news coming out of Viera as the Marlins open Spring Training. Newly acquired Mike Lowell has undergone surgery for testicular cancer. The Marlins have yet to release an official statement. It is still unclear at what stage the cancer was, how Lowell is doing, and what impact this will have on this season.
The Florida Marlins announced Wednesday they have agreed to terms with pitchers Armando Almanza and Joe Fontenot, infielder Nate Rolison and catcher Guillermo Garcia on one-year contracts for the 1999 season. Terms of the deals were undisclosed.
John Boles made it official by announcing that Alex Fernandez will start opening day. This indicates the return of Fernandez, who was injured in the 1997 playoffs.
After a year of courting, the Marlins finally acquired 3B Mike Lowell from the New York Yankees. In exchange, the Marlins paid a heavy price by sending Eddie Yarnell, Mark Johnson, and Todd Noel. All three are pitchers.
Yarnell, a left from Coral Springs, was originally acquired in the Piazza trade from the Mets. Johnson was acquired in the Alou trade and Noel was acquired in the Felix Heredia trade. Lowell is a power hitting third baseman, considered the top prospect in the Yankees organization. He was the key name circulated when the Yankees tried to acquire Randy Johnson (Lowell was then supposed to be traded to the Marlins for Louis Castillo), but that fell through. Lowell spent most of last season in AAA where he hit .304 with 26 homers and 99 RBIs. He had 15 at bats for the major league team and he had 4 hits. The 24 year old right handed hitter will wear number 28 and live in Coral Gables, where he grew up. He was a college All-American at Florida International University.
Lowell will be given the opportunity to win the starting job from Kevin Orie.
The Marlins have invited 19 players to spring training as non-roster invitees. The 19 are: Hector Almonte (P), Bruce Aven (OF), Fletcher Bates (OF), Chris Clapinski (IF), Archie Corbin (P), Benji Gil (SS), Lionel Hastings (C), Tim Hyers (IF), Kevin Millar (IF), Chris Norton (C), Pablo Ozuna (SS), Dario Perez (P), Ryan Robertson (C), Bobby Rodgers (P), John Roskos (C), Dennis Springer (P), Rob Stanifer (P), Darond Stovall (OF), and Ed Yarnall (P). The first full squad work-out is scheduled for February 26. The Marlins expect 58 players in camp.
Josh Booty, a former first round pick, star high school quarterback, and opening day third baseman has been given a release from his contract. Booty, signed a lucrative contract including a $1.6 million signing bonus. But the contract explicitly stated that Booty may not play football. After a failing minor league career, the Marlins have released Booty from his contract so he can play football at LSU. The only condition is that the Marlins own his right, should he choose to play baseball in the future.
In a first validation of John Henry’s committment to succeed, the Marlins signed Cliff Floyd to a 4 year $19 milllion contract. Floyd was the team’s best player last year and many believe he will develop into a superstar. Floyd becomes the second highest paid Marlin (second to Alex Fernandez). Floyd will earn $2.5 million this season, $4.5 million in 2000, $5.5 million in 2001 and $6.5 million in 2002.
John Henry held his first press conference as the owner of the Florida Marlins. Henry’s main points: he is committed to raise the payroll ($10 – 15 million more than last year); he needs the fans help to build a ballpark (the more public money, the more he will invest in payroll); and fans need to buy season ticket (call 930-HITS). Henry will not name a team President to replace Don Smiley. Jim Ross will handle the marketing and non-baseball issues, CFO Jonathan Mariner will handle the finances and the new ballpark, and Dave Dombrowski will oversee the baseball operations.
Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved the sale of the Marlins from Wayne Huizenga to John Henry. Henry plans an introductory news conference on January 19, 1999 alongside his friend and current Yankee owner George Steinbrenner. As a sign of goodwill, Henry is likely to simply give away his share of the New York Yankees, a share valued at $10 million.
Pat Watkins, a former first round pick, was acquired by the Marlins from the Cincinnati Reds for minor league pitcher Pedro Minaya. The 26 year old outfielder was added to the team’s 40-man roster and is expected to provide needed right hand hitting off the bench. Watkins split the season between the Reds and their AAA affiliate, while Minaya split the season between A and Rookie League.