First BP a 'confidence booster' for Marlins pitchers

Schumaker discusses who will see time at first base, shortstop

February 19th, 2024

JUPITER, Fla. -- Imagine opening Spring Training by seeing two-time reigning batting champion Luis Arraez in the batter’s box.

The Marlins’ first full-squad workout doesn’t begin until Tuesday, but with nearly the entire position-player group in camp, the club held its first round of live batting practice on Monday morning.

Left-handers and Josh Simpson as well as right-handers George Soriano, Bryan Hoeing, Jeff Lindgren and Declan Cronin faced batters on the backfields at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex. Each was scheduled to throw between 20 to 30 pitches.

“I just felt like the ball was getting on them a little bit, and they could see the difference in the two- and the four-seam,” said Weathers, who incorporated a two-seamer into his repertoire over the offseason. “So for me, that was a good little confidence booster, especially when Arraez is saying that he can see a difference. It gives you confidence.”

Weathers and Soriano are being built up to start, with aspirations of making the Opening Day rotation. Hoeing is likely to get spot starts over the course of the season. Lindgren is a non-roster invitee who made three relief appearances in 2023 to open his MLB career.

Simpson and Cronin are candidates to fill out the bullpen. With Steven Okert’s departure and A.J. Puk’s starter preparation, there is an opening for another lefty reliever -- perhaps Simpson.

“They were really good today,” said Jazz Chisholm Jr., who faced Weathers and Soriano. “Weathers was really good. He threw a lot of strikes today. His stuff was moving pretty good. Soriano was unbelievable. Slider was really nasty, changeup really nasty, good four-seam, good cutter, good sinker. Everything was looking really good today. The guys looked good today.”

Who’s on first?
Manager Skip Schumaker anticipates first-base reps for Josh Bell, Jake Burger, non-roster invitee Trey Mancini and “every now and then” Arraez this spring. Schumaker also is considering how best to use the designated hitter spot after slugger Jorge Soler signed with San Francisco.

“Without that just DH kind of guy, I think you're going to see a rotation there,” Schumaker said. “And then also at first base, I don't think Bell's going to play 162 there. So you're going to have to see some guys get off their feet. And Burger's done a really good job there in the past. Obviously Mancini, and we used Arraez there as well last year, so I think you'll see a few guys there.”

What about shortstop?
Barring the signing of a free agent like Tim Anderson, who has an offer from Miami, per a source, Schumaker envisions multiple guys at the position this spring. Jon Berti would get the bulk of the reps, but he also would see time at third and second base. Non-roster invitee Tristan Gray, Vidal Bruján, Xavier Edwards and others will move around the infield.

“There's a lot of infielders that I'm trying to figure out how to get at-bats in Spring Training, give them a legit shot to make the team,” Schumaker said. “So it's challenging. But luckily, they can play multiple positions, and so we're going to try to do the best we can to get them the at-bats.”

On the air
The Marlins announced their Spring Training broadcast schedule on Monday. Bally Sports Florida will air seven games, including the Grapefruit League opener against the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

An additional 14 Marlins games will have a video feed on, with accompanying audio from the Marlins Radio Network, driven by AutoNation. The Marlins’ English flagship station, FOX Sports 940 AM Miami, will broadcast 16 of the club’s 29 exhibitions, while the other 13 can be found exclusively on the MLB App. Fans can tune in to the Spanish radio broadcast on Radio Mambí 710 AM WAQI or on the MLB App for 10 Grapefruit League games.

Worth noting
Ahead of Tuesday’s first full-squad workout, the entire roster is in big league camp except for the following: right-hander Huascar Brazoban, infielder José Devers and catcher Jhonny Pereda.