Mahoney vying for Opening Day roster spot
JUPITER, Fla. -- Blocked by Orioles infielders Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds last season in Baltimore, first baseman Joe Mahoney just wanted a chance in the big leagues heading into 2013.
"Everybody had a really good year in Baltimore, so it was a tough spot," said Mahoney, who was selected off waivers by the Marlins on Nov. 30. "There wasn't much opportunity for me there, and they did me a solid [thing] by letting me go and test the waters a little bit."
The 26-year-old hopes to earn a spot on Miami's Opening Day roster with Logan Morrison recovering from right knee surgery and not scheduled to return until mid-April.
Mahoney, a sixth-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Richmond, was the Baltimore organization's Minor League Player of the Year in 2010 with the Class A Frederick Keys and Double-A Bowie Baysox. He batted .307 with 18 home runs and 78 RBIs, to go with 13 stolen bases.
The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder was called up by the Orioles before the All-Star break and made his Major League debut on July 7, 2012, in a start against the Angels -- going 0-for-3. Mahoney also had a pinch-hit at-bat against the Tigers in August for the injured Wilson Betemit. When Baltimore reached the postseason for the first time since 1997, Mahoney traveled to Florida and stayed in shape just in case Reynolds or Davis sustained injuries.
Four months later, on a young Marlins team with players fighting for roster spots, Mahoney went 2-for-3 in the cleanup spot against the Braves on Monday, hitting behind Giancarlo Stanton. Mahoney is 3-for-6 with an RBI and a run scored in two Grapefruit League games.
"This is my third Spring Training, and in Baltimore I was used to guys having that spot," Mahoney said. "Here it's fun because everybody is fighting for a spot, and [that] gives everybody that little extra lift to get out there and push each other. It's exciting to come over here and getting a new opportunity and a fresh start. I'm fortunate to have six years in my career to just establish myself, work hard and be part of a team."