WASHINGTON -- At dinner on Sunday night and before heading to the ballpark for Opening Day on Monday morning, Marlins manager Don Mattingly reflected on the life of Jose Fernandez.Fernandez, a two-time National League All-Star pitcher, died last September in a boating accident. In his honor, the Marlins are donning
WASHINGTON -- At dinner on Sunday night and before heading to the ballpark for Opening Day on Monday morning, Marlins manager Don Mattingly reflected on the life of Jose Fernandez.
Fernandez, a two-time National League All-Star pitcher, died last September in a boating accident. In his honor, the Marlins are donning circular "No. 16" patches on the left fronts of their jerseys this season.
"I actually thought about him a little bit this morning," Mattingly said. "You just miss the guy. We miss Jose. We talked a little about him at dinner. You miss little things about him."
As the schedule had it, the Marlins open 2017 against the Nationals at Nationals Park. The two teams closed out the 2016 regular season, also at Washington.
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For that final series of '16, the Nationals inscribed No. 16 on the back of the mound.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill on Monday wore a No. 16 pin on his suit jacket.
"An unbelievable tragedy," Hill said. "I think we all grieved as a team as 2016 ended, and then we all parted ways at the end of the season and dealt with it in our way.
"As we reported to Jupiter, [Fla., for Spring Training] and looked to the start of the season, now it's a matter of cherishing and honoring his memory, and playing the game the way that he played the game, and represent his memory the best way that we can."
The presence of Fernandez still is felt in the organization, even to players who weren't with the club in '16.
Right-hander Dan Straily, who will start on Wednesday, was acquired in January from the Reds.
"I've seen how tight-knit this group is," Straily said. "I've heard that ever since the end of last season that this is a big part of what's going on with this group. It's pretty amazing when you get a group of guys together that are playing for each other, and not just playing for themselves. What they're capable of is pretty amazing."
Tyler Moore, formerly with the Nationals, is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2015.
A non-roster invitee of the Marlins, Moore made the club as a bench player. The 30-year-old provides depth at first base, and can also play a corner-outfield spot.
Moore missed four months of '16 due to a left knee injury. When the Marlins placed third baseman Martin Prado on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, it cleared a roster spot that Moore filled.
"It feels really good," Moore said. "I worked as hard as I possibly could to get back. I just left it all on the table in Spring Training, and prove that I can still play. Just very thankful for this organization to give me the opportunity."
Moore is a right-handed-hitting option at first base, but Mattingly repeated on Monday that Justin Bour will get chances against left-handed pitching.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.