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Sierra pays tribute to Big Papi, plays like Lofton

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- Listed at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, Magneuris Sierra is one of the smallest players in Marlins camp. But the number the 21-year-old outfielder dons is a tribute to one of this generation of players' biggest stars.

Sierra wears No. 34 in honor of David Ortiz, the former Red Sox slugger who retired in 2016. While they have contrasting body types, Sierra did show he could produce in the clutch -- much like Big Papi -- on Saturday afternoon. The left-handed-hitting outfielder slapped an RBI single in the seventh inning that rallied the Marlins to a 3-2 win over the Nationals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Listed at 5-foot-11, 160 pounds, Magneuris Sierra is one of the smallest players in Marlins camp. But the number the 21-year-old outfielder dons is a tribute to one of this generation of players' biggest stars.

Sierra wears No. 34 in honor of David Ortiz, the former Red Sox slugger who retired in 2016. While they have contrasting body types, Sierra did show he could produce in the clutch -- much like Big Papi -- on Saturday afternoon. The left-handed-hitting outfielder slapped an RBI single in the seventh inning that rallied the Marlins to a 3-2 win over the Nationals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

View Full Game Coverage

Spring Training info

"I actually have met [Ortiz] and have been able to talk to him a couple of times here in Miami," Sierra said. "He's just a great person. He's told me the players have changed, especially the young players coming up. There's a lot more hard-throwing pitchers out there. He says, 'Your best approach is staying behind the ball and trying to go up the middle with it.'"

Sierra's go-ahead single came off lefty Bryan Harper, Bryce's older brother, and scored Peter Mooney.

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The Marlins acquired Sierra from the Cardinals in the Marcell Ozuna trade, and he is Miami's No. 7-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline. He went 2-for-2 in the Marlins' second Grapefruit League game.

"I liked him in St. Louis," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He's a guy who seems to know who he is out there. He's not trying to get big. He's not trying to hit the ball up in the air. He's a speed guy right now, to me, with a good swing."

The player Sierra reminds Mattingly of is a former speedy outfielder who enjoyed a long career.

"He reminds me of Kenny Lofton a little bit, when he came up," Mattingly said. "We let him get at-bats and see what it keeps looking like."

Video: STL@MIA: Sierra faces former team in Marlins debut

Rotation roundup 
Jacob Turner pitched for the Marlins from 2012 until being designated for assignment in '14. On Saturday, the 6-foot-5 right-hander was back on the mound for the Marlins, getting the start against the Nationals. In two innings, he gave up one run on four hits with one strikeout and one walk.

A non-roster invitee, Turner is in the mix for a rotation spot or long-relief role. He has 362 1/3 innings of big league experience, including 39 with the Nationals last year.

"I felt after the first hitter my fastball command was pretty good," said Turner, who walked Wilmer Difo to open the game. "The spin on some of my offspeed pitches wasn't quite there today. But I think, overall, I battled pretty well."

The Marlins have three rotation openings, with Turner getting the nod a day after lefty Dillon Peters started on Friday.

In Miami's 6-4 win on Friday over the Cardinals, Peters threw two shutout innings, scattering three hits while striking out three.

Peters, Miami's No. 15 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was a September callup. He's in competition for a rotation spot and not taking anything for granted.

"I'm not tinkering with anything," Peters said. "I'm going full head of steam. I prepared myself this offseason to be prepared. … I'm not tinkering with anything. I'm going after hitters, and I'm out here competing."

Video: Mattingly on Van Slyke's big day in spring opener

On the mend 
First baseman Garrett Cooper, initially scheduled to play on Friday, is tentatively set to make his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday against the Mets at Port St. Lucie. Cooper has dealt with a little tightness in his legs, and he was pushed back a few days. Reliever Jumbo Diaz has had a little tightness in his right hamstring area, but he has been doing basic drills in practice and could throw off the mound as early as Sunday.

Up next
After playing their first two Grapefruit League games at home, the Marlins are on the road at 1:10 p.m. ET on Sunday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie (MLB.TV). Right-hander Tyler Cloyd, a non-roster invitee, will pitch for Miami, while the Mets counter with right-hander Robert Gsellman. Also scheduled to throw for the Marlins are Justin Nicolino, Miguel Del Pozo, Zac Gallen, Ben Meyer, Pablo Lopez and Trevor Richards. Position players include Derek Dietrich and Lewis Brinson.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro.

Miami Marlins, Magneuris Sierra