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Hill sees encouraging signs as spring evolves

JUPITER, Fla. -- Opening Day is 22 days away, and thus far, Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill is encouraged by what he's seeing in Spring Training.

As expected, the pitching overall has been promising. The offense, which finished last in the Majors in runs scored a year ago, is showing signs. It may not be the most feared lineup in the game, but there are signs of improvement.

Giancarlo Stanton belted his first homer of the spring on Sunday, and he is off to a hot start. And on Saturday at Lake Buena Vista, Casey McGehee homered at the Braves. He then added single in his first at-bat on Sunday. Last week, Jarrod Saltalamacchia connected on a go-ahead home run.

"So far, our pitching has been very strong, as we expected it to be," Hill said. "Offensively, we're seeing some things. Some guys are still working on some things, but they seem to be getting closer. I like the overall depths of our lineups, and the way we're playing the game."

Finding ways to manufacture runs is a priority. In hopes of doing so, heavy emphasis has been placed on baserunning. Not just stealing bases, but going from first to third, or scoring from second on a single.

"We've been running the bases aggressively, which is outstanding," Hill said.

There have been some rough days in the field, like last week, they committed five errors against the Twins, yet won the game, 4-1.

"The defense is a little bit of a weird one, because they haven't been tough plays, they've been weird plays," Hill said. "I know our defense is going to be a strength for us."

Opening Day is on March 31 against the Rockies at Marlins Park.

"We're just getting ready," Hill said. "There is a positive air. Guys feel good about where we are. We're looking forward to keeping it going."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Read More: Miami Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton, Casey McGehee, Jarrod Saltalamacchia