MIAMI -- Spring Training provided plenty of opportunity, but a series of injuries late in camp has caused some late roster scrambling for the Marlins.With Opening Day set for Thursday against the Cubs at Marlins Park, the Marlins likely won't finalize their 25 players until Wednesday or Thursday morning.Under the
MIAMI -- Spring Training provided plenty of opportunity, but a series of injuries late in camp has caused some late roster scrambling for the Marlins.
With Opening Day set for Thursday against the Cubs at Marlins Park, the Marlins likely won't finalize their 25 players until Wednesday or Thursday morning.
Under the ownership of Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, the Marlins are in a transitional phase. They have not had a winning season since 2009, and the roster has dramatically changed from a year ago. With more young players and a deeper farm system, a number of prospects are expected to be infused into the big league roster over the course of the year.
Manager Don Mattingly, entering his third season, says it is his and his staff's responsibility to continue to teach and develop the new culture and the organization's expectations.
Projected Opening Day lineup
1. Lewis Brinson, CF
- Derek Dietrich, LF
- Starlin Castro, 2B
- Justin Bour, 1B
- Brian Anderson, 3B
- Tomas Telis, C
- Cameron Maybin, RF
- Miguel Rojas, SS
- Jose Urena, RHP
• After being ranked as one of MLB Pipeline's top prospects, Brinson is taking that next step in becoming a big league regular. The lineup promises to be fluid, and with the Cubs going with lefty Jonathan Lester on Opening Day, the right-handed-hitting Brinson is getting strong consideration to be in the leadoff spot. The Marlins haven't had the speed-power dynamic from their leadoff hitter since Hanley Ramirez earned the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 2006.
• Based on experience and pitching savvy, Brad Ziegler will start the season as the closer. He has 95 career saves, with 10 coming in the second half of 2017. With his unconventional, submarine-style delivery, Ziegler is not overpowering, but he induces ground balls about 60 percent of the time. A difference between this spring and the last is the 38-year-old right-hander is healthy. He dealt with a back issue that plagued him most of the year.
• The one position that could be on a platoon basis is shortstop. Rojas, a utility player his entire career, has made a case to play every day, and he will get the opportunity to play short at least until JT Riddle is healthy. Riddle, a left-handed hitter, could open the season on the 10-day disabled list with a sore right shoulder. Last August, he underwent surgery on his left shoulder during his rookie season. Riddle has dealt with some minor soreness that could likely sideline him for a short period of time.
• Catcher J.T. Realmuto sustained a bruise to his lower back on March 11, and he didn't play in a Grapefruit League game after that. Now, he will open the season on the DL. Realmuto was placed on the DL retroactively to Monday, with the earliest return date April 2 against the Red Sox in Miami's fifth game.
• Right-hander Dan Straily was initially scheduled to be the No. 2 starter, but his right forearm tightened during a Minor League game on March 19. An MRI revealed forearm inflammation, and he is on no-throw status until Friday, the day he was supposed to make his first start. It appears Straily could be ready -- at the earliest -- in mid-April.
• Third baseman Martin Prado, recovering from right knee surgery, is facing live pitching, but he will open on the DL. Prado didn't play in any Grapefruit League games, and he will miss at least a couple of weeks.
• Wei-Yin Chen (left elbow soreness) threw a live bullpen session on Sunday, the final day of Spring Training before the club broke came at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla. Chen, who is managing a left elbow ligament tear, threw just 33 innings in 2017 and will begin the season on the DL.
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.