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In for Prado, Anderson launches massive HR

Marlins' No. 9 prospect could be club's future third baseman
Special to MLB.com

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brian Anderson could be the Marlins' third baseman of the future, but with Martin Prado still recovering from knee surgery, Anderson is making a present-day impression.

In Friday afternoon's 8-3 loss to the Tigers, Anderson took advantage of that opportunity at Joker Marchant Stadium. His two-run homer in the first inning off Tigers starter Matthew Boyd traveled about 430 feet. It soared into a cabana above the berm in left-center field, where fans were leisurely snacking while sitting in beach chairs.

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LAKELAND, Fla. -- Brian Anderson could be the Marlins' third baseman of the future, but with Martin Prado still recovering from knee surgery, Anderson is making a present-day impression.

In Friday afternoon's 8-3 loss to the Tigers, Anderson took advantage of that opportunity at Joker Marchant Stadium. His two-run homer in the first inning off Tigers starter Matthew Boyd traveled about 430 feet. It soared into a cabana above the berm in left-center field, where fans were leisurely snacking while sitting in beach chairs.

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"I don't think anybody missed that one,'' Marlins left fielder Derek Dietrich said. "It was loud and it was far.''

Rated as the Marlins' No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Anderson said he mostly shoots for gap-to-gap hitting, although he smacked 22 homers in the Minors last season. He didn't homer while batting .262 in 25 Major League games last season.

"I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm a home run hitter,'' Anderson said. "I'll run into a couple, but it's not something I'm going for. I just happened to get in front of that one and I back-spun it well.

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"I'm not sure where it landed. I was busy running the bases, trying to enjoy it the best I could because I wasn't really expecting it.''

Marlins manager Don Mattingly said the organization has high expectations for Anderson's hitting. Mattingly said Anderson is a "true perfectionist, which I don't mind, but I'd like to see him let go of a few things and not get overly frustrated when the results don't go his way.''

Young outfielders impress

Center fielder Magneuris Sierra and right fielder Lewis Brinson, both prospects and offseason acquisitions in line to make the roster, continued to impress.

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

Miami's No. 7 prospect, Sierra led off the game by flicking a 1-2 pitch down the left-field line for a double. Later, he leaped high to spear a liner off the bat of the Tigers' JaCoby Jones.

Meanwhile, Brinson -- the club's top-rated prospect -- slammed a first-inning double over Jones' head in center. It was Brinson's third double in six spring games. Sierra, a former Cardinals prospect who was acquired in the deal for Marcell Ozuna, is known for his speed and defense. Mattingly said he wants to see more offensive improvement.

"He has been as advertised, one of the fastest guys in baseball,'' Mattingly said. "He's very young [21], but we think he has a good swing. His bunt game is a little rough right now, and he needs to make that part of his game to go with his speed package.''

Video: Mattingly expects Brinson to live up to the hype

Rough start for Gallen

Right-handed starter Zac Gallen, another player who was acquired from the Cardinals in the deal for Ozuna, allowed five hits and five earned runs while walking three in 1 2/3 innings. He threw 53 pitches (27 for strikes).

In two spring appearances, Gallen has a 33.75 ERA with four walks and two home runs surrendered in 2 2/3 innings.

Gallen nearly escaped the first, but a potential double-play ball from Miguel Cabrera skipped under the glove of second baseman Cristhian Adames before Nicholas Castellanos hit an RBI single. In the second, Gallen surrendered a two-out, two-run homer to Niko Goodrum, whose shot barely curled around the right-field foul pole.

Mattingly said Gallen is a work in progress.

"He's a guy who can almost be too much around the [strike] zone,'' Mattingly said. "Everything doesn't have to be a strike. You can use stuff to chase. You can elevate, change some eye levels, things like that. He's working on that.''

Updates on Prado, Riddle

Mattingly remains optimistic that Prado and shortstop JT Riddle (shoulder) could be ready for Opening Day. Both players are coming off surgery.

Mattingly targeted mid-March for Prado to be playing in games.

"He's doing more and more on the field,'' Mattingly said of Prado, who was limited to 37 games last season. "We're seeing him out there taking ground balls, doing more running, taking batting practice with the guys. He's getting close to seeing some action.''

Video: Hill, Riddle on Marlins shortstop situation in 2018

Riddle is essentially on the same timetable, but the expectations are different.

"With JT, because he's a younger guy, you wonder, 'Is he going to get enough at-bats in spring to feel like he's ready to break camp?'" Mattingly said. "We think he's going to be healthy [for the start of the season]."

Up next

The Marlins return to Jupiter, Fla., on Saturday to face the Mets at 1:05 p.m. ET on Gameday Audio and an audio webcast on marlins.com. Right-hander Jose Urena (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will start for Miami, followed by lefties Jarlin Garcia and Caleb Smith. The Mets will counter with righty Noah Syndergaard.

Joey Johnston is a contributor to MLB.com.

Miami Marlins, Brian Anderson, Lewis Brinson, Zac Gallen, Martin Prado, JT Riddle, Magneuris Sierra