Numbers game: Rojas honors late grandfather, mother with new uni

Aguilar also makes a change, giving García 24 and taking 99

March 16th, 2022

JUPITER, Fla. -- An annual tradition inside the clubhouse every Spring Training is observing who changed his number from the previous season.

On Wednesday, Miguel Rojas walked in full uniform to the covered batting cages at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex wearing his No. 11 jersey for the first time for photo day. Rojas switched from No. 19 to pay tribute to his grandfather Rafael and his mother, Norma Naidenoff, who died within a week of each other in January.

"It's a lot of feelings, a lot of emotions for me," Rojas said. "That's why I posted a little something today [on my Instagram story], because they're always going to be in my mind and in my heart. I really want to express my gratitude to my family for what they did for me, and this is something that I was thinking about for a long time. Going back to my No. 11 for one year in my career, and what happened earlier this year with my family and losing two of my biggest inspirations in life, it was kind of the breaking point for me to actually take the step and go towards that direction.

"They were the ones taking me to the field and doing everything for me to be able to be in this position. I will always be grateful for what they did for me, and I just want to do a little something back for them. I know that they're watching from a better place. I just want to make my family proud."

Rojas also plans to wear pink cleats to help organizations that raise awareness for breast cancer, which took the life of his mother. He already honors his grandmother and grandfather with their names on his gloves.

Meanwhile, Jesús Aguilar switched numbers after allowing offseason acquisition Avisaíl García to have his No. 24, which Aguilar had also worn during his stint with the Brewers (2017-19). Aguilar didn't ask for anything in return, having known García for a long time, going back to their playing days in Venezuela.

"I asked my son [Mathias to pick a number] between 34 and 99, and he went straight to 99," Aguilar said. "People call me 'Almost 100.'"

Put me in, coach

While the Marlins try to strike a deal for another bat, the outfielders at camp continued to go about their business. Jesús Sánchez, Bryan De La Cruz, Monte Harrison and Roman Quinn (non-roster invitee) took part in center-field drills on Wednesday morning on a back field.

Sánchez, who signed with the Rays as a center fielder, last played the position in 2019 at the Triple-A level. De La Cruz appeared in center 24 times in 2021, while Harrison and Quinn are natural center fielders with limited MLB experience and success. García, another option, performed drills with the corner outfielders.

You gotta see this

Worth noting

• Starters Trevor Rogers and Elieser Hernandez threw live batting practice on back fields.