JUPITER, Fla. -- First impressions don't get much better than what Scott Van Slyke displayed on Friday in the Marlins' 6-4 victory over the Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.Van Slyke, a non-roster invitee, delivered two home runs, including a grand slam, and five RBIs in the comeback victory in
JUPITER, Fla. -- First impressions don't get much better than what Scott Van Slyke displayed on Friday in the Marlins' 6-4 victory over the Cardinals at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.
Van Slyke, a non-roster invitee, delivered two home runs, including a grand slam, and five RBIs in the comeback victory in the Grapefruit League opener.
"That was fun," said Van Slyke, who provides six years' worth of big league experience to a youthful Miami squad. "It was good to be on time for a couple of pitches and help the team win."
Signed to a Minor League contract without an opt-out clause, Van Slyke is in the mix for a bench role. Should he not make the club out of Spring Training, he would likely start the season at Triple-A New Orleans. A right-handed hitter capable of driving the ball out of the park, Van Slyke can play all three outfield spots and first base.
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The 31-year-old played under manager Don Mattingly with the Dodgers from 2012-15. Van Slyke dealt with right wrist injuries from '15-16 before being dealt to the Reds last July and finishing the season at Triple-A.
"You can't look at it just because you've been around the block," Mattingly said. "I think you've got to be able to do some things. I think that's one of the things, you want to make sure his body is still good, you know he's moving good in the outfield. Part of his value is he can play all three, and first base. So you just want to know he's healthy. Just get him here and see what it looks like."
Van Slyke's grand slam off Jordan Schafer in the seventh inning gave Miami the lead. He also homered in the sixth, which at the time trimmed the deficit to 3-1.
"I changed my swing a little bit to shorten it up," Van Slyke said. "Failure is a very good catalyst for change."
Building continuity, chemistry
Getting to know faces and names will take some time. The Marlins have 68 players in camp, and first baseman Justin Bour says he may go days without seeing the some of them.
"We're still getting to learn each other's names," Bour said. "A lot of new guys, new faces. Getting to know each other. That's kind of step one. I think as camp goes on, and we get a smaller and smaller group, then you start developing relationships. I feel certain days I don't even see guys."
Game action will help build continuity and familiarity, and that is something that will take time.
"It's just something that takes time, spending time in the clubhouse, getting to know each other," catcher J.T. Realmuto said. "Really, just feeding off each other, and getting in those moments where we can have some success and feed off each other's energy."
The roster was trimmed by two on Friday, as the Marlins reassigned catcher Sharif Othman and left-hander Mike Kickham to Minor League camp. Othman has a dislocated left shoulder, while Kickham has left elbow inflammation.
"I didn't even realize we didn't have any hits until I got back to the dugout, and they said, 'Nice job breaking it up.'" -- Realmuto, whose single with one out in the fourth inning gave Miami its first baserunner
The Marlins play host to the defending National League East champion Nationals at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday (Gameday Audio). Right-hander Jacob Turner, who spent time with Washington last year, will start for Miami. Right-hander Tanner Roark goes for the Nationals. Realmuto is expected to be the designated hitter, with Tomas Telis catching.