Marlins' pitchers complete first day of drills
New skipper Redmond observes Miami's young talent as camp opens
JUPITER, Fla. -- At 9:45 a.m. ET Tuesday, the Marlins' pitchers and catchers filtered onto the field for stretching.
By that point, manager Mike Redmond had been ready to go for nearly five hours. Redmond arrived at the Roger Dean Stadium complex around 5 a.m. for the official start of Spring Training.
"I haven't slept much the last couple of days," the 41-year-old manager said. "The general excitement of everything -- I wake up and I'm fired up and off I go."
With youthful enthusiasm, the Marlins opened their 11th Spring Training in Jupiter.
Everything is starting new and fresh for Miami. The club will have 73 players in camp, including 38 pitchers. Full-squad drills begin on Friday. Initially, there were 74 players, but catcher Craig Tatum, a non-roster invitee, decided to retire on Monday.
Redmond, who retired as a player in 2010, takes on the task of directing a completely rebuilt roster.
The first day of drills, which lasted until about 12:30 p.m., went off without a hitch. None of the pitchers are throwing with any restrictions. A number of pitchers threw off the mound, including Ricky Nolasco, the lone returning starter from the beginning of the 2012 season.
The Marlins feel they have stockpiled some tremendous young talent. Now is the time for them to perform.
Right off the bat, Redmond will be looking for the basics. With so many new faces, he is in the process of getting to know his players.
"Just putting some faces to the names," said Redmond of an early Spring Training objective. "We've all been watching video. I've watched all the pitchers. I've watched all the hitters -- trying to get a little bit of a head start on what to expect.
"Really, what I want to see is, I want to see guys play. I want to see what guys have got, and see what we can do to help develop them and make them better. I think that's what we're going to try to do."
With all of the turnover, there will be plenty of opportunities. Up for grabs will be the fifth starter spot. Wade LeBlanc, Tom Koehler, Brad Hand, Alex Sanabia, John Maine, Kevin Slowey and Mitch Talbot are all in the mix. Nolasco, Jacob Turner, Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi are the projected first four.
A couple of bullpen spots also are on the line, and there is no shortage of candidates. A.J. Ramos, Chris Hatcher, Jose Ceda, Dan Jennings, Edgar Olmos, Scott Maine, Sam Dyson, Braulio Lara, Evan Reed and Arquimedes Caminero are possible choices from the 40-man roster. Non-roster invitees include Chad Qualls and Michael Wuertz.
Steve Cishek is the closer, while Jon Rauch, Ryan Webb and Mike Dunn are the primary setup choices.
New pitching coach Chuck Hernandez is primarily looking for players to do what it takes to be prepared for the regular season.
"The most important thing is the same in every Spring Training," Hernandez said. "Whether you're new or old, you've got to train right and get in shape. Take care of your body and get yourself off to a good start.
"In many cases, so much of a season is dictated by Spring Training. I really believe that. Guys that try to push too fast, too early, sometimes there are repercussions late in the year from that. They're going to be very eager. There are a lot of new guys who haven't been through this, time and time again."
Redmond and his staff will be constantly monitoring, evaluating and also teaching in Spring Training.
"There is no pressure," Redmond said. "I know when I played my best, I was mostly relaxed. We've got nothing to lose.
"It's fun to have young players. I loved, as an older guy, to have young players. They energize you. They're just starting their careers, and you want all of them to have lengthy careers. Sometimes, you've got to say, 'Whoa, slow down, pace yourself!' That's good. I'd rather have to back them off than motivate them."