2/12/2013 2:40 P.M. ET
Marlins must decide on out-of-option players
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- The business of baseball will eventually factor into several roster decisions that must be made by the Marlins.
The club has four big league-tested players -- Gorkys Hernandez, Justin Ruggiano, Mike Dunn and Wade LeBlanc -- who are out of options, meaning they can't be sent to the Minor Leagues without the risk that the organization will lose them.
All four have a very strong chance of being with the club on Opening Day. Ruggiano is the front-runner to start in center field, and Hernandez is competing for an outfield spot. LeBlanc, a left-hander, is in the mix to be the fifth starter, and he offers versatility because he can also pitch out of the bullpen. Dunn projects to be the primary lefty reliever.
If the four don't appear to be in Miami's plans, they will become candidates to be traded.
Brantly out to prove he can be an everyday catcher
JUPITER, Fla. -- Although he is a familiar face from a year ago, Rob Brantly remains a rookie as he enters his first Spring Training with the Marlins.
The 23-year-old, who became the team's regular catcher late last season, has 31 games of big league experience under his facemask, yet he is being asked to step up on a daily basis and prove that he can be a quality everyday player.
"We've got a lot of new guys," Brantly said. "A lot of guys are trying to prove themselves here. I think that only makes us hungrier to work harder, play better, and try to go out there and play well."
The Marlins acquired the left-handed-hitting Brantly from the Tigers last July as part of the trade that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit.
Brantly remains a work in progress defensively, and manager Mike Redmond, himself a former catcher, looks forward to working with him.
"I've watched a lot of video on him," Redmond said. "You try to think of ways to tighten him up a little bit, mechanically, with his throwing and stuff like that. Right now, I'm a spectator. I'm watching him, what he does, day to day. His footwork. His mechanics. His blocking. The way he receives, just to see where he is. It's not something where in one day you go, 'I've got it.' It takes time."
Having spent a couple of months in the big leagues has given Brantly a taste of what to expect.
"It helps," Brantly said, "going in and getting my first bite in the big leagues; coming in here and getting the butterflies out. I'm glad we have a fresh start here."
Brantly is a promising offensive player, having hit .290 with a .372 on-base percentage in 100 at-bats last year.
"We have a lot we're fighting for," Brantly said. "As much as we're all fighting for a spot, we are all on the same team. We're all fighting to prove we're all competitors here, and we're fighting to get ready to compete during the regular season and win some baseball games in the regular season as well."
Underdog role suits Webb just fine
JUPITER, Fla. -- Playing the underdog role is perfectly fine with Ryan Webb, whose youthful team started Spring Training on Tuesday with low expectations.
"A lot of people are writing us off early and stuff like that," said Webb, a candidate to earn a spot as a right-handed setup man. "That's great. We've got a talented group of guys. When you go out there and people don't expect much from you, you tend to perform better and surprise a bunch of people. I think that's what we're kind of looking at this year. That's kind of exciting."
Webb appeared in 65 games a year ago, going 4-3 with a 4.03 ERA in 60 1/3 innings, and will factor into the back of the bullpen.
"It's definitely exciting when we've got a bunch of talented young guys together," Webb said. "You take the pressure off, and that's when guys do big things. I think you can definitely expect to see some people step up and do some really exciting things this year."
• Craig Tatum, a 29-year-old non-roster invitee catcher, told the team he was retiring. The timing of the news stunned the Marlins.
Tatum has played in 100 big league games, but none since 2011. Miami now has six catchers in camp, and 73 players overall.
• All is well on the injury front for the Marlins. None of the pitchers are being held back.
• Wednesday's workouts begin around 10 a.m. at the Roger Dean Stadium complex. Full-squad workouts get under way on Friday.