02/17/2013 4:12 PM ET
Gorkys tries to carry winter hitting lessons into spring
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Gorkys Hernandez may be out of options, but the 25-year-old outfielder is not lacking optimism.
With no guarantees, the speedster is trying to win a roster spot with the Marlins. Hernandez is competing either to be the starting center fielder or an extra outfielder.
Defensively, the Venezuela native is regarded as far above average. What will determine his fate is his hitting.
After being traded from Pittsburgh to Miami for Gaby Sanchez, Hernandez batted .212 with three home runs and five stolen bases in 45 games. Counting his 25 games with Pittsburgh, he combined for a .192 average in 156 at-bats.
"This is a big year for me," Hernandez said. "I'm trying to help the team however I can."
Foremost, Hernandez dedicated himself in the offseason by playing in the Venezuelan Winter League. He paced the league in hitting with a .367 average in 226 at-bats.
"I did an adjustment at home plate," the outfielder said. "When I played with the Marlins last year, I learned a lot. I tried to concentrate and look for one pitch and tried to do a much better job on offense. I already have good defense. Everybody says, 'If you hit more, you can play a long time in the big leagues.' That's what I did when I went to Venezuela. I did good there. This spring, I'm trying to do the same thing I did in Venezuela."
Hernandez pretty much has been going non-stop since the end of 2012. On Oct. 7, he traveled back to Venezuela, and he starting getting ready for the Winter League season on Oct. 11.
"Here, playing depends on how you are doing," he said. "If you are doing good, you'll play. If you're not doing good, you have to wait for your opportunity to play.
"When I went to Venezuela to play winter ball, I tried looking for one pitch and giving 100 percent in the field. That's what I did. I had good news."
Miami's other center-field options include Justin Ruggiano, Bryan Petersen and Juan Pierre, who may wind up starting in left field.
"I've got to see [Hernandez] play, I've never seen him play," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's a guy who is in the mix, too. He's going to go out there and get a chance to play. I've heard he's a tremendous defender. He can really run. Hopefully he will make a tough decision for us. That's what we want."
Marlins might have to rely on small ball
JUPITER, Fla. -- Effort and energy are highly prevalent in Marlins' camp, but eye-popping power is not.
Aside from Giancarlo Stanton, the team isn't loaded with big league ready power.
Manager Mike Redmond is watching and seeing who steps up and who may wind up hitting in the middle of the order.
For now, Stanton is an option to bat third, primarily to get him a guaranteed at-bat in the first inning. Who bats fourth and fifth is wide open.
"I know if I was on this team, I would love to hit behind Stanton because there's going to be lot of runs to drive in," Redmond said. "I would love that opportunity. Somebody's going to be there. It doesn't have to be a power guy. A base-hit guy can drive in a lot of runs."
In many ways, the 2013 Marlins are compared to the franchise's 2006 team. That's because both squads relied heavily on rookies. But the '06 version had substantial power, hitting 182 home runs.
Right now, Justin Ruggiano is a candidate to hit in the middle of the lineup. Joe Mahoney, a left-handed-hitting first baseman, will get an opportunity to win a roster spot.
Casey Kotchman, a first baseman who just signed as a non-roster invitee, is more a line-drive hitting option.
"We might have to manufacture a little more than other teams," Redmond said. "We might have to bunt more. We might have to run more. We're going to have to play the small game to manufacture runs. I'd love to be able to sit back there and wait for the home runs. The key is to be to get guys on base and we force the other team to pitch to Stanton. That's what we want."
Marlins add B game with Mets on March 5
JUPITER, Fla. -- With so many roster spots open and a large volume of young players in camp, the Marlins were looking for more games. They found one, even if it is nothing more than a glorified scrimmage.
Miami has worked out a B game against the Mets on March 5 on a back field at the Roger Dean Stadium complex. Manager Mike Redmond noted another B game could be worked out with the Cardinals in a couple of weeks.
The B game with New York will be at 11 a.m. ET. It falls on the same day the Marlins will play Team Venezuela at 7 p.m. ET at Roger Dean Stadium.
The Marlins open their Grapefruit League schedule on Saturday as the home team against the Cardinals in Jupiter. Who will start has not been announced. John Maine and Wade LeBlanc are possibilities.
The Marlins are providing plenty of competition for roster spots.
"I think there is good competition," Redmond said. "We've got some young guys fighting for some spots and fighting for some playing time. And we've got a few veteran guys here as well. I think all around it's going to be a good battle. We'll see how it shakes out."
On Monday, Marlins pitchers will face hitters in batting practice. The team will be on the field at 10 a.m. ET, and the drills are open free to the public.