04/01/2013 12:52 PM ET
Youthful Marlins focused on winning, development
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- Growing pains are inevitable with rebuilding, but that hasn't changed the objective of the youthful Miami Marlins.
With such an inexperienced roster, expectations are not very high. And the task of getting off to a fast start is hindered by facing the defending National League East champions in their first series.
Taking on the Nationals on the road presents an immediate challenge.
W: Strasburg L: Nolasco S: Soriano
So what would constitute a successful season?
"Obviously, our goal is to win," manager Mike Redmond said. "We're trying to win as many ballgames as we can. We've got to focus on development. We've got a lot of young guys. Guys who have to get better, and have to improve. At the same time, too, we're developing with a focus on winning."
The Marlins finished 69-93 a year ago, which prompted the makeover of the roster.
On Monday, nine of the Marlins' 25 players celebrated their first big league Opening Day -- Jose Fernandez, Rob Brantly, Donovan Solano, Adeiny Hechavarria, Wade LeBlanc, A.J. Ramos, Justin Ruggiano, Alex Sanabia and Chris Valaika.
Redmond is experiencing his first opener as a manager, and Tino Martinez as a hitting coach.
The Marlins enter the season with the youngest rotation in the National League and second youngest in the Majors. Their starting five's age averages 26 years, 62 days. Only the A's (25, 3) rotation is younger.
Miami's active roster is the seventh youngest at 29 years, 23 days.
Redmond, the youngest manager in the NL, has received numerous well-wishes from friends, including Mike Lowell and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.
"A lot of guys around the baseball world who I've been in contact with texted," Redmond said. "I've been through enough of these as a player, but I think everybody is a little nervous. I know as a player I always got a little nervous. It's more just excitement and getting this thing going."
Eovaldi, Hernandez absences create opportunities
WASHINGTON -- The Marlins are opening their season with two-fifths of their expected rotation back in South Florida treating injuries.
Nathan Eovaldi and Henderson Alvarez were placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. Each is dealing with mild right shoulder inflammation.
Chances are both could miss the entire month of April
"Right now, we're trying to get them pain free," manager Mike Redmond said on Monday, noting he has no timetable for their returns. "There is some tendinitis with both of them. We've got to make sure those guys are pain free and build back up. Start playing catch. Start long tossing.
"I don't know the time frame of how long it's going to be, but probably a few weeks before those guys are built back up and ready for game action again."
Eovaldi, initially lined up to be the No. 2 starter, was enjoying a terrific Spring Training, posting a 3-0 record with a 3.65 ERA in 24 2/3 innings.
Alvarez, slotted as the fourth starter, threw 12 2/3 innings in the spring for Miami, and he also competed in the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela.
With them out, Kevin Slowey has moved into the No. 2 spot. Alex Sanabia was called up from Triple-A, and he will pitch on Friday at the Mets.
The biggest news was the promotion of top prospect, Jose Fernandez, who will make his MLB debut on Sunday at New York.
"There are opportunities out there," Redmond said. "Guys benefit from injuries. I've said it as a player, and I'll say it as a manager. When guys get hurt, it creates opportunities. I'm not going to sit here and dwell on the fact we have two starters down.
"Is it going to be tough? Sure. But there are guys out there. Somebody is going to step up. I'm excited to see who that is going to be."
Van Horne entering 45th year calling MLB games
WASHINGTON -- The date remains fixed in his mind.
Dave Van Horne immediately recalls the first game he ever broadcasted in the big leagues -- April 8, 1969.
The expansion Montreal Expos, in their first game, faced the New York Mets.
"Mudcat Grant started for the Expos, and Tom Seaver started for the New York Mets," Van Horne said. "It was my first big league game."
Also of note, it was the first Major League Baseball game involving a team located outside of the United States. It was the first time the national anthems of Canada and the United States were played before an MLB game.
The Expos won, 11-10.
"The Mets, however, went on to have their miracle year, and won the World Series championship," Van Horne said.
Monday marks another beginning for Van Horne. The veteran broadcaster also is embarking on his 12th season as the radio voice of the Marlins.
Van Horne, the Ford C. Frick Award winner in 2011, and Glenn Geffner once again will be broadcasting the Marlins on flagship station, 790 The Ticket.
The Marlins television broadcast team of Rich Waltz and Tommy Hutton are back on FOX Sports Florida.
The Spanish TV team of Raul Striker Jr. and Cookie Rojas also returns.
And on Spanish-language radio, Rafael "Felo" Ramirez, the 2001 Frick Award winner, and Luis "Yiky" Quintana return.