04/23/2013 2:05 PM ET
Willingham recalls growing pains with '06 Fish
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins left fielder Josh Willingham can relate to the Marlins' tough start with a young team.
Willingham, a steady run producer for Minnesota, was a rookie on the Marlins' 2006 team.
The '06 Marlins, managed by Joe Girardi, had more than 20 rookies play for them over the course of the season.
The 2013 Marlins are an inexperienced team going through a transition, and it's been reflected in their slow start.
In '06, the club was 11-31 at one point, but finished 78-84. That team actually got over .500 in early September and was in the Wild Card race before stumbling in the final few weeks.
"I think if you're a young team, that's the one thing you need to have is the pitching," Willingham said on Tuesday morning. "They can keep you in ballgames. It's going to be your constant. Young players, in general, are going to be up and down.
"If you have that pitching you can always rely on, it's a good starting point. We had that in '06."
The '06 rotation featured Dontrelle Willis, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Scott Olsen and Anibal Sanchez.
"When you think about those arms," Willingham said, "most of them are still playing. I think that kind of helped us get through the bad times."
Fernandez, Nolasco switch spots for doubleheader
MINNEAPOLIS -- Once it became clear at least one game could be played on Tuesday at Target Field, the Marlins decided to make a switch to their rotation.
In the morning, team officials swapped the club's starting pitchers for the day-night doubleheader against the Twins.
Jose Fernandez, the 20-year-old rookie, was informed he was trading spots with Ricky Nolasco.
Fernandez got the start for the 2:10 p.m. ET game, while Nolasco will pitch the nightcap, scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.
"We weren't really sure what the weather was going to be like today," manager Mike Redmond said. "There was the possibility of just playing one game today, and not knowing if it was going to snow again, or what. When we saw the sunshine, it made sense to put Fernandez up to pitch Game 1. Ricky's a little more accustomed to throwing in the cooler weather."
Snow and sleet led to Monday's game being postponed. Up until Tuesday morning, team officials were weighing all options.
"We really didn't think we'd get two games in," Marlins general manager Michael Hill said.
If the second game couldn't be played, playing on Wednesday, a scheduled off-day for Miami, was discussed.
Playing with DH new challenge for Redmond, Marlins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Different rules for each league present a whole new set of challenges for manager Mike Redmond.
For the first time this season, the Marlins are playing in an American League park, which means the addition of the designated hitter. Greg Dobbs got the honor in Game 1, hitting cleanup.
"As far as managing, of course, with the American League with the DH, it eliminates so much strategy," Redmond said. "You really just sit there and try to figure out when you are going to take your pitchers in and out. In the National League, there is so much going on all the time."
Throughout the course of an NL game, Redmond is thinking ahead, constantly grappling in his mind about when to pinch-hit or when to replace his pitcher.
"In every inning, you're thinking about the next inning," he said. "Sometimes I'm watching our guy pitch and I'm already thinking about who is leading off for us the next inning. You are always aware of where that pitchers' spot is in the lineup. You're trying to figure it out. It seems like the scenarios that run through your mind come about."
Facing the Twins at Target Field in a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday provides the Marlins their first taste of Interleague Play.
The 41-year-old Redmond, a former catcher, is managing for the first time in the big leagues. In his 13 seasons as a player, he spent extensive time in both leagues.
There also has been widespread speculation that in the future, perhaps three or four years away, MLB will do away with pitchers hitting and go full-time to the designated hitter in both leagues.
For Redmond, who spent five seasons playing for the Twins, he sees benefits for both styles of play.
"I liked the American League," he said. "As a catcher, you had to really work to get your pitcher through nine hitters, because some of those teams were loaded."
• Henderson Alvarez, who opened the season on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, is throwing live bullpen sessions in Jupiter. If he continues his progression without any setbacks, he could be ready to join the rotation within the first 10 days of May.
• Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, on the DL since Thursday with a right elbow bruise, is rehabbing in Miami. The hope is he will be ready around the time he is eligible to be reinstated on May 3.
• John Maine, designated for assignment last Friday, has been outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans.
• Outfield prospect Jake Marisnick is a couple of days away from being game ready after aggravating his left wrist while making a catch in an extended spring game. Marisnick will eventually join Double-A Jacksonville.
• To deal with the cold weather, several Miami players were planning on wearing ski masks, as well as plenty of layers, during Tuesday's doubleheader. Third-base coach Joe Espada noted that coaches are not allowed to wear jackets, but he will wear a hoodie under his jersey.
• Only the first game of the doubleheader is being televised by FS Florida.