3/7/2014 4:03 P.M. ET
Slow starter Yelich begins to find groove
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- A year ago, Christian Yelich had a dream spring. The left-handed-hitting Marlins outfielder batted a blistering .364 with a .451 on-base percentage and a .818 slugging percentage. He added five home runs and drove in 14 runs.
Even before games began this spring, the 22-year-old admitted he would have a tough time duplicating his numbers.
But Yelich also wasn't looking for a complete fall in Spring Training. He entered Friday hitless in his first 11 at-bats, with five strikeouts. The drought was snapped with a first-inning single to center off St. Louis' Adam Wainwright.
Yelich added a second hit, and he finished the Marlins' 7-3 win 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored
"I wasn't panicked," Yelich said. "I really didn't think there was any call for concern. I thought the at-bats were getting better over the week. I thought it was just a matter of time before one of them got through there. But obviously, it's nice to finally be on the board and helping the boys again."
If anything, Yelich says, last year was the anomaly. He is used to starting slowly, and then picking things up.
"This is kind of usually how Spring Training goes for me," Yelich said. "Not like last year. Last year was the complete opposite. In the Minor Leagues, it was actually more like this. But I don't think it's been this long without ever squeaking one out."
Spring Training is never a true indicator, but the competitor in players want to succeed as often as possible.
"Nobody ever wants to get out, even if it's Spring Training," Yelich said. "It's still competitive and you want to do well. You want to help your team win, even if it is Spring Training. It is frustrating, but it's a process. I feel like every day, it's getting closer to finally getting one."
Yelich projects to bat second this season, ahead of Giancarlo Stanton. So he will be counted on to get on base and get the offense going.
"Might as well get it out of the way right now before it comes to April," the young outfielder said.
As part of his hitting routine, Yelich is working with third-base coach Brett Butler on bunting.
A pure hitter, Yelich isn't looking to become a small-ball player. But if he can offer the option to be able to bunt for hits, it will be a weapon, especially if teams are shifting him.
"I think it's something, if it's there, you have the option of taking it," Yelich said. "It kind of keeps them honest, defensively. To have a well-rounded game is never a bad thing."
Red Sox GM apologizes to Marlins for travel roster
JUPITER, Fla. -- Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said he received an e-mail of apology from Boston general manager Ben Cherington regarding the roster the Red Sox sent to Roger Dean Stadium on Thursday.
The lack of big leaguers in the lineup raised a flap because of an MLB Spring Training guideline, which requires teams to start at least four regulars or players who either platooned or started the previous season. Just two of the position players in the starting lineup -- Jackie Bradley Jr. and Ryan Lavarnway -- had previously appeared in big league games.
On Friday morning, Hill said Cherington sent an e-mail to the Marlins apologizing and explaining his organization's reasoning.
"We got an e-mail from their GM, saying they had some injuries, and they were working on some things," Hill said. "He apologized. It was during the game. I don't know if that meant he got a call from the league."
The Marlins didn't file any protest or issue any complaint over the roster that played to a 0-0 tie in a game shortened by rain with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. Actually, there isn't a process for a team to file a grievance, Hill said.
If MLB has an issue, a team could be disciplined and possibly fined.
"It's a Major League Baseball rule that you have to have a specific number of regulars," Hill said. "The league monitors all of our lineups. So if there was an issue, they will deal directly with the Red Sox."
The defending World Series champion Red Sox are an annual big draw when they travel from their Spring Training base in Fort Myers, Fla., to Jupiter.
Boston was considered a premiere game, and ticket prices were higher for Thursday than many other games at Roger Dean Stadium.
The Marlins heard from the league office a couple of years ago regarding a squad they sent up to face the Mets in Port St. Lucie.
Hill noted that on Thursday a majority of fans were for the Red Sox.
"It happens, but that's with them and the league," Hill said. "It's more of the Red Sox fans, who thought we were playing the Red Sox. They thought they'd get a lot bigger names than they got."
Hill downplayed the notion that there was any "outrage" in the Marlins' organization.
"That's a little strong," Hill said.
Ozuna hopes No. 13 proves to be lucky
JUPITER, Fla. -- Don't tell Marcell Ozuna that 13 is an unlucky number, because he won't listen.
Projected as the Marlins' starting center fielder, Ozuna has switched to No. 13 after wearing 48 as a rookie last year.
Why the change? Because Ozuna sustained a season-ending thumb injury, which required surgery, last July.
Whenever he gets hurt, he feels the number is cursed, and he changes things up.
"If I get hurt, I change my number," Ozuna said. "Then I'll get more luck."
The myth that 13 is unlucky doesn't faze Ozuna.
"I don't worry about that," he said. "If you worry about that, you get in trouble in your mind."
Ozuna likes to keep things loose and not put any unnecessary pressure on himself.
"I'm going to stay with 13 now, and let's see what happens," Ozuna said.
Ozuna is expected to be a big part of the everyday lineup. He says he's starting to get into a groove at the plate.
"I'm feeling comfortable," the center fielder said. "I'm getting better every day."
• Second baseman Rafael Furcal will be away from the team for a couple of days because his wife gave birth to a boy on Friday. Furcal played on Wednesday and Thursday. He wasn't scheduled to go to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., on Saturday when the Marlins take on the Braves. Furcal likely will be back on Sunday.
• Reliever Henry Rodriguez, a non-roster invitee, will make his first Grapefruit League appearance on Saturday at the Braves.