3/25/2014 5:23 P.M. ET
Command eludes Fernandez in spring finale
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals sent Jose Fernandez a reminder that pitching isn't always easy. Not that the Marlins' ace is taking anything for granted.
But for even one of the most gifted starters in the game, the game can be humbling. It was that way for the 21-year-old in his Grapefruit League finale.
St. Louis scored five runs (four earned) off Fernandez on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings on Tuesday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium.
In fairness, it was the second time in five days the Cardinals had seen Fernandez. They jumped on his pitches early, scoring three times in the first inning and tacking on two more runs in the fourth.
Did Fernandez feel the St. Louis' plan was to attack early?
"Oh, for sure," he said. "I don't mind if they were trying to hit the ball early. That's better for me. But when I'm not commanding my pitches, I get hit."
Familiarity is one thing. Command is another. Fernandez was frustrated by his inability to locate all of his pitches. He fell behind and walked two. He added three strikeouts.
"It's not like I can put the ball where I want to every time," Fernandez said. "We'll see what happens in six days and go from there."
The next time Fernandez takes the mound will be Opening Day, set for Monday against the Rockies at Marlins Park.
"I'm trying to keep it calm and trying to do my job and not overdo anything," Fernandez said. "It's not good when I overdo stuff."
Fernandez finished Spring Training with a 3.54 ERA in 20 1/3 innings.
"I was just trying to throw strikes, and I couldn't," Fernandez said. "That's been a problem the whole Spring Training."
Marino to be part of Marlins' Opening Day festivities
JUPITER, Fla. -- Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino threw for 61,361 yards in his legendary career. On Monday, the South Florida sports icon will toss out the ceremonial first pitch for the Marlins on Opening Day at the site where his Miami Dolphins days began.
Before Jose Fernandez takes the mound at Marlins Park to face the Rockies at 7:05 p.m. ET, Marino will take part in the pregame ceremonies. Marlins Park stands where the Orange Bowl -- where the Dolphins played through the 1986 NFL season -- used to be.
"We are honored to welcome back Dan Marino to the site where he began his Hall of Fame professional career," Marlins president David Samson said. "There is no better way to start a season at Marlins Park than with a pass from this South Florida sports icon."
Marino, 52, played 17 seasons for the Dolphins, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Marino was also was an accomplished baseball player in his youth, so much so that he was the fourth-round pick of the Kansas City Royals in the 1979 Draft. Marino opted to play his college football at the University of Pittsburgh.
Along with Marino, the Opening Day presentation will feature KC and the Sunshine Band performing the national anthem.
Before the game, the Marlins also will pay tribute to Henderson Alvarez, who no-hit the Tigers in the 2013 season finale.
There will be a fireworks display after the game.
Non-roster invitee Johnson earns spot in Miami
JUPITER, Fla. -- No guarantees didn't discourage Reed Johnson in any way. Instead, the 37-year-old locked in, made the most of his opportunities and flat-out earned a roster spot with the Marlins.
A non-roster invitee, Johnson had a clause in his contract that Miami needed to let him know its intentions by noon on Tuesday.
Late in the morning, president of baseball operations Michael Hill was shaking Johnson's hand, congratulating him for making the 25-man roster as a backup outfielder.
Johnson went 16-for-39 (.410) with four doubles, one home run and six RBIs in 14 Grapefruit League games. Manager Mike Redmond has familiarity with Johnson from the days they played against each other. Also, the outfielder was with the Braves last year.
"It was big for me to come in, especially in a new organization. I know Red saw me play, and they kind of had seen me play in the East," Johnson said. "It still was kind of big to come in and hit from start to finish and let them know I still have a lot of gas in the tank and I have a lot of baseball left in me."
Johnson fit the profile of what the organization has been seeking -- character and experience winning. The outfielder was on the Braves' postseason roster last October.
"We've talked about it all spring what he brings to our ballclub," Redmond said. "He's a veteran bat off the bench and understands his role. You don't play that many years as a role player if you're not a great teammate and you bring a lot to the table. He definitely does that. He brings a lot of experience off the bench, but he can play as well. This guy can still hit. He's got a quick bat. He can definitely help us. He earned it. That's the bottom line."
Before Opening Day, Johnson will be added to the 40-man roster, which means a corresponding move will have to be made.
Long shot Wigginton doesn't crack Marlins' roster
JUPITER, Fla. -- A number of factors would have needed to fall in line for Ty Wigginton to make the Marlins. Not surprisingly, they didn't, so on Tuesday morning, the 36-year-old was released.
A non-roster invitee, Wigginton entered camp as a long shot, especially after Jeff Baker signed a two-year deal.
Wigginton was in the mix to back up at first and third base, two spots Baker also plays.
So Tuesday's news was a matter of time. Wigginton went 5-for-34 (.147) this spring. Releasing him now gives him a couple of days to possibly hook on with another club.
"He's a pro," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "When you have a conversation like this with him, you just tell him, 'We were hopeful that something might open up for you. To this point, we've stayed fairly healthy and there is not going to be an opportunity. But you're a pro, and the professionalism you brought to the clubhouse is the type of change that we've wanted to bring.'"
The Marlins are looking to build around a young nucleus, and they've added a number of veterans who have experienced winning.
Wigginton broke in with the Mets in 2002, and he's also played for Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Houston, Baltimore, Colorado, Philadelphia and St. Louis.
"We've wanted to bring the qualities that he embodied," Hill said. "We thanked him for the time he's been with us and what he's done for our young players, showing them what it means to be a pro and how to approach your job day in and day out."