Marlins notebook

Owner Jeffrey Loria says Miami Marlins have ‘some pretty impressive players’

 

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

On what was the third and final day of a public-relations blitz defending his team’s controversial offseason moves, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said the Marlins are “not a Triple A ballclub.”

“It’s a ballclub with some pretty impressive players,” Loria said before mentioning several by name, including third baseman Placido Polanco, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and catcher Rob Brantly.

Loria, who authored a full-page “Letter to Our Fans” ad that appeared Sunday in South Florida’s three major daily newspapers and met with select media members Monday, answered questions by a full media contingent Tuesday at the Marlins’ spring-training headquarters.

For the most part, Loria repeated much of what he has said already and continued to defend the team’s trades.

“We’ve put together a championship-caliber team of young players, a large group of them,” he said. “We’re going to field an excellent team in the next two or three years that you’re going to be proud of. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe what I think.

“I did not want to be like some other teams in Major League Baseball. They make one or two changes each year, and they never have winning seasons. We’ve had a lot of winning seasons through this decade.”

Marlins beat Mets

Stanton homered for the first time this spring, and the Marlins benefitted from two other home runs in a 7-5 victory over the New York Mets.

Casey Kotchman, whose spring debut with the Marlins was delayed by an injured finger, connected on a grand slam in the first inning off Mets starter Jenrry Mejia.

Stanton and Matt Downs each homered in the fifth in support of Ricky Nolasco, who started for the Marlins and delivered two shutout innings before departing.

Ruggiano improving

Injured outfielder Justin Ruggiano said his back is feeling much improved but isn’t sure when he will be ready to begin swinging a bat, much less see Grapefruit League action.

“It’s getting a lot better,” said Ruggiano, who is dealing with a back strain. “Given that it’s a long spring training, they’re kind of babying it. The important thing is I’m just going to learn how to maintain it so it doesn’t happen again.”

Coming up

•  Wednesday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (3-7, 4.43 ERA with Marlins) at Washington Nationals RHP Dan Haren (12-13, 4.33), 1:05 p.m., Viera.

•  Thursday: Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (1-4, 3.38) at St. Louis Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook (13-11, 3.97), 1:05 p.m., Jupiter.

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