Marlins notebook

Miami Marlins’ Jacob Turner rediscovers his groove in loss to Cardinals

 

Special to The Miami Herald

Though the Marlins’ bats couldn’t connect, Jacob Turner found his command in a 2-0 loss to the Cardinals on Saturday at Roger Dean Stadium.

Roughed up for six earned runs during just one-third of an inning in his previous outing, the right-hander took control of his second start of the spring. He kept the Cards off the board for three innings and struck out two.

“I think it’s anytime you’re kind of off the tracks a little bit, you need an outing to get you going in the right direction and let you build momentum,” Turner said.

The starter threw 30 of his 49 pitches for strikes.

“He had a little more focus on executing his fastball and his pitches,” manager Mike Redmond said. “We’re counting on him to be in that rotation, so definitely a good sign [Saturday] that hopefully he’s on track.”

The Marlins lineup was silenced by Adam Wainwright, who threw 4 2/3 scoreless innings and retired nine in a row at one point to earn a standing ovation from the Cardinals fans.

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was a standout for the Marlins, flashing glimpses of his highly touted glove work while turning a double play. He also drew a two-out walk in the fifth inning.

Split defeats

The Marlins had no better luck in Viera, where the other half of the Miami split squad fell 8-7 to the Nationals.

Outfielder Christian Yelich drew a bases-loaded walk, one of the two he had in the Miami effort. He chipped in two hits and two RBI for the Marlins.

Noted pitching prospect Jose Fernandez pitched for the first time since his scoreless outing against Team Venezuela on Tuesday.

He was the only Miami pitcher not to give up a run. In two innings of relief, he allowed one hit and struck out two.

Staying cautious

Marlins third baseman Placido Polanco put on a uniform but didn’t see action outside of a quick stretch with the team.

“He said he’s feeling better, so that’s a good sign,” Redmond said. “We don’t have a time frame for him yet.”

Polanco, 37, missed 70 games last season with back issues and has not taken the field since prior to Tuesday’s game against Team Venezuela.

• Redmond spent extra time with Ed Lucas and Chris Valaika during the morning warmup. Both players then came in as defensive replacements during the game.

Ruggiano returns

Justin Ruggiano made his Grapefruit League debut Saturday against the Cardinals.

In his first two plate appearances, Wainwright struck out Ruggiano swinging.

“We want to get him out there and get him on his feet,” Redmond said before the game. “We don’t want to push him.”

Ruggiano, 30, was considered the leading candidate to start in center field heading into camp but has been sidelined with a lower-back strain.

Ruggiano was eager to get back into action. The 30-year-old journeyman was a pleasant surprise last season, hitting .313 in 91 games with 13 home runs.

“He gives us real pop; he can hit anywhere in that lineup,” Redmond said. “That’s definitely an area that we’re looking at, someone who can hit behind [ Giancarlo] Stanton.”

Even with an impressive level of consistency last season, nothing is guaranteed. Ruggiano is going to see competition in all directions, including from Chris Coghlan, who started in center against the Mets in Port St. Lucie on Thursday, and Gorkys Hernandez, who is out of options. Hernandez had three RBI and a stolen base with the split squad in Viera on Saturday.

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