Marlins notebook

Wilson Valdez added to the Miami Marlins’ infield mix with minor-league deal

 

Special to The Miami Herald

The Marlins have added more pieces to the roster puzzle with five games remaining in the Grapefruit League season.

Released on Friday from the San Francisco Giants, infielder Wilson Valdez was signed to a minor-league deal with an invitation to what little is left of major-league camp.

“We brought him in to see where he fits, if there is a fit with what we’ve got,” manager Mike Redmond said. “We’re always trying to better the team.”

Valdez flew in late Friday night and took batting practice with the team Saturday. He was wearing No. 1.

With the release of Chone Figgins from the Marlins on Wednesday, Nick Green seemed like the sure candidate to help fill the infield. The final week of camp could now prove crucial for Green to show consistency with Valdez in the mix.

Valdez, 34, was signed by the Montreal Expos in 1997 as a non-drafted free agent and has spent parts of seven years in the majors.

His career average of .236 isn’t the first thing on Redmond’s mind. The addition of a big hitter is appealing, but his priority for the role Valdez might fill has nothing to do with what happens at the plate.

“Having our pitching staff as young as it is, we’re going to have to play defense, and we’re going to have to get every out,” Redmond said. “That’s probably going to be the number one thing.”

The veteran Valdez replaced Placido Polanco at third base Saturday. In two at-bats, he was called out on strikes and drew a walk.

The Marlins are dealing with the prolonged absence of Donovan Solano, and Valdez’s signing could indicate that the second baseman’s injury might be more trouble than anticipated. Solano was pulled on Wednesday with a stiff back.

•  Nathan Eovaldi narrowly avoided his first loss of the spring in the seventh meeting between the Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, as Miami rallied for a 6-5 walk-off victory.

The Marlins’ projected No. 2 starter gave up a first-inning RBI double to Matt Holliday but kept the Cardinals at bay for the next five innings. In the sixth, though, he gave up a slew of singles, allowing five hits to the visitors, who took a 3-2 lead.

“I started falling behind. It was 1-0, then 2-0; those are hitters counts ...,” he said. “Everything felt great [Saturday] except for that last inning.”

The right-hander allowed three runs on nine hits in six innings. He threw 54 of his 83 pitches for strikes.

Chris Coghlan took advantage of left-hander Marc Rzepcynski’s errors in the ninth. His two-out single sent Austin Kearns and Valdez home to secure the win for the Marlins.

Pinch-hitting for Eovaldi in the sixth, minor-leaguer Austin Nola had a notable contribution to the big club. His two-run single to right field put the Marlins ahead of the Cardinals. Nola spent the 2012 season with Jamestown (N.Y.) and Greensboro (N.C.), Miami’s A-ball affiliates.

Coming up

•  Sunday: Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (0-2, 10.80 ERA) at Houston Astros (TBA), 1:05 p.m., Kissimmee.

•  Monday: Marlins LHP Wade LeBlanc (1-1, 3.86) vs. Detroit Tigers RHP Rick Porcello, 1:05 p.m., Jupiter.

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