Marlins Notebook

LeBlanc, Polanco lead Miami Marlins’ shutout of Zephyrs

 

Special to The Miami Herald

The Marlins put a wrap on their exhibition schedule Saturday, blanking the Triple A New Orleans Zephyrs 7-0 before a pre-Easter crowd of 9,062 at Zephyr Field.

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc picked up the victory with four innings of no-hit ball, striking out three with no walks. In all, seven pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout against Miami’s top farm team.

Third baseman Placido Polanco led the Marlins with two home runs and five RBI, a two-run blast in the first and a three-run shot to cap a four-run outburst in the fourth.

All six runs came off starter and loser Brad Hand (0-1).

Roster add-on, outfielder Isaac Galloway, added a solo homer in the seventh.

It marked the first major league exhibition/game in New Orleans since 1999 and the Marlins’ first against their Triple A affiliate.

LeBlanc, who went 1-2 in five spring training appearances (four starts), is scheduled to start against the Washington Nationals in Game 3 of their season-opening series Thursday.

He threw 47 pitches, 30 for strikes. The game was played in a brisk two hours, nine minutes.

DOWN ON THE FARM

Shortstop Austin Nola, a native of Baton Rouge and the Marlins’ fifth-round pick in 2012 out of LSU, drew a nice round of applause when introduced by the public address announcer.

Nola, who has been assigned to Jupiter — the Marlins’ high Single A team — went hitless in two at-bats, grounding into a double play and popping up in short center.

“This is all new to me,” Nola said. “It’s all an experience right now, and I’m just continuing to learn every day. Right now, going to Jupiter is the next step. It’s where I’m headed. I just do what they tell me, wherever they send me, because I can’t control anything after that.

“This is awesome to be able to be here and be around all the big-league guys and all the Triple A guys, to see how they carry themselves. Spring training went well. I learned a lot about how the game works and you just continue to learn, with the amount of reps you get every day. I’m refining my skills, and that’s when I learn a lot.”

TRAVEL PLANS

The Marlins were not available to reporters after the game so they could meet their flight connection to Washington. They are scheduled to work out at Nationals Park on Sunday in preparation for Opening Day Monday.

COMING UP

•  Monday: Miami RHP Ricky Nolasco (12-13, 4.48 ERA in 2012) vs. Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg (15-6, 3.16), Nationals Park, 1:05 p.m.

•  Wednesday: Miami RHP Nathan Eavaldi (4-13, 4.30) vs. Washington LHP Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89), Nationals Park, 7:05 p.m.

•  Scouting report: Though the Marlins finished dead last in the NL East last season, 29 games behind the Nationals, Miami managed to split its 18-game home-and-home schedule. Nolasco also pitched Opening Day for the Marlins in 2009, going six strong innings and getting the win in a 12-6 victory against the Nationals at Sun Life Stadium. The Marlins will be hard pressed to score runs against Strasburg and Gonzalez. The teams are off Tuesday and conclude their three-game series Thursday.

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