NEW YORK -- It looked like something you might see on the first day of Little League tryouts. Because all of their regular first basemen are on the disabled list, the Marlins had four novices take ground balls Friday before batting practice. Because there were not enough first basemen’s mitts to go around, they had to take turns sharing.
“We’re just trying to find somebody that cannot get hurt, not hurt anybody else and make a play or two,” said Marlins infield coach Perry Hill, who has his work cut out. “There’s a lot more to it than running over and putting your foot on a white thing.”
Catcher Miguel Olivo, outfielder Austin Kearns, middle infielder Chris Valaika and outfielder Chris Coghlan were given a crash course Friday on playing first. Greg Dobbs, meanwhile, received his second start in a row at the position.
Coghlan wanted to know if he could use his regular glove.
Olivo tried using his catcher’s mitt.
“Dobber’s got a couple we can pass around,” Hill said.
The Marlins found themselves in a difficult spot after Casey Kotchman was placed on the DL with a hamstring injury. With Logan Morrison and Joe Mahoney already on the DL, the Marlins had no one else on the 40-man roster to step in.
They called up catcher Kyle Skipworth from Triple A New Orleans to fill Kotchman’s roster spot.
“That’s kind of the situation we’re in,” said manager Mike Redmond. “We’re trying to find somebody. We’re going to throw somebody over there and see how it goes.”
Two former first-round draft picks for the Marlins could be making their major-league debuts during the New York series. J ose Fernandez, the Marlins’ first pick in 2011, is scheduled to take the mound Sunday. And Skipworth, the team’s first-round pick in 2008, could see action after being called up from the minors to take Kotchman’s roster spot.
“What’s a better way to do it, a big-league call-up in the Big Apple?” said Skipworth, who had never visited New York City before.
With three catchers on the roster, Skipworth’s playing time will likely be limited.
“Skippy’s a young guy, so we’ll have to pick our spots for him to get in there,” Redmond said.
The new Big Hurt?
The Nationals’ Bryce Harper put the hurt on the Marlins in Washington, literally and figuratively. Harper not only had six hits in the series, but also smoked Redmond with a foul ball that struck the right elbow as he was standing in the dugout. Redmond looked unflustered.
“That’s because I was a catcher, used to taking those foul tips,” he said. “There was no way I could go down. My guys would be all over me.”
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.00) at New York Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (1-0, 2.70), 1:10 p.m., Citi Field.
• Sunday: Marlins RHP Fernandez at New York Mets (to be announced), 1:10 p.m., Citi Field.
Scouting report: Nolasco returns to the mound after losing the season opener Monday in Washington. Nolasco gave up a pair of solo homers to Harper but little else. Nolasco has gone 5-8 with a 5.13 ERA against the Mets over his career. In his seven starts at Citi Field, he is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA.