Colin Moran paid his first visit to Marlins Park on Friday. The Marlins are hoping it isn’t very long before the star collegiate third baseman settles in for good.
The Marlins made it official Friday by signing Moran, the sixth overall pick in the June amateur draft, for $3.52 million.
“We haven’t had a long-term third baseman since Mike Lowell left us [following the 2005 season], and we’ve been searching for that person,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said at Moran’s introductory news conference. “Hopefully, it ends right here with you, Colin. We can’t wait for you to assume that role and become our everyday third baseman, and that journey starts today.”
The first stop for Moran will be Single A Greensboro (N.C.), and Beinfest said Moran would receive a spring-training invitation to major-league camp in 2014. Beyond that, nobody is making any predictions on when to expect Moran in a Marlins uniform.
“Are there players that get there that quickly? Yes,” Beinfest said when asked if he felt Moran could advance to the majors at some point next season. “Is it the norm? No. It’s not that easy.”
But Beinfest acknowledged that Moran possesses an “advanced bat.”
“You can tell he can swing the bat,” Beinfest said. “Defensively, I think he’s going to be fine. If you can hit, you can hit. College is college and pro ball is pro ball, and there’s definitely a difference. But this guy put up big numbers in a really good conference.”
Moran hails from New York and grew up a Yankees fan.
But he has been studying up on the Marlins ever since they called his name in the draft.
“I’ve been following the team for a while, and you can tell they’re definitely headed in the right direction,” Moran said.
Before Moran joins Greensboro on Monday, the Marlins plan on allowing him to take batting practice before Saturday’s game.
As expected, the Marlins failed to sign their third-round pick, high school middle infielder Ben Deluzio, before Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline. Deluzio elected to attend Florida State instead.
As compensation, Beinfest said, the Marlins will be awarded a late third-round pick in next year’s draft.
Overall, the Marlins ended up signing eight of their top 10 draft picks.
Chris Coghlan received clearance from a back specialist in Texas to resume “baseball activities.”
But it could be a while before Coghlan, who has been on the disabled list since June 9 with right calf nerve irritation, sees game action.
“He’s been down for a while now, and I think we’ve got to make sure we build him up, take our time and see how his back responds,” manager Mike Redmond said.
Reliever Chad Qualls will miss the final two games before the All-Star break in order to be with his wife and attend the birth of their child. The Marlins will place Qualls on the paternity list and call up a pitcher from the minors before Saturday’s game.
Redmond said Qualls will rejoin the team after the break.
• Henderson Alvarez will make Sunday’s start instead of Kevin Slowey, Redmond said.
• Austin Kearns is continuing to attend to a family medical issue, and it’s appearing more and more unlikely he’ll be rejoining the team this season.
“He’s got a very difficult family situation, and we feel for him,” Beinfest said. “But it’s getting late already. He’s missed a lot of time.
“It would take him a while to ramp up now. You’d had to beat the clock to get back this year, probably.”
• The start time for the Marlins’ Aug. 17 game against the Giants was changed to 7:10 p.m.
• Saturday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (5-5, 2.83 ERA) vs. Washington Nationals RHP Dan Haren (4-10, 6.00), 7:15 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Sunday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 5.73) vs. Nationals RHP Taylor Jordan (0-2, 3.45), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: Fernandez will be making his final start for the Marlins before heading to New York for the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Since June 1, his 1.75 ERA is the second-lowest in the majors.