Jarred Cosart feels like a brand new person these days.
The Marlins certainly hope so.
A week removed from being fined for betting on sports with bookmakers and cleared from severe punishment after a league probe found no evidence the 24-year-old right-hander bet on baseball, Cosart will make his first start Saturday afternoon against the Rays.
He said Friday he’s eager to “get the first one out of the way and get rolling.”
“The real marathon starts [Saturday] for me, and hopefully, 35 starts and hopefully more if we get to October,” Cosart said. “I kind of [feel] like a new person getting that [investigation] off my hands, and carrying over [what happened] my last start of spring training, kind of with a clean slate.
“Just being able to work through that with the team behind me and family and friends that were behind me [felt good].”
Cosart, who ran into trouble with baseball after tweets surfaced from his Twitter account indicating he might have placed sports-related bets, said he’s staying off social media for now.
“We’re going to work something out with my agency, maybe like a fan page or something,” he said. “Obviously, that was kind of a freak incident and it’s behind us now. Hopefully we won’t have anything else going forward.”
As for the blister on his middle finger, which showed up right around the same time baseball started investigating him, Cosart said he’s happy to be healthy. Blisters have nagged him for years.
“I usually get one a year,” he said. “It’s weird. The past three years, they’ve all been at different times. Last year I had it in the middle of the year, the year before didn’t happen until my last start, and I think back in the minor leagues it just varied. I was actually really happy it happened when it did in spring training, got it out of the way. Usually, knock on wood, it’s once a year. Hopefully it’s out of the way for the rest of the year.”
▪ Manager Mike Redmond said he hasn’t considered making any changes to the lineup to get the offense rolling. The Marlins scored only three runs combined in their first three games, second-fewest in franchise history to start a season.
“Not after three games,” Redmond said of any lineup changes. “I like our lineup. I really like our lineup. We had some opportunities to score some runs. I think we all saw that. It didn’t happen, but it’s going to happen.”
ZOMBIE NIGHT AT MARLINS PARK
The Marlins hosted Zombie Night on Friday, the first theme night of the season (they’ll have one every Friday home game).
It promised a fan-friendly experience that included an appearance from actor IronE Singleton, who played T-Dog on the hit AMC show The Walking Dead.
Fans who purchased the VIP special event package received a game ticket, Marlins Zombie Kit, T-shirt and VIP pregame party with prizes, games and zombie face painting. Fans were encouraged to come dressed in their favorite zombie costume and to stay in their seats following the game for a fireworks show.
Marlins pitcher Tom Koehler said he’s a big fan of The Walking Dead.
“I haven’t seen the season finale, but I’ve watched every other episode,” Koehler said. “I like Daryl. I like him walking around with his crossbow taking people out and picking the arrow back up and moving forward. He’s really evolved over the seasons too.”
Does Koehler think he would survive a zombie apocalypse?
“No. We’re pretty pampered in here,” he said. “I don’t know if all of a sudden I could go off drinking water every six days or finding a random deer that’s still alive somehow. I don’t think I’d be OK.
“[Catcher Jeff] Mathis would. He’d find a way. He has a barn. He basically lives in a zombie apocalypse by choice. That would be my pick to survive.”
What would be Koehler’s weapon of choice in a zombie apocalypse?
“I’d have a crossbow, samurai sword mix,” he said. “So I’d be able to slice the zombies up if I ran out of arrows.”
Saturday: Cosart vs. Rays RHP Chris Archer (0-1, 4.76 ERA), 4:10 p.m.
Sunday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 2.57) vs. Rays RHP Nathan Karns (0-1, 9.53), 1:10 p.m.