No Marlins player had a better three days in Pittsburgh than Garrett Jones.
“He’s been shaking hands and kissing babies ever since we got here,” catcher Jeff Mathis cracked.
The first baseman spent the previous five seasons with the Pirates, hitting 100 home runs. He signed with the Marlins as a free agent in the offseason for two years and $7.75 million.
“It was strange to walk in here the first day and see everything from a visiting player’s perspective,” Jones said. “I had never been in the visiting clubhouse or the batting cages, and it’s a pretty nice setup. I was impressed.
“The biggest thing, though, was coming back and seeing so many friendly faces. I really enjoyed my time here. The fans were always very good to me, and my family, too. I’ll always have good memories of playing for the Pirates. It was nice to come back.”
Jones was part of a Pirates’ turnaround that saw them both get to the postseason and post their first winning record last year for the first time since 1992.
“It was a great time, and I’ll never forget how excited the fans were and how great the crowds were in this ballpark, the energy was unbelievable, especially in the playoffs,” Jones said.
Jones said he could foresee a similar situation in Miami in the near future.
“We’re very similar to where the Pirates were a few years ago where they had a lot of good young players who were growing together,” Jones said. “We’ve got a pretty interesting club, and if we keep winning, then you’ll see people come out to the ballpark. Everybody loves a winner.”
Third baseman Casey McGehee did not start for just the second time in 114 games this season.
McGehee is in a 7-for-54 slump that has dropped his batting average to .298. It is the first time since June 7 that he has been hitting under .300.
McGehee is also 0 for 8 in his career against Edinson Volquez, who started for the Pirates.
Donovan Solano started in McGehee’s place.
TOUGH ROAD FOE
The Marlins face one of their nemeses Friday night when they open a three-game series against the Reds at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
According to Stats LCC, the Reds’ 12-5 record against the Marlins is the third-best performance by a National League team against a non-division opponent since the start of the 2012 season.
Furthermore, the Marlins are just 14-22 at Great American Ball Park and have a 33-54 overall record at Cincinnati.
COMING UP• Friday : Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-6, 4.22 ERA) at Cincinnati Reds RHP Mike Leake (9-9, 3.46), 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park.
• Saturday : Marlins TBA at Reds RHP Alfredo Simon (12-7, 3.07), 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park.