A 55-minute rain delay ended the day early for Henderson Alvarez and Giancarlo Stanton on Thursday, but it still turned out to be a pretty good day at the office for the Marlins’ 2014 All-Stars.
Stanton homered for the second time this spring and drove in another run with a double off Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. Alvarez, lined up to be the team’s Opening Day starter, gave up two runs on four hits over three innings but singled and scored a run on a nifty slide to avoid a tag by Yadier Molina at the plate.
Most importantly, manager Mike Redmond said, they and most of the other starters are beginning to look like they’re ready for the season opener against Atlanta on April 6 — a game now only a little more than a week away.
“I’m 100 percent ready to start the season,” said Alvarez, who picked up his first Grapefruit League win after the Marlins held on to beat St. Louis 5-3. “I just want to finish the spring healthy and get off to a good start in 2015.”
Stanton, who is hitting .294 this spring with two homers and nine RBI, devoured a Wainwright pitch in the first inning for a solo home run. The tape-measure shot landed on the balcony of the team’s spring complex behind the wall at Roger Dean Stadium.
“His swing is coming around,” Redmond said. “His approach is good. He’s close, real close.”
The top five hitters in the Marlins lineup are all posting quality this spring.
Leadoff hitter Dee Gordon tripled and scored Thursday and is hitting .356; left-fielder Christian Yelich drove in a run against the Cardinals with a two-out single and is now hitting .314; first baseman Michael Morse is batting .344 and leading the team in homers (4) and the Grapefruit League in RBI (14). Third baseman Martin Prado is hitting .282.
“We’ll probably try to get these guys out there for close to a full game, if not get them full at-bats the next couple days if we can,” said Redmond, who was planning to take his entire roster of fielders up to Kissimmee Friday night to face the Astros. “These guys are close if not ready to go right now. It’s just a matter of feeding them more at-bats and keep them feeling healthy and confident.”
Yelich’s new glove
Yelich, who became the first outfielder in franchise history to win a Gold Glove last November, will be sporting a new glove in left field this season — one with a gold patch on it to remind everyone of his defensive achievement.
It’s part of his new deal with Rawlings, which puts the gold patch on the custom-made gloves of all Gold Glove winners who are signed with the company.
“It’s kind of a cool touch they put on it,” the 23-year-old former first-round pick said. “I didn’t really know until after I won it that it’s something they do for all Gold Glove winners. You get the gold patch instead of the red.”
This spring, Yelich has broken in a black Rawlings glove without the gold patch. He recently got a pair of new gloves — one tan and one black — with the gold patch on them. He plans to break the tan glove in first in over the last week of spring.
“There was no chance I ever thought I would win a Gold Glove,” Yelich said. “Now that it’s happened, it’s actually a cool feeling. A lot of hard work went into it.”
After having his glove stolen from luggage last June at the airport as he was returning to the Marlins from a rehab assignment in Nashville, Yelich’s glove story has certainly come a long way. He will formally receive his Gold Glove Award on Opening Day.