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De Aza and Gall may make OD roster

Eddie Altamonte

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http://www.palmbeachpost.com/marlins/conte...rlins_0325.html

De Aza earns shot in center
By Joe Capozzi
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Monday, March 26, 2007

FORT MYERS ? When bench coach Carlos Tosca writes the lineup card every day, he uses black ink for right-handed hitters, blue for switch-hitters and red for left-handers.

Alejandro De Aza saw his name in red, and the rookie outfielder had his own explanation: "I'm on fire.''

Red Sox 12, Marlins 1

Keeping score: Hanley Ramirez singled up the middle on Josh Beckett's first pitch of the game. ... Yusmeiro Petit walked the first two batters to open the third then gave up a two-run double to David Ortiz. ... Joe Borchard made a spectacular running catch in left field to rob Ortiz of an extra-base hit in the fifth inning. ... The Red Sox scored nine runs in the eighth. ... Mike Jacobs hit his third homer of the spring in the ninth inning.
A minor-league Rule 5 draft pick who three weeks ago seemed destined to start the season in Class AA Carolina, De Aza could turn out to be the Marlins' biggest surprise of the spring.

He's batting .361 in 21 games, a compelling argument for the Marlins to make him their starting center fielder or at least a bench player.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the team hasn't made any decision yet on center field. But he offered some revealing comments when asked why he was starting De Aza on Sunday with the season opener a week from today.

"How can you not give him an opportunity? Everytime you put him in there he does something good,'' Gonzalez said. "I've said it from Day One, he brings something to the game every time he plays.''

Two weeks ago, center field was a battle between Eric Reed and Alex Sanchez. Now, Gonzalez isn't ruling out the possibility of De Aza winding up in the opening-day lineup.

"This organization started rookies, seven of them, last year, so why not?'' Gonzalez said. "We've always said this is an open competition and he has taken that to task.''

De Aza, 22, said it will be a dream come true if he makes the team.

"That's what I'm working for,'' he said. "If I don't, that's fine. I know soon I'll be there. I'm going to play hard always.''

More surprises? De Aza isn't the only long shot who might end up on the opening-day roster.

If right fielder Jeremy Hermida starts the season on the disabled list, non-roster invitee John Gall could win a backup spot. And backup infielder Jason Wood is leading the team with a .400 batting average.

"I said the other day to my wife, 'I can't remember having this much fun in a clubhouse and with a group of guys.' I really like the chemistry here,'' said Gall, who turns 29 on opening day.

Gall, a Stanford University graduate drafted in the 11th round by the Cardinals in 2000, signed a minor-league contract with the Marlins.

Gonzalez said he was impressed the other day when he looked into the Marlins' dugout, just as the opposing team ordered a left-hander to warm up, to see Gall pulling on a pair of batting gloves.

"You don't have to tell him, 'Johnny, get ready.' He's already ready,'' Gonzalez said. "He played for (St. Louis manager) Tony La Russa and Tony loves him.

"This guy knows every situation that comes up. He's done it for one of the best managers in baseball. That brings a lot of comfort for me.''

Gall knows he's no lock to open the season with the Marlins.

But the reserve outfielder will be the only Marlins player to receive a World Series ring this year - his perk for playing eight games with the Cardinals last year.

Mitre bidding: Gonzalez said right-hander Yusmeiro Petit didn't hurt his chances for winning a rotation spot despite control problems Sunday in Florida's 12-6 loss to the Red Sox.

Petit allowed three runs on three hits in 41/3 innings. He walked four batters. Coming into the game, he had walked one batter in 111/3 innings in four games.

Petit is competing for the fifth spot with Sergio Mitre, who starts against the Cardinals today in Jupiter.

Teams warned: While running out a ground out to end the fourth inning, Da Aza said he accidentally spiked first baseman Kevin Youkilis' left foot.

Youkilis stayed in the game but starting pitcher Josh Beckett drilled De Aza in the left hip with his first pitch in seventh inning.

Marlins reliever Roy Corcoran hit a minor-leaguer who was pinch-hitting for David Ortiz, prompting home-plate umpire Sam Holbrook to issue warnings to both teams.

Sunny opener: Barring any sudden changes in weather patterns, the Marlins should feel comfortable when they play their season opener next Monday in Washington. The extended forecast for the 1:05 p.m. start calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 59 degrees.

Noteworthy: Taylor Tankersley (left shoulder tendinitis) threw live batting practice Sunday. If he feels no discomfort today, he will pitch one inning in a minor -league game Tuesday or Wednesday.
 

HelmsE

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Interesting article. I'm excited to see what some of the early season lineups are going to look like. I was finally able to watch a game yesterday with mlb.tv and despite a disastrous 8th inning and some control issues by Petit, it was fun to see some of the new guys out there fighting for a spot. Borchard had some trouble early with the Ortiz double off the wall but redeemed himself with his sliding catch in left. De Aza had a pretty good day in the field, I'm excited to see what's to come with him in the future.
 

Bret Hart

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De Aza - yes
Gall - no
Wood - yes

Jason Wood will be a backup infielder.
then, Amezaga join a backup outfielder with De Aza.
 

BroncoBob27

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Interesting article. I'm excited to see what some of the early season lineups are going to look like. I was finally able to watch a game yesterday with mlb.tv and despite a disastrous 8th inning and some control issues by Petit, it was fun to see some of the new guys out there fighting for a spot. Borchard had some trouble early with the Ortiz double off the wall but redeemed himself with his sliding catch in left. De Aza had a pretty good day in the field, I'm excited to see what's to come with him in the future.

We were at this game. TV can give such different angles but it looked to me that that double was catchable. It looked like Borchard lost it at first in the sun and then couldn't catch up with it. What is the opinion of those watching it on the tube?
Beckett was off a little in the 1st. And the 2 errors sure helped us. But it looks like somehow he has become an even slower pitcher. Felt like an hour between pitches at times. Good move to 1B on pickoff plays tho. Kept De Aza honest enough.
Here's hoping that Corcoran enjoys that New Mexico night life. Wood came into a tough situation but even he couldn't throw strikes. After a bit even the BoSox fans around us were pleading for them to get it over the plate. Horrendous 8th.
 
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Borchard had some trouble early with the Ortiz double off the wall but redeemed himself with his sliding catch in left.


Borch also misplayed a ball during the Mets game on Saturday.

De Aza - yes
Gall - no
Wood - yes

Jason Wood will be a backup infielder.
then, Amezaga join a backup outfielder with De Aza.


Is this a 40 man roster or what?
 

Bret Hart

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De Aza - yes
Gall - no
Wood - yes

Jason Wood will be a backup infielder.
then, Amezaga join a backup outfielder with De Aza.


Is this a 40 man roster or what?

It mean a 25-man roster.
 

Marlins2003

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That's the question - where are althese roster spots coming from?

I guess 1) Hermida goeson the DL, 2) Ross is as good as gone and 3) maybe Fredi has decided on 12 pitchers.

????
 

prinmemito

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That's the question - where are althese roster spots coming from?

I guess 1) Hermida goeson the DL, 2) Ross is as good as gone and 3) maybe Fredi has decided on 12 pitchers.

????

That's what it sounds like to me. If Gall makes the team Ross is surely outta there.
 

FishFanInPA

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Lost in that article is Beckett bein an ass again and hittin people....I'm so glad we got rid of that jerk.
 

prinmemito

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I agree with FishFaninPA's comment re: Beckett.

I want De Aza as our starting outfielder. I don't foresee Reed having even an average major league career, so I think it's good to give a younger guy a shot who may have some upside. We have nothing to lose. Go Alejandro!
 

TSwift25

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That's the question - where are althese roster spots coming from?

I guess 1) Hermida goeson the DL, 2) Ross is as good as gone and 3) maybe Fredi has decided on 12 pitchers.

????

Yeah, with this much competition for bench spots, it almost certainly has to mean we're not going with 13 pitchers...at least I'd assume so.
 

Ramp

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I'm in the camp (probably the very small camp) that thinks De Aza needs more time in the minors
 

TSwift25

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I'm in the camp (probably the very small camp) that thinks De Aza needs more time in the minors

I think he needs to play everyday, and I think the only place he can do that is the minors. So, I'm with you.
 

prinmemito

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I'm in the camp (probably the very small camp) that thinks De Aza needs more time in the minors

Why do you think that? I'd like to know your thoughts since you are in camp basically every day.
 

Ramp

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I'm in the camp (probably the very small camp) that thinks De Aza needs more time in the minors

Why do you think that? I'd like to know your thoughts since you are in camp basically every day.
Well atleast to me, he has been guessing an awful lot at pitches. Right now, he is getting lucky enough for those balls to be dropping in. About half his at bats are against other minor leaguers and non roster invitees. He only has 230 AA at bats. It really isn't what I have or haven't seen in camp, because you can't argue much with those stats. My issue is the fact he is a career .266/.355/.365 hitter in the minors, and last year in AA he hit just .278/.346/.374. Maybe things all of the sudden just clicked with him, and that certainly may be the case. Another thing that is something to look at is the fact he has walked just once in 36 at bats this spring. He isn't working the counts and it's usually trouble when someone's OBP is almost dead even with their AVG unless they can maintain that .300 AVG full time.

That and if the Astros can send down Hunter Pence (Spring: .571/.647/1.071, Last Season in AA: .283/.357/.533), the Pirates with Andrew McCutcheon and the Royals with Billy Butler, I don't see why 35 at bats should give De Aza a spot on this 25 man as of right now.
 

Bucklin12

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I'm in the camp (probably the very small camp) that thinks De Aza needs more time in the minors

I'm with you, Ramp. This isn't the first time a young guy blossomed in camp, and it definitely wouldn't be the first time, that young guy got brought to the big league, followed by 5 years of toiling back and forth between the minor and major leagues, aka, Kool-Aid 3 years from now.

It looks like this kid could be good. Possibly, really good. I mean, if we really think he can take us from an "almost post season team," to a "post season team," we should do it. But, I don't believe he alone can do that, though, at least not yet.
 

catchoftheday

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I'm in the camp (probably the very small camp) that thinks De Aza needs more time in the minors

I think he needs to play everyday, and I think the only place he can do that is the minors. So, I'm with you.

I think that if he does make the roster is to be the starting CF come opening day ... playing everyday from then on
 

Ramp

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I'm not a fan by any stretch of Eric Reed's but he has earned that spot in CF, not only for his spring, but for what he has done at almost every level. If he can't hack it in a month or month and a half, then thats fine, but he only got 40 at bats last season. And at this point, Reed is probably more advanced than De Aza anyway.
 

prinmemito

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I'm in the camp (probably the very small camp) that thinks De Aza needs more time in the minors

Why do you think that? I'd like to know your thoughts since you are in camp basically every day.
Well atleast to me, he has been guessing an awful lot at pitches. Right now, he is getting lucky enough for those balls to be dropping in. About half his at bats are against other minor leaguers and non roster invitees. He only has 230 AA at bats. It really isn't what I have or haven't seen in camp, because you can't argue much with those stats. My issue is the fact he is a career .266/.355/.365 hitter in the minors, and last year in AA he hit just .278/.346/.374. Maybe things all of the sudden just clicked with him, and that certainly may be the case. Another thing that is something to look at is the fact he has walked just once in 36 at bats this spring. He isn't working the counts and it's usually trouble when someone's OBP is almost dead even with their AVG unless they can maintain that .300 AVG full time.

That and if the Astros can send down Hunter Pence (Spring: .571/.647/1.071, Last Season in AA: .283/.357/.533), the Pirates with Andrew McCutcheon and the Royals with Billy Butler, I don't see why 35 at bats should give De Aza a spot on this 25 man as of right now.

Makes total sense. I read somewhere that he was hitting over .300 in AA last season and then got hurt. He didn't play so well when he returned. So his final line of .278/.346/.374 doesn't do justice to his performance.

I won't be upset if he goes to AA. But I really don't think he's any worse than Reed or Sanchez at this point. At worst he's as good as those guys. Might as well go with the young guy who still has the potential to develop into something solid. I think Reed and Sanchez suck and will continue to do so.
 

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