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Marlins go to work

Eddie Altamonte

Dec 31, 2005
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Marlins get to work
/ Associated Press
Posted: 20 hours ago

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) - Rain fell, a cold wind blew from the north, and yet Florida Marlins left-hander Scott Olsen was eager to go outside.

Luckily for Olsen and his teammates, the skies soon cleared for their first spring training workout Sunday. Pitchers threw in the bullpen and batters hit in cages as new manager Fredi Gonzalez led three hours of drills.
Olsen, one of four rookies who established themselves in the rotation last year, said the young Marlins won't be resting on their laurels.

"We've still got to work," he said. "Just because of what we did last year, someone can still come and take your spot. It's harder to do than it would be last year, but you've still got to go out there and work hard and show Fredi you can handle it. You've always got to have a competitive edge when you're playing."

With the youngest team in the major leagues last year, Florida started 11-31 but went 67-53 the rest of the way under Joe Girardi and was in playoff contention in September. Still, expectations are low for a team that made no major offseason acquisitions, faces big issues in the bullpen and center field and will likely have baseball's smallest payroll - again.

"We believe in each other, and that's all it takes," ace Dontrelle Willis said. "I definitely want to get off to a better start than 11-31. If we play the way we did last year, I think we'll be in a good situation."

The sun broke through as pitchers and catchers took the field, but the weather was less than ideal thanks to the wind and temperatures in the 50s. Team president David Samson said the conditions were the worst he had seen in Jupiter since the team moved its spring training complex there in 2003.

"I felt like I was back home in Oklahoma," right-hander Josh Johnson said.

Gonzalez arose at 4:30 a.m. to check the Weather Channel and was disappointed about the forecast, but still excited to begin his first camp as a major league manager.

"It's a good day," he said, adding his heart "has been racing for four or five days."

The workout drew few fans, but among those on hand were Gonzalez's parents and his 13-year-old son, who was in uniform.

Gonzalez kept short the introductory speech he gave his players before the workout.

"You're not going to see me on the speech circuit," he said. "I just told them what I expected of them a little bit."

Among the pitchers to work were Willis and right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who threw the first major league no-hitter in 2 1/2 years as a rookie last season. Sanchez has been nursing a sore shoulder but reported no problem during his session.

Johnson, who went 12-7 as a rookie last year, has been troubled since September by soreness in his forearm but said he hopes to start throwing in the next few days.

"It's no time to rush," Johnson said. "I've just got to wait. It'll be better for me in the long run."

A few early arrivals among the position players took batting practice, including left fielder Josh Willingham and first baseman Mike Jacobs. The first full-squad workout is Wednesday, and the first game is Feb. 28 against the St. Louis Cardinals.


Apr 6, 2006
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good article..I'm excited for the season.

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