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Hermida story, Beckett learns from pavano


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JUPITER, Fla. -- Participating in the Arizona Fall League for the first time exposed prospect Jeremy Hermida to high-level minor league pitching.

Now, in his first Marlins Spring Training camp, Hermida will get a taste of the big leagues.

 

The 21-year-old outfielder, who is regarded as the best prospect in the organization, will have a chance to showcase his skills. While Hermida knows he will open the year in Double-A Carolina, he is ready to gauge where he stands in his fourth season of professional baseball.

 

"I know I'm not going to make the team," said Hermida, the team's first-round draft pick in 2002. "That's not going to happen. I'm here to show them what I can do, work hard, and see what happens."

 

All smiles on Sunday, the first day position players reported to camp, Hermida is a rising talent. A right fielder who bats left-handed, he is on the fast track.

 

If he performs as the organization hopes, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Hermida could be the Marlins' right fielder in 2006.

 

Obviously, you can't jump that far ahead. But Jeff Conine and Juan Encarnacion are in the final years of their contracts, and Hermida is the hottest prospect the Marlins have had since Miguel Cabrera was called up in 2003.

 

The Marlins are not hesitant to provide opportunities for players who show promise at Double-A. They did so with Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis in 2003.

 

For now, Hermida isn't getting caught up in what might be. Instead, he is focusing on adapting to Spring Training.

 

Sunday was the first day position players reported. Hermida showed up and took some batting practice in the cages.

 

Admittedly, his mind occasionally fast-forwards to when his arrival date in the big leagues will come. A realist, he knows he must earn his way up.

 

"A little bit," he said when asked if he thinks about the leap from Double-A. "I try not to let that cross my mind. That's out of my control. I just go out there and do what I can do every day. If they feel I'm ready to go, I'll be ready to go. If not, I'll keep doing what I can do every day."

 

After a solid season at Class A Jupiter, where he batted .297 with 10 home runs and 50 RBIs, Hermida turned heads in the Arizona Fall League.

 

Playing for the Phoenix Desert Dogs, the left-handed hitting outfielder batted .265 with seven home runs, 23 RBIs and 19 extra-base hits.

 

Accustomed to Class A pitching in 2004, Hermida faced pitchers who were in Double-A, Triple-A, as well as some with big league experience.

 

"That was the best pitching I've seen so far in my career," he said. "It taught me a lot about what pitchers try to do to you, and how they are going to try to pitch to me, whether they are going to pitch to their strengths or my weaknesses. Things like that. Seeing how they were going to work the count. It was good. It gave me a little jump on this, and a little head start on the season."

 

Cigars from Pavano: Cigar aficionado Jack McKeon got a gift the other day from former Marlins hurler Carl Pavano.

 

Pavano, now with the Yankees, sent his former manager a packet of 25 cigars, and a note of thanks.

 

"That was nice of him," McKeon said. "I like Carl. He's a good guy. I hated to see him go, but that's baseball."

 

Pavano set a Marlins season record with 18 wins last year before he tested the free agent market and signed with the Yankees.

 

Through the years, McKeon has received lots of cigars from his former players. Ivan Rodriguez last gave McKeon a box when the Marlins visited the Tigers a year ago.

 

"They are good guys," McKeon says of his ex-players. "Not because they send me cigars. But they are better guys because they send me cigars."

 

Beckett praises Pavano: Even though Pavano is gone, his influence remains in the Marlins' clubhouse. Josh Beckett gives high praises to Pavano's performances in 2004, and said it was a good example on how pitchers should prepare and approach a season.

 

"Watching Carl do what he did last year, that's the first time I've ever been able to watch a guy do what he did," Beckett said. "Watching an 18-game winner. That's the first time I ever watched that. I watched how he pitched off his fastball. He just made the jump [to being an All-Star].

 

"He had the same problems that I had, injuries. Some of his were a little more severe than mine. But that was the only thing holding him back. He needed one year where he could just go out there and prove to himself -- and prove to everyone else -- that he could throw 200 innings. He did that in 2003, and then he came back in 2004 and also won 18. He was great. ... If he was on a team that scored some runs, he wins 22 games last year. He would have been a 22-game winner."

 

First impressions: McKeon reflected on his first meeting with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. It was a few days before McKeon replaced Jeff Torborg as manager in May of 2003.

 

Meeting over lunch at a Miami deli, McKeon was his typical blunt self while eating a sandwich with Loria and general manager Admin Beinfest.

 

McKeon has a tendency to forget or butcher names. It was no different with the man who eventually hired him.

 

"I said, 'Thank you, Jerry,'" McKeon recalled. "Jeffrey said, "He wasn't trying to make an impression on me. He doesn't know my name.'"

 

McKeon called that day a "brain session, picking out ideas."

 

"I must have said something right," McKeon said. "I tell it like it is. If you like it, OK. If you don't, too bad."

 

http://florida.marlins.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/...5news&fext=.jsp

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lol! its a good read. i really liked this part.."Watching Carl do what he did last year, that's the first time I've ever been able to watch a guy do what he did," Beckett said. "Watching an 18-game winner. That's the first time I ever watched that. I watched how he pitched off his fastball. He just made the jump [to being an All-Star]. im looking forward to see wat beckett is made of in the 05 season

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Great side story to follow this season his Hermida's performance in AA Carolina. We could end up seeing the kid again in September.

 

Projected 2006 lineup:

 

Pierre

Castillo

Cabrera

Delgado

Lowell

LoDuca

Hermida

Gonzo.

 

Man am I looking forward to that.

691121[/snapback]

 

Could be W. Delgado hitting in the 8th spot. Hermida could hit ahead of LoDuca.

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Great side story to follow this season his Hermida's performance in AA Carolina. We could end up seeing the kid again in September.

 

Projected 2006 lineup:

 

Pierre

Castillo

Cabrera

Delgado

Lowell

LoDuca

Hermida

Gonzo.

 

Man am I looking forward to that.

691121[/snapback]

 

Could be W. Delgado hitting in the 8th spot. Hermida could hit ahead of LoDuca.

691176[/snapback]

 

I think Josh Wilson would win the job over Delgado.

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