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Looks like Sanchez will get the opening day start...





Mudcats have talent on this year's squad


By Hugh W. Kellenberger

The Rocky Mount Telegram


Wednesday, April 05, 2006


ZEBULON ? "I told them to call me when they're ready, because I am ready," Taylor Tankersly said Tuesday at the Carolina Mudcats' annual Media Day.


Tankersly ? a former first-round pick, and his bravado withstanding ? the message is evident in the demeanor and words of the young Mudcats, the double-A affiliate of the Florida Marlins. Play well, and you have a chance to move up quick.


New manager Luis Dorante told each of the 25 players that in individual meetings Monday.


"I saw it last year and they did, too," Dorante, the Marlins' bullpen coach in 2005, said. "It's not secret that last year is going to happen again. How our big-league club is shaping up with a lot of rookies, they are going to keep their eyes on us and how they go about their business, how they perform."


Eleven rookies started the season with the Marlins, six of whom played for the Mudcats at some point last season. From player to player, not a one has a doubt that the major leagues are not within their grasp.


"Everyone on this team has a chance. If you do your job and do good, you can stay up there," outfield Angel Molina said. "I have a chance this year, I just need to put up my numbers. The sooner I do that, the Marlins call me up."


Molina came up in the last month of 2005 and hit .333 in 11 games.


The players are also confident that, unlike other organizations in pitcher Kevin Caves' eyes, performance matters.


"You ask a lot of guys who have been in a lot of other organizations, they would love it. Performance matters here," Caves said. "There's a lot of other organizations where the guys that make the money get the chance. In this organization, you perform you get the chance to move so it's a good organization to be in."


The focus will still be on winning with the Mudcats, but Dorante knows that development is still key.


"That's part of our job, to prepare these guys for the next level," Dorante said.


Dorante and his staff, including pitching coach Rich Gale and hitting coach Paul Sanagorski, are emphasizing small ball.


"That's the kind of game they are going to see in the big leagues. (Florida manager) Joe (Giradi) emphasized that in spring training, paying attention to details. That's one part of the game they're going to have to learn to move up there with Joe," Dorante said.


The Mudcats are well-equipped for that kind of game, featuring Tankersly and three other pitchers on the organization's 40-man roster.


Anibal Sanchez, a hard thrower with a solid breaking ball and change-up, who came over from Boston in the trade for Josh Beckett, will start opening day. Adam Bostick and Tankersly will come out of the bullpen and Scott Tyler will be part of the rotation.


"I like the mindset of coming in to the ballpark thinking I can play everyday. As a starter, you play every fifth day and you come to the ballpark the other four days knowing you are not going to play," Tankersly, a starter in his first two pro seasons, said.


With a brand-new coaching staff and a large contingent of last year's second-place team moving on, the focus is on youth with the Mudcats. Eleven players suited up for Carolina at some point last season, but the majority were late-season call-ups from single-A Jupiter. Nine players who spent all of last season in Jupiter will start 2006 with Carolina. It's created a pleasant clubhouse atmosphere.


"We had an old team last year, with a lot of veteran guys and prospects," Ross Wolf, a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher, said. "There's no cliques (this year), we united as one and I haven't seen that in a long time."


Another benefit of the Juniper group coming up together has been the familiarity on the field every day for those players. Catcher Patrick Arlis said he has had little trouble so far adjusting to double-A ball, mainly because it's the same group of guys with him from day to day.


"All of these guys get along, we've played together before," Arlis said. "Coming out everyday and playing was fun (in spring training)."

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Guest Juanky

This team is pretty much a microcosm of the Marlins organization: Tons of pitching, no decent position players.

I hope you're talking about the organization as a whole and not the major league roster.

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