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Opening Day a hot ticket


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Notes: Opening Day a hot ticket

By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com


JUPITER, Fla. -- More than 40,000 and counting.


Opening Day, when fans will get to see the Marlins hoist the World Series banner against the Expos on April 6, is a hot ticket.


Already more than 40,000 seats have been sold for the opener at Pro Player Stadium. However, tickets for the opener are still available and the club expects the Opening Day crowd to exceed 60,000.


More than 65,000 attended a majority of the playoff games last year at Pro Player.


Even though the entire lower bowl is full, the Marlins are releasing 1,000 club level tickets to the general public.


A year ago, the Marlins drew 37,137 in their opener against the Phillies.


The Marlins are also anticipating about 60,000 when Philadelphia comes to town on Saturday, April 10. That night, the World Series rings will be presented to the players, and replica rings will be given away as part of a promotion.


Intrasquad game set: Practice drills are necessary and instrumental, but they can get tiresome.


Marlins manager Jack McKeon is eager to see the squad in game situations, so an intrasquad game has been set for Monday at 11:30 a.m. ET in the back field at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.


The Marlins have 31 pitchers in camp and getting them work is important for evaluation purposes. The team plans to go nine innings in the scrimmage, using mainly prospects in the camp.


There are 32 pitchers on the roster, but minor league right-hander Ronald Belisario has yet to report because of a visa holdup.


"We need to get these guys some work," McKeon said. "We'll get the pitchers the work.


"They are throwing pretty good, no question about that. What helps is most of them come here [to train in the offseason]. Now, it's fine-tune it. Don't see how hard you can throw it."


Mostly the reserves will be used in the scrimmage.


The Marlins are finalizing ?B? games on March 6 and March 8. Details are not finalized, but the Mets, who are in Port St. Lucie, are one of the teams involved.



Florie strains rib: Right-hander Bryce Florie strained a left rib while throwing live batting practice on Thursday, and he had X-rays taken on Friday.


"In my situation, I'm definitely behind. This doesn't help," said Florie, who signed a minor league deal and is battling for a reliever spot.


The X-ray was negative, revealing no fracture.


"I hope it's only a few days, and I will be fine," Florie said.


"He's the only one with a little setback," McKeon said.


Stricter clubhouse access: The Marlins are in agreement with Commissioner Bud Selig's directive on tightening security around the clubhouse.


Among those no longer allowed in the clubhouse and dugout are friends, associates, agents, attorneys and personal trainers.


"I'm all for security," McKeon said. "A lot of these people have no business being in there."


While a number of Marlins players have personal trainers, none of them are with the team in the dugouts or clubhouse. A year ago, catcher Ivan Rodriguez had a personal trainer who was with him nearly on a daily basis.


"Most of these guys get clearance from the front office and you think nothing about it," McKeon said.


Reliever Toby Borland said, "you don't want people in here you don't know."


At Spring Training last year, there were a couple of instances where players had stuff stolen from their lockers.


Florie is in favor of keeping the family members and friends out of the clubhouse, but he doesn't have a problem with personal trainers.


"They need to get rid of those guys," Florie says of the entourages that accompany some players. "This is our clubhouse."


Florie sees nothing wrong with the personal trainers because they are usually with the superstars. He notes that the stars are carrying the team, and if they feel they need a trainer around, he doesn't argue.


Media guide is out: The 2004 Marlins media guide is out.


On the cover of the 480-page book is World Series MVP Josh Beckett, shown leaping as he did after the final out of Game 6.


Also on the cover are the World Series trophy and pictures of Dontrelle Willis, Luis Castillo, Mike Lowell and Juan Pierre.


On the back are Jack McKeon, Miguel Cabrera, Jeff Conine and the 2004 schedule. A list of the 2003 milestones is also included.


Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


It is going to be very exciting! Can't wait :thumbup



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