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from joe capozzi / palm beach post:

Pitchers enjoying early edge


By Joe Capozzi, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Friday, February 27, 2004



JUPITER -- In the Marlins' first full-squad workout Thursday, the pitchers easily outperformed the hitters.


"They all look like they're throwing 100 mph,'' said first baseman Wil Cordero, who struggled to connect on Blaine Neal's fastballs, the first pitches he'd seen since September.


Left fielder Jeff Conine said right-hander Toby Borland looked like he was "throwing 106 (mph). You can see all the BP you want in the off-season, but when you see a live arm out there the timing is totally different.''


"We're by no means ready for opening day but I think that's why spring training is six weeks long,'' third baseman Mike Lowell said.


Infielder Damion Easley hadn't faced pitching since June. "I was like, 'OK, we're going to see how rusty I am.' My timing was little bit off, but I was pleased. I was just a click late. Still, it's not fun.''


Pitchers had the advantage because they have been working out since Tuesday. The hitters, however, know they'll get their timing back well before Wednesday, when Florida plays its first exhibition game against the University of Miami.


"It's good to get it out of the way,'' Cordero said. "Tomorrow should be easy.''


Learning Korean: While his players worked out, manager Jack McKeon gathered with the Korean media for an impromptu language session. About a dozen reporters helped McKeon learn to say such words as "good job" so he can communicate with first baseman Hee Seop Choi.


"Give me a piece of paper. Write that one down,'' McKeon said when he had trouble understanding the pronunciation of certain words.


Said McKeon, "I got 10 to 15 words down already.''


Asked how well McKeon was speaking Korean, Choi shook his head and said, "Much better today than yesterday.''


Marlins in Italy? The Marlins will play two spring games in Mexico next month, possibly paving the way for games next spring in Europe. The league has had internal discussions about exhibition games in Rome in 2005, but no teams have been mentioned.


"Jeffrey is very much interested in Major League Baseball's mission internationally,'' team President David Samson said. "We're interested... to represent the league anywhere internationally.''


Photographer injured: A Korean newspaper photographer was injured Thursday when he was hit in the head with a foul ball. Ju-Sang Lee, 39, of Sports Seoul was treated at Jupiter Medical Center and released after undergoing a precautionary CT scan. He is expected to be back at work this weekend.


"I hope he's OK,'' said Cordero, whose foul ball hit Lee, who was crouched behind the third-base line.


Bartman ball: McKeon was asked for his reaction to the Steve Bartman baseball being destroyed Thursday night. "I'm worried about getting my guys in spring training. I don't care about the Bartman ball or Barbie dolls.''


Noteworthy: Shortstop Alex Gonzalez arrived Thursday, two days later than others, because his son was injured in an accident at home. Gonzalez said his son is fine.


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