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Four Marlins Out of Options

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Guest Juanky

4 Marlins running out of options


By Juan C. Rodriguez

Staff Writer

Posted March 1 2004


JUPITER -- The Marlins are in a use them or potentially lose them situation with a few guys this spring.


Four players on the team's 40-man roster are out of options, meaning they would have to clear waivers for the Marlins to keep them in the organization if they don't make the club.


Catcher Ramon Castro has been out of options the past two years. Knowing he would not make it through the waiver wire unclaimed, the Marlins have been unable to send him to Triple-A for more steady playing time. Instead, they relegated him to third catcher duties the past two seasons.


Also out of options are right-hander Blaine Neal, outfielder Abraham Nunez and utility man Brian Banks. Unlike Castro, chances are all three could clear waivers, but the Marlins would still risk losing them if they do not make the club.


That Banks and Nunez are out of options and already on the 40-man roster could factor into the Marlins' thinking as they put together their 25-man roster. Non-roster players like Gerald Williams, Ryan Christenson and Armando Rios are at a greater disadvantage.


The Marlins do have one opening on the 40-man roster, which is made up of 20 pitchers, 10 infielders, three catchers and six outfielders.




The Marlins will play an intrasquad game at 11:15 a.m. today at Roger Dean Stadium, which will be open to the public.


Marlins third base coach Jeff Cox and Triple-A Albuquerque manager Tracy Woodson will manage the teams. The lineups will feature two designated hitters apiece.


The batting order for Team Cox: Wilson Valdez (SS), Damion Easley (2B), Banks (DH), Josh Willingham ?, Nunez (CF), Admin Sutton (1B), Jason Wood (3B), Christenson (LF), Chip Ambres (RF) and Derek Wathan (DH). The pitchers are Nate Bump, Scott Sanders, Matt Perisho, Kevin Cave and Franklyn Gracesqui.


Woodson's group features Kevin Hooper (2B), Mike Mordecai (SS), Felipe Crespo (1B), Rios (RF), Lenny Harris (DH), Chris Aguila (LF), Williams (CF), Matt Treanor ?, Eric Reed (DH) and Josh Wilson (3B). Michael Tejera, Aaron Small, Marty McCleary, Mike Neu and David Manning are slated to pitch.




Right-hander Justin Wayne will start Wednesday's exhibition opener against the University of Miami. Also scheduled to pitch: Neu, Manning, Toby Borland, Delvin James and Neal.


World Series MVP Josh Beckett will start the Marlins' Grapefruit League opener Thursday against the Orioles at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. He will throw three innings or about 55 pitches.


"It'll be nice to get back out there against guys that aren't ours," Beckett said before taking a sarcastic but playful jab at his teammates. "These guys are really dialed in, these guys of ours."




After the latest round of pre-arbitration player signings, the Marlins' 2004 payroll stands at $50.495 million for 24 players on the 40-man roster with big-league service time. The figure includes deferred money still owed Pudge Rodriguez and Mike Hampton.


Among the recent signings: Hee Seop Choi ($310,000), Tommy Phelps ($307,000), Bump ($305,000), Tim Spooneybarger ($305,000), Neal ($302,000), Wayne ($301,000) and Nunez ($300,000).


Beckett, Neu, Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera remain unsigned. The Marlins can unilaterally renew their contracts as early as Tuesday.?



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