Jake Marisnick, Christian Yelich each hit in home debuts
Marlins rookie outfielders Jake Marisnick and Christian Yelich each picked up hits in their home debuts.
By CHARLIE McCARTHYFS Florida
MIAMI -- Moments after a player gets his first major-league hit, the baseball traditionally gets tossed to the dugout to become a keepsake.
Very often, one of the player's teammates then will hurl another ball into the stands as a joke, trying to put a scare into the rookie.
Not so Friday night, when Miami's
Jake Marisnick singled hard in the sixth inning to snap a career-opening 0-for-14 skid.
"No," Marisnick said when asked if a
Marlins player attempted the gag. "They noticed I went through enough. It took a little longer than expected."
Perhaps in time, but not in timeliness. Marisnick's first career hit helped the Marlins score their first run in a 2-0 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"I think he's going to be able to sleep tonight, and me too,'" Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "I told him, 'I haven't slept in three days trying to figure out how to get you a hit.' "
Christian Yelich, who got called up with Marisnick before Tuesday night's game in Colorado, got this first hit in his first big-league at-bat. He said he was just as happy for his buddy as he had been three nights earlier.
"It was awesome. I know how that feels to get that first one out of the way," said Yelich, who like Marisnick went 1 for 4 in the victory. "Now he's got that monkey off his back he can go out there playing and play relaxed."
Center fielder Marisnick not only played his first game at Marlins Park on Friday, it was his first time in the stadium.
"I felt a lot more comfortable out there tonight," said Marisnick, whose first three games were at Coors Field. "It felt good. I was seeing the ball a little bit better. Just have to build on it every day. Me and Christian are just working everyday, working harder and pushing each other to get were we want to be.
"It's awesome, just standing out there and looking around and getting a chance to actually be on the field."
Giancarlo Stanton produced the add-on run off Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke with a high, arching homer to left leading off the seventh.
After the game, right fielder Stanton was asked about Miami's outfield of the future ... and present.
"It's a learning process," Stanton said. "I learn how they're playing, they learn how I play. They're good, they ask questions. They try to learn and try to make sure they don't stand out already.
"That was my process coming up. They have the same mentality there, come in and help the team right off the bat. Not get accustomed to this game up here, blah, blah. Just get in, you deserve to be here, so just fit in."
Stanton is the group's veteran at 23 and in his fourth season (two as Mike, two as Giancarlo). Marisnick is 22; Yelich, 21.
Marlins fans hope the hype surrounding Yelich and Marisnick is for real and that they'll be joining Stanton in the Miami outfield for a long time.
"Everybody out there can play very good defense. Everybody has a very good arm, and everybody out there can hit," said A.J. Ramos, who relieved starter and winning pitcher Henderson Alvarez and struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh.
"So it's definitely comforting to know there are guys out there who can make the plays then go up to the plate and also change the game with a swing of the bat."
Walk into the Marlins oval clubhouse now and one notices Yelich's locker immediately on the right, next to an empty locker followed by Relievers Row -- Steve Cishek, Ryan Webb and Mike Dunn.
Marisnick is back on the far left, in the middle of two empty lockers. Facing his cubicle, Placido Polanco is the first player to his right and injured rookie Marcell Ozuna the first to his left.
Ozuna, 22, was optioned to Jacksonville with second baseman Derek Dietrich on Monday night but instead traveled to Miami with a thumb injury. He showed up at the park following Friday surgery, and Redmond said the young outfielder would be around the team the rest of the season.
The Marlins right now are as much about attitude and laying a foundation as they are about their record.
"We knew we would get better and we knew we had all these young kids. But those guys have to come to the big leagues and produce to create the excitement," Redmond said. "I think our pitching staff, now that guys are healthy, that's a pretty good stable of arms down there. And now you get a lot of comments from other players and managers about the pitching staff we have, how good the arms are and everybody realizes, ‘Hey, these guys aren't that far away.'
"I know everyone in spring training, until you really get to see it, said, ‘Oh man, no chance.' ... all that stuff, whatever, but we're really not that far away."
Three outfield studs certainly help.
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