Marlins 8, Red Sox 7

Christian Yelich is making the Miami Marlins think about his

role this year.

The Marlins’ top position prospect spoiled Jon Lester’s five

sharp innings, hitting a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth

that lifted Miami to an 8-7 victory over the Boston Red Sox on


Yelich is hitting .375 this spring with three homers and 11 RBIs

in 14 games.

”Hopefully I’m leaving a good impression, obviously,” Yelich

said. ”I have no idea what’s going to happen. It’s completely out

of my control.”

Yelich and Miami’s top overall prospect, right-hander Jose

Fernandez, both came to spring training projected to start the

season at Double-A.

Marlins hitting coach Tino Martinez recently said about Yelich,

”He’s ready.”

Rookie manager Mike Redmond defers to his bosses when asked if

Yelich could be on the opening-day roster.

”They might come down and tell me to quit playing him,”

Redmond said with a laugh. ”It’s fun to get him in there. You feel

like any situation he comes up he’s got a chance to do something,

and he hits a home run to dead center to win it.”

Even if Yelich is ready to break camp with the big league club,

the Marlins may hold him back until late April to gain an extra

year before he’s eligible for free agency. If he was held back

until about June, Miami would likely get an extra year before

Yelich is eligible for arbitration.

The 21-year-old Yelich was Miami’s first-round pick in 2010. The

6-foot-4, 189-pound left-handed hitter grew up in Thousand Oaks,

Calif. A corner infielder in high school, he moved to the outfield

in the minors and has been tabbed the Marlins’ center fielder of

the future.

Teammates already are giving him nicknames. Infielder Nick Green

referred to Yelich as, ”The Natural” following his walkoff homer.

Outfielder Jordan Brown preferred, ”The Truth.”

Yelich’s mother arrived from California last weekend to watch

her son play. She has seen him homer in consecutive games – he went

deep against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday before his game-winner

against Boston.

”That was pretty cool – I don’t really know what to say. You

can’t draw it up any better,” Yelich said. ”This is the second

walkoff home run in my life. The first one was a playoff game at

(Class-A) Greensboro two years ago.”

What Yelich did on the game’s final pitch, Boston’s Jackie

Bradley Jr. did on the game’s first pitch: He homered off Kevin

Slowey’s first offering, and he reached base four times.

Bradley Jr. went 3 for 4 to raise his average to .519 (14 for

27). He added an RBI double in the fourth.

”As we get further into camp and pitchers are getting their

timing down, he’s still taking great swings and making good

contact,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

Lester allowed a first-inning run and three hits. He struck out

four and retired the last 11 batters he faced.

”I feel pretty good, but I don’t want to have everything

clicking right now. I kind if want to build it up to that first

start,” Lester said. ”I feel good, and that’s the main


Slowey gave up three runs and two hits in three innings as he

fights to become Miami’s fifth starter. He walked two and struck

out five in his first spring start after previously throwing 6 1-3

scoreless relief innings.

Kevin Kouzmanoff’s three-run double highlighted Miami’s five-run


NOTES: Miami OF Jake Marisnick is expected to be sidelined four

weeks with a broken left hand. Marisnick was injured when hit by a

pitch from Trevor Rosenthal in Wednesday’s game against St. Louis.

The break was discovered Monday after initial X-rays failed to show

the injury. … Boston reliever Rubby De La Rosa gave up five runs,

four walks and two hits in 2-3 of an inning. He threw 36 pitches

and walked in two runs. … The Marlins optioned RHP Evan Reed, RHP

Alex Sanabia, LHP Brad Hand, OF Kyle Jenson to Triple-A New Orleans

(Pacific Coast League); RHP Sam Dyson, LHP Edgar Olmos, OF Marcell

Ozuna to Double-A Jacksonville (Southern League); re-assigned RHP

Jordan Smith & C Wilfredo Gimenez to minor league camp.