Marlins catcher breaks collarbone

The Miami Marlins will need an enormous amount of luck if they want to compete in the National League East after shedding their highest-paid players in an offseason salary purge.

In that respect, Saturday was a lousy start: In the Marlins’ first Grapefruit League game, an 8-3 win over St. Louis, catcher Jeff Mathis sustained a broken right collarbone when he was hit by a foul tip off the bat of Matt Holliday. He’s expected to miss six weeks.

“Not the break we needed, that’s for sure,” manager Mike Redmond lamented. “First day. It’s a fluke deal, man. Foul tip just hit him perfect.

“Obviously, a big blow for us. We don’t have a ton of depth behind the plate. (We’re) concerned about that, for sure. We’ll see what happens.”

With Mathis likely to miss the start of the regular season, the Marlins’ internal options at backup catcher appear to be Jake Jefferies and Kyle Skipworth, neither of whom has played in the major leagues. Miami’s starting catcher, Rob Brantly, has played just 31 games in the big leagues. “We’re pretty young back there,” Redmond said.

Redmond, 41, was a big-league catcher for 13 seasons. He last played in the majors in 2010 with the Cleveland Indians. He was asked — not entirely in jest — if he might be able to serve as a player-manager briefly. The idea would have some merit if Mathis is projected to return a week or two into the season, because the backup catcher might only need to play one or two games by that point.

“I don’t know about that,” Redmond said. “I don’t think so. I like the way my body feels right now, the way it is.”

Mathis’ injury was the latest freakish event in what has been an energetic but bizarre spring camp. First baseman Casey Kotchman cut his left ring finger when he ran into a popup machine several days ago; the injury required stitches, and Kotchman hasn’t been cleared for game action. The Marlins’ best player, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, was hit in the head by a pitch from top prospect Jose Fernandez during an intrasquad game. Stanton played Saturday and went 1-for-3 with two RBI.