The Miami Marlins hit three home runs including a grand slam on Tuesday to beat the New York Mets 7-5 and move to 2-1-1 on the Spring. The slam came courtesy of Casey Kotchman who is trying to land a role at first base to begin the year. Giancarlo Stanton and and Matt Downs hit their first long-balls of the Spring. Downs is also involved in the first base competition which is expected to remain heated over the next few weeks. Regular first baseman Logan Morrison is not expected to be ready for Opening Day which will give one of these men a chance at ample playing time to begin 2013.
Kotchman had missed the first three games of the Spring due to a cut on his hand but returned in a big way on Tuesday with the slam. A veteran presence with a relatively good track record gives Kotchman the inside edge at winning a roster spot. Stanton and Downs’ blasts were both solo shots while Placido Polanco had the other run batted in for Miami on Tuesday. As part of the outfield roster spot battle, Kevin Mattison was 0-3 in his first start of the Spring.
Ricky Nolasco’s first start of the Spring went well with two scoreless innings and a strikeout. The majority of the Marlins’ pitchers had good days with the exception of Chris Hatcher who allowed three runs in his one inning of work. The converted catcher who spent time in the bullpen during 2012 is expected to open the year in AAA but remains a possibility for an Opening Day bullpen role. Dan Jennings allowed two runs in his inning on the mound but both were unearned after a Nick Green error at second base.
The Marlins will head back to Viera on Wednesday to take on the Washington Nationals with Nathan Eovaldi scheduled to start. The two teams tied the other day after ten innings of well pitched ball.