VIERA, Fla. -- From March 12-16, Marlins Park will host World Baseball Classic second-round games.
The club was once hopeful that the Classic would be the first of many major baseball events in the new building. The franchise had its eye on another major prize -- the 2015 All-Star Game.
The Marlins were in the mix for the '15 Midsummer Classic, but last month, Major League Baseball announced it was going to Cincinnati. Throughout construction of Marlins Park, a posh retractable-roof building in the Little Havana section of Miami, the Marlins were optimistic 2015 was realistic.
"I was really hopeful that '15 would happen," team president David Samson said. "I believe that it should have happened."
Could a reason the Marlins were bypassed be all the negativity that has surrounded the franchise since they made their blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays on Nov. 19? No, Samson said, and for reassurances, he discussed the issue with MLB Commissioner Bud Selig.
"I spoke to Bud about that," Samson said. "Cincinnati was just ahead of us in line. That's the bottom line.
"It had nothing to do with anything [negative]. The Cincinnati decision was made long before there were any payroll discussions."
Miami scaled back its payroll from roughly $100 million a year ago to around $40 million. The earliest the club could now host the All-Star Game is 2017, after an American League club gets the 2016 game. But '17 isn't a lock either, because the Nationals also are in the running.
One reason the Marlins made their wholesale moves was based on revenues. The team finished last in the National League East, and as the losses mounted, attendance dropped. So the team didn't meet its ticket-sale projections. Samson noted that MLB and the MLB Players Association have all the Marlins' statements regarding their revenues.
"So they knew exactly what was going on, and they knew what this offseason was going to bring, long before November," Samson said.
Samson is aware of the public backlash since the November trade, and he is hopeful that once the season starts, fans will embrace the youthful team.
"What upsets me the most is, we want our fans to forget about life for a while, and enjoy baseball," Samson said. "Be entertained and have fun. When we are not providing that, that means we're making a mistake."
First spring start yields all positives for Eovaldi
VIERA, Fla. -- The quality of the swings told the story of Nathan Eovaldi's first Grapefruit League outing.
The Marlins' right-hander was impressive in two scoreless innings on Wednesday, striking out three without allowing a hit in Miami's 5-1 victory over the Nationals.
"I don't know how hard he was throwing," manager Mike Redmond said. "They don't have a radar gun here. Usually you can tell by the reactions of the hitters. There were not a lot of comfortable swings in there. That's usually a good sign."
Eovaldi's fastball typically is in the mid-to-upper 90s. He certainly had plenty of movement on his pitches on Wednesday, although things didn't begin smoothly, as he walked Denard Span to open the first inning. From there, it was all Eovaldi. He struck out Bryce Harper with a slider, and fanned Jayson Werth on what turned into a strike out/throw out. With the count full, Span tried to steal second, but he was tossed out by Kyle Skipworth.
"I tried to be quick, to give him the best chance," Eovaldi said. "It was 3-2 [count]. I was assuming he was going to be running at some point. Make a good pitch, and he did the rest. Quick back there. Perfect throw."
Eovaldi had a perfect second inning, adding another strikeout. Of his 26 pitches, 15 were strikes.
"From what I've seen, he's got some good movement on that fastball," Redmond said. "He's got a plus fastball."
Eovaldi projects to be either Miami's second or third starter.
"I was a little anxious at the very beginning," he said. "I tried to stay within myself after that, and had a little better control.
"I think I threw two or three changeups. They felt really good. The fastball command, after those first few batters, I felt like it was there. The slider felt good. I didn't throw any curveballs. I felt good. I felt I got the work in."
Yelich's fluid play drawing praise from Redmond
VIERA, Fla. -- In his first big league camp, Christian Yelich is getting a taste of what it takes to reach the next level. The way the 21-year-old is swinging the bat, it is only a matter of time before he becomes a big league regular.
Yelich was given his biggest chance yet on Wednesday, as he started in left field and batted leadoff against the Nationals. He showed his speed and power on the second pitch of the game, depositing a triple to deep center off starter Dan Haren.
"For such a young guy, coming up to Major League camp, he seems really comfortable," manager Mike Redmond said.
With so many young players in camp, Yelich is performing in a loose atmosphere.
"The one thing about this environment, there are so many other young guys, they feel comfortable," Redmond said. "I think that is important for those guys to be able to go out there and play and show what they can do. He's impressive."
Yelich is one of the top young talents in the Minor Leagues. On MLB.com's Top 100 Prospect List, Yelich ranks 13th.
The Marlins are looking to start him off in Double-A Jacksonville, and he could reach the big leagues sometime after the All-Star break.
"I have no hesitation to throw him out there in a game right out of the chute," Redmond said. "I think we want to see those young players as much as we can throughout the course of Spring Training, because they are up-and-coming guys."
A year ago, when Redmond was managing Toronto's Class A Dunedin squad, his team faced Yelich, who was with the Jupiter Hammerheads.
"I saw him last year. I liked him a lot," Redmond said. "He has a chance to be a special player."
Rule 5 pick Silverio making solid case with bat
VIERA, Fla. -- Alfredo Silverio is not yet ready to play in the outfield, but the 25-year-old is getting ample chances to hit in Grapefruit League games.
A Rule 5 Draft pick in December, Silverio was the Marlins' designated hitter on Wednesday against the Nationals. Earlier in camp, he belted a home run off Cardinals left-hander Randy Choate.
Silverio, formerly in the Dodgers' system, missed all of last year due to injuries he sustained in a serious auto accident in the Dominican Republic. The crash led to him undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The outfielder has been on a throwing program, but he hasn't been cleared to play the field. That may occur closer to Opening Day.
Before the crash, Silverio was highly regarded. The Marlins must make a decision to see if he is a potential fit in the organization.
"That's why we're going to have to him in as many of these games as we can, to see what he can do," manager Mike Redmond said. "We'll see and be able to say, 'Hey, with a few more at-bats, this is what we are able to project him out to do.' Definitely, we're going to have to make a decision at some point. All we can do is get him in there as much as possible."
Spring Training numbers can be misleading, but Redmond is impressed with Silverio's power.
"Obviously, we feel like this is a guy who has the ability to help us out," Redmond said. "You play him to see what everybody is talking about is true. To see him have good at-bats, and hit for power. We need that. He fits what we need in the middle of that order."
At some point, the evaluation will have to include how Silverio plays the outfield.
"We have to wait to see what he can do," Redmond said. "The DH doesn't do us a whole lot of good in the National League right now. We've got to wait and get him out in the field."
• The Marlins' B game will be played at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, on a backfield on the Cardinals' side of the Roger Dean Stadium complex. Top pitching prospect Jose Fernandez is scheduled to pitch two innings. Also scheduled to pitch are Adam Conley, Doug Mathis, Michael Brady, Brian Flynn, Brad Hand and Edgar Olmos. Position players in the game include Jake Marisnick, Marcell Ozuna and Danny Black.
• A face from the past will be in Marlins' camp on Thursday. Mike Lowell, one of the most popular players in franchise history, will be a guest instructor. Redmond reached out to Lowell and Luis Castillo to spend some time with the organization. Redmond feels it is important for the club to connect past players to the present. A couple of days ago, Lowell took on a similar role in Red Sox camp.