MIAMI -- The answer will never be known, but Juan Pierre certainly has a strong opinion.
Pierre firmly believes if Ichiro Suzuki's career path was different he could have flirted with reaching 4,000 MLB hits.
Instead, Suzuki started playing in his native Japan, and his combined total is being discussed.
For the Yankees on Wednesday night, Suzuki collected his 4,000th professional hit, counting his days in Japan and the big leagues.
If Suzuki played his entire career in the Majors, could he have challenged Pete Rose's record of 4,256?
"He would be right on Pete Rose," Pierre said. "I don't know if he would actually get him. But no doubt, he could get 4,000. My hat is off to him. That is an incredible feat. I never played over there in Japan. It's not easy to get hits anywhere."
Since his rookie season with the Mariners in 2001, Suzuki has 2,722 hits, tops of any player in that span.
Pierre also is up there in total hits for his generation. He has 2,209 in his career, which includes two stints with the Marlins.
Since 2001, Pierre has the fifth-most hits 2,147. Second on the list is Albert Pujols (2,347), followed by Michael Young (2,344) and Derek Jeter (2,300).
Earlier in his career, Pierre paid close attention to what Suzuki was doing because both were leadoff hitters who slapped out singles and didn't walk much.
"Ichiro was getting not just 200 hits, but 220, 230, 260," Pierre said. "I think he can get to 3,000 hits here, if he plays a couple of more years. He could get 150 hits a year, on a bad year."
Dynamic stars Puig, Stanton featured in series
MIAMI -- Wherever Yasiel Puig goes, fanfare follows.
This week, it traveled to South Florida, where Puig and the red-hot Dodgers created must-see drama at Marlins Park. While Puig has drummed up so much national attention, the Marlins have a game-changing slugger of their own who is starting to heat up.
Giancarlo Stanton has sent a reminder this week not to forget about him. The 23-year-old slugger is riding an eight-game hitting streak, and he's hit a home run in three of his last five games, including two in the series with Los Angeles.
Like Puig, Stanton can create awe with one swing.
"Stanton has that game-changing ability with his power," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "He's so young. He still has room to grow, when you're projecting the guy out. That's what makes you smile. How good is this guy really going to be down the road, when he puts it together?"
If both stay healthy, Stanton and Puig have the skill sets to be dominating players for years to come.
"Definitely game-changers," Redmond said.
A 13-year veteran catcher, Redmond says Puig reminds him of a power hitter from his playing days -- Vladimir Guerrero.
"I think about back when I played," Redmond said. "We had the Vladamir Guerrero-type guys, real free swingers who can do a lot of damage.
"A guy like Puig, he's so athletic. He can run. He plays hard. He runs balls out. He's got power. He plays good defense, has an arm. He's the total package. There are not a lot of those dynamic players. Those guys who come to the big leagues and create so much excitement."
Eovaldi flashing signs of progress, potential
MIAMI -- Don't let the numbers fool you when assessing the progress being made by Nathan Eovaldi.
Despite a 2-4 record and 3.82 ERA, the Marlins feel the 23-year-old has the makings of a future star.
Eovaldi has gone seven starts without a win since he beat the Nationals on July 12. And on Wednesday night, he was on the wrong end of a 4-1 loss to the Dodgers.
Still, the drought is more of a reflection of lack of support offensively.
In terms of pure stuff and the ceiling to improve, Eovaldi promises to have a bright future.
In seven innings against the Dodgers, Eovaldi allowed three runs, with two earned. He was victimized by three errors, one of which he committed on a pickoff attempt that cost a run. But his fastball was lively, reaching 100 mph twice against Adrian Gonzalez in the fifth inning. He ended up getting the All-Star first baseman looking at a 100 mph heater.
Miami acquired Eovaldi last July from the Dodgers for Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez had an RBI double off Eovaldi and he also struck out and grounded out in three at-bats.
"Eovaldi, this guy is going to be a monster," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "This kid has so much upside. He's just a work in progress. He's going to be a dominating pitcher in this league for many years to come. He still has a lot of room to grow. There are areas of his game, and his pitching that can totally improve -- like his off-speed pitches, and commanding those pitches, and continuing to be able to command his fastball. This guy, his upside is off the charts for him."
Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt worked with Eovaldi in Los Angeles, and he remains a fan of the hard-throwing right-hander.
"I still feel like he's one of ours to a point," Honeycutt said. "I'm happy for him to get a chance to pitch every fifth day. You see the development. You see him progress. He has a great arm. He's a great young man with a great work ethic. When he starts to get a curveball or change over, it's a lot like [Clayton Kershaw] when he came up. Everything was hard. He needs to slow the speed of a pitch. The other thing is to see him battle. We beat him, but I'm happy to see him healthy and progressing. He has a chance to be special. Their whole staff is impressive."
• Chad Qualls, dealing with a tight back, was not available on Wednesday night. But the right-hander says he is feeling better and could be available, unless the Marlins opt to give him another day to rest.
• Placido Polanco, on the seven-day concussion disabled list, came to Marlins Park on Thursday to ride the stationary bike and be further evaluated. The veteran, plunked on the helmet by a pitch last Friday against San Francisco, has been at home the past few days.