Former Suns teammates Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna bond during Spring Training workouts. Photo Courtesy: Miami Marlins.
By Roger Hoover / Jacksonville Suns
Grapefruit League games have begun for the Miami Marlins, with the club falling yesterday to the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.
The game did feature the first home run of Spring Training for former Sun Marcell Ozuna, who reported to camp in great shape and looks to have a breakout 2016 in the majors.
Former Sun Tom Koehler took the loss yesterday, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in his inning and two-thirds of work. Former Suns Tyler Higgins, Brad Hand, and Kyle Barraclough didn’t allow any runs during their time on the mound.
The Marlins will be back in action twice today, playing their first split-squad games of spring. Half of the squad will stay in Jupiter to face the Washington Nationals at 1:05 p.m., while the other half will travel north to Port St. Lucie to play the New York Mets at 1:10 p.m.
Former Suns will start both games for Miami, with 2013 Sun left-hander Adam Conley goes up against the Nationals while 2014 Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher Justin Nicolino squares off against the Mets. Both are competing for spots in the back end of the Marlins rotation.
Over the weekend, the Marlins will face the Cardinals on Saturday before going to Lakeland to play the Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
In Jacksonville, Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds has been converted back to baseball after some Jacksonville Armada preseason games. The field will remain a baseball diamond through the Suns first homestand against the Birmingham Barons, which begins on April 7.
Between now and then, there will be some high school baseball games played here, along with the annual highly anticipated matchup between Florida and Florida State on Tuesday March 29.
The Jacksonville Sports Complex has been busy this week, with the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena hosting the 2016 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament. The event will bring in between 7-10 million dollars for the city of Jacksonville this week, and it’s been great to see the different SEC fan bases make their way to the River City.
The Suns and the Jacksonville Sports Council hosted a “Home Runs and Hoops” social last night at the Palm Tree Pavilion at the Baseball Grounds. It was a great event for fans to see a cleaned up Baseball Grounds, and also had the chance to sample some of the Suns new concessions menu (that I promise you will love!).
— Jacksonville Suns (@SunsBaseball) March 3, 2016
Don’t forget that the ballpark staff job fair is set for Saturday (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and Tuesday March 8 (4 p.m. – 7 p.m.) at the Baseball Grounds, as the Suns continue to build their gameday staff for this upcoming season.
Fans can also register for the March 10 National Anthem auditions at the Baseball Grounds. Interested individuals and groups may schedule an audition time by completing a registration form – available at www.jaxsuns.com – and emailing it to Promotions Manager Devin Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or faxing to 904-358-2845.
Here are today’s #FishFriday links, we’ll update you on #MarlinsMonday about how the Marlins fared over the weekend!
Marlins.com: Capps to see Andrews about right elbow
Marlins.com: Ozuna enjoying early results as No. 2 hitter
Marlins.com: Koehler tests pitches, deflects stats in debut
MLB.com: Rogers: 5 reasons Marlins are top sleeper
Miami Herald: As Marlins await Carter Capps’ MRI, Kyle Barraclough a viable option
Miami Herald: Derek Dietrich should get plenty of playing time with Marlins
Fish Stripes: Marlins’ Mattingly presents early lineup choices
Yahoo! Big League Stew: MLB will allow players to use Snapchat during a spring game
Yahoo! Big League Stew: There’s a new twist in odd saga involving Brewers and Hank the Dog
ESPN: Clayton Kershaw acknowledges rotation’s challenges ahead
Fox Sports: Rosenthal: Zen and the Art of Miguel Cabrera
The New York Times: Alex Rodriguez Has Impressive Start, Soothing the Yankees and Himself, for Now