Marlins roster reflects healthy, steady spring

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The most notable changes are due to injuries. Third baseman Martin Prado (right hamstring strain) and left-hander Jeff Locke (biceps tendinitis) are starting off the season on the disabled list.

Other than those two, plenty of familiar faces will be wearing road-gray uniforms in Monday’s opener at 1:05 p.m. ET against Washington at Nationals Park.

The Marlins have until 5 p.m. ET on Sunday to officially set their roster. All those who have made it have been informed, although there still is an unofficial announcement on one spot, which is expected to be Tyler Moore, a non-roster invitee who should provide bench depth at first base and left field.

Catchers (2): J.T. Realmuto, A.J. Ellis
Realmuto is emerging as one of the top catchers in the game, and the organization is looking to maximize his athleticism by giving him some time at first base. Ellis missed about a month of Grapefruit League action with a left hamstring strain. The 35-year-old did some catching up late, and is ready to spell Realmuto a couple of times a week.

Realmuto nabs Marisnick

First base (1): Justin Bour
The left-handed-hitting Bour projects to bat fifth. The organization is committed to giving him a shot against left-handed pitching, so the plan isn’t a platoon situation. Still, Realmuto and Moore are right-handed options.

Second base (1): Dee Gordon
Gordon is looking for a bounceback season after a rough 2016. The speedster dealt with some minor issues in Spring Training, missing a few days early with an eye infection, and later on after some dental work. Other than that, Gordon is ready to go.

Third base (1): Derek Dietrich
Prado’s injury caused the club to turn to its top internal option, Dietrich. Initially, the left-handed-hitting power threat was expected to be in a utility role, but now, at least against right-handed pitching, he should get a bulk of the playing time until Prado returns.

Shortstop (1): Adeiny Hechavarria
Quiet off the field, Hechavarria makes plenty of noise — at least defensively — at shortstop. Throughout spring, Hechavarria displayed his Gold Glove Award-caliber defense, and perhaps this season he will win the award. He’s been a finalist in two of the past three years.

Hechavarria's backhanded stop

Utility (2): Miguel Rojas, Moore
Rojas is the most versatile position player on the roster, and will fill in all over the infield, including as a defensive replacement at first base in the late innings, if necessary. Moore plays first and left, and will pinch-hit.

Outfield (4): Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton, Ichiro Suzuki
Yelich and Ozuna swapped spots from last year, with Yelich now in center, and Ozuna in left. If healthy, the Marlins’ outfield has a chance to be among the best in the Majors. Yelich opened eyes with his strong World Baseball Classic showing for Team USA. If Stanton can remain on the field, big numbers should follow, and Ozuna is a proven 20-homer player. Ichiro, at 43, hopes to play until he’s 50, and sure didn’t show any signs of slowing in Spring Training.

Ichiro wants to play until 50

Rotation (5): Edinson Volquez, Dan Straily, Tom Koehler, Wei-Yin Chen, Adam Conley
Manager Don Mattingly hinted early that Volquez would be the Opening Day choice. Monday will be his fifth time opening a season, with his fourth different club. Straily may have been the surprise of camp, walking one and striking out 17 in 17 2/3 innings to secure the second spot. Koehler, Chen and Conley were with the club in ’16 and round out the rotation.

Bullpen (8): A.J. Ramos, Brad Ziegler, David Phelps, Kyle Barraclough, Junichi Tazawa, Dustin McGowan, Jose Urena, Nick Wittgren
Ramos, an All-Star last year, will close. From there, will be plenty of mixing-and-matching. Ziegler, Barraclough, Phelps and Tazawa are setup options. Urena, who is out of options, will be used in long relief. McGowan and Wittgren are multi-innings choices.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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