NL East Notes: Dismantling of Marlins was needed

NL East Notes: Dismantling of Marlins was needed
February 26, 2013, 9:00 am
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Chase Utley batted second in the Phillies' third spring training game on Monday, just where he belongs in this particular lineup (see story).

Cliff Lee only won six games last season but he is primed for more wins in 2013 (see story).

Here is the notable news from around the National League East:

Dismantling of Marlins was needed
MIAMI -- The Miami Marlins' ballpark sat mostly empty Monday, which will likely be the case all year, and team owner Jeffrey Loria leaned his back against the bar in a hospitality area, sipping water in circumstances that warranted stronger stuff.

Happy hour, it was not. As part of a three-day public relations blitz, Loria met with a dozen writers and tried to put a positive spin on his widely mocked offseason decisions.

After the Marlins' dismal first season in their new home, Loria said, the roster dismantling he ordered was the right move because they were headed in the wrong direction. He said a return to payroll austerity was needed because the Marlins lost tens of millions of dollars in 2012 after an unprecedented spending spree.

The Marlins will eventually spend again, and they want to sign precocious slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a multiyear contract, Loria said. He said he understands why fans are upset but hopes they will embrace this year's young, unproven team, which many expect to lose 100 games.

"We had to turn back the clock for the moment and push the restart button," Loria said, "and get these young players in here and get them together and look where we are in another year or so." (See full story.)

-- The Associated Press

Braves name Kris Medlen ace
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- When Kris Medlen reported to spring training last year, the Atlanta Braves looked at him as a handy guy to have around, someone who could fill in wherever they needed.

No one expected him to become an ace.

Medlen still seems a bit uncomfortable with the title, figuring a more experienced teammate such as Tim Hudson is better suited for the role. But the Braves appear to be setting things up for the 27-year-old Medlen to be their opening-day starter -- an honor he certainly earned with the way he pitched in 2011.

After starting the season in the bullpen, the fidgety right-hander moved into the rotation and was nearly unbeatable. He went 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA, a major reason the Braves earned a wild-card spot in the playoffs.

--The Associated Press

Johan Santana "making strides" in throwing program
Mets pitcher Johan Santana was scheduled to make his spring debut on March 2, but it was pushed back because of a conditioning issue related to throwing.

Santana has yet to return to mound-work but has looked stronger in flat ground sessions according to manager Terry Collins.

"I told him already today: He looked better today than he did five days ago," said Collins, via ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. "I think the long-toss program is making strides."

In 21 starts last season, Santana went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA.

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