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Willingham to Platoon

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Willingham to Platoon

Postby ActionHero » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:34 pm

This seems like good news to me because Willingham should get more ABs since he will also be playing in the OF.

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http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/arti ... p&c_id=mlb

Marlins to split catching duties
Powerful Willingham to platoon with defensive standout Olivo
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com

JUPITER, Fla. -- When Spring Training opened, one of the most hotly contested positions in Marlins camp was catcher.
The organization weighed whether to start power-hitting Josh Willingham or go with the more seasoned defensive standout, Miguel Olivo.

Now, with Opening Day set for Monday in Houston, the Marlins have resolved the position. Rather than go with one steady catcher, manager Joe Girardi will divide the job almost in half.

Olivo is slated to be behind the plate in the opener, catching Dontrelle Willis.

The 27-year-old Dominican Republic native has caught Willis' past two starts, and the two are developing a comfort level.

"He's an energy guy on the mound," Olivo said of working with the D-Train. "I'm real excited [about] catching him."

Like Willis, Olivo tends to play with high intensity.

"He will run through the wall for you," Girardi said. "If you could say one guy will run through that brick wall for you, it would be Miguel Olivo. I'm not saying the other guys won't. But you could actually tell Miguel, 'I want you to turn and run through that wall,' he'd go do it. The other guys would say, 'You kidding?' And then do it.

"[Olivo would] do it because he's trying to get better. He wants to get better. He works and works. He's a high-energy guy, which for me, is important for a catcher."

While Willingham has made great strides behind the plate, he is slated to start in left field in the opener. In an effort to keep him fresh, and get the most out of him offensively, the 27-year-old from Florence, Ala., will be used at multiple positions.

Willingham has enjoyed a strong spring, batting .452 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 31 at-bats.

Olivo's defense is not an issue, but offensively, he has been inconsistent. This spring, he is hitting .163 (8-for-49) with two homers and six RBIs, with 12 strikeouts.

"I know I can hit and play defense," Olivo said. "You have to let the game come to you."

Olivo attributes his struggles to being a bit too eager. Physically, he feels strong, and he says that has him literally looking to crush the ball.

"I have to relax and wait for the ball to come to me," Olivo said.

Girardi likes Olivo's energy, but notes he has to contain his eagerness.

"There is a fine line between being able to control your body and having all that energy," Girardi said. "He's learning how to do it. He wants to get a hit so bad that he will do anything it takes. If you told him to stand on his head, he would try it. Sometimes you try to make up for two weeks in one day. It doesn't work that way. You're anxious to get a hit. You're in a hurry to get a hit."

A career .229 hitter in just under three years of big-league service time, Olivo opened the year with the Mariners, batting just .151 in 54 games. Traded to the Padres on July 30, Olivo's numbers picked up, as he batted .304 in 37 games. Overall, he hit .221 with 12 home runs and 55 RBIs in 115 games.

Girardi says a key stat for Olivo is strikeouts. He fanned 80 times in 267 at-bats last year.

"We've talked to him a little bit about trying to go the other way a little bit more and trying to cut down on his swing a little bit," Girardi said. "If he puts the ball in play on a consistent basis, I think he will be pretty productive. Because when he puts the ball in play, he usually hits the ball pretty hard.

"I'm not really sure how productive he can be offensively. But I feel he can be pretty productive. He hit really well the last couple of months in San Diego. I don't see why that can't continue. For him, it's putting the ball in play."

Olivo is being given the responsibility of helping to guide a young pitching staff. The team's Spring Training success has given the players some confidence as they head into the regular season.

"If we play in the season like we've played in Spring Training, we're going to surprise a lot of people," Olivo said. "The thing is, we hustle. We're ready to play. We don't want to embarrass South Florida. We're going to show the people everything that we have."
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Postby rentz » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:37 pm

man, i might just have to grab willingham when he gets OF eligible
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Postby ActionHero » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:39 pm

rentz wrote:man, i might just have to grab willingham when he gets OF eligible


I would think his primary value would be as a catcher though. Grab him now and play him at C.
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Postby rentz » Thu Mar 30, 2006 7:48 pm

no, the real value is having him eligible for both catcher and outfield.
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Postby JoeMoney19 » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:37 pm

[quote="rentz"]no, the real value is having him eligible for both catcher and outfield.[/quote]


how is that? he won't put up good stats for an OF, only as a catcher...it's doubtful anybody will take advantage of him being OF eligible...you should have better backup outfielders than him to sub in...the main point is he'll be getting consistent AB's
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Postby rentz » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:40 pm

what im saying is... his numbers will be the same regardless of position... but having the flexibility of of and a catcher, is nice... since most people wouldnt carry 2 catchers.
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Postby Leiter Fan » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:41 pm

rentz wrote:no, the real value is having him eligible for both catcher and outfield.


Actually, I don't care when he gets OF eligibilty. The point is that by playing the outfield, he doesn't have to sit every 5th day, but can still fill your C spot.
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Postby MotorCityKitties » Thu Mar 30, 2006 8:45 pm

Leiter Fan wrote:
rentz wrote:no, the real value is having him eligible for both catcher and outfield.


Actually, I don't care when he gets OF eligibilty. The point is that by playing the outfield, he doesn't have to sit every 5th day, but can still fill your C spot.


I see the boost in value coming from the fact that he won't be squatting for 9 innings every game.
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What to do?

Postby Bosy Billups » Thu Mar 30, 2006 9:56 pm

Would you drop Kenji for him?
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Postby dewey finn » Thu Mar 30, 2006 10:52 pm

;-D Just dropped Barajas for this ROY.
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