JUPITER, Fla. -- For the most part, having a left-handed-hitting backup catcher is a nice luxury. But it can be less than ideal when your regular catcher also bats from the left side.
The Marlins find themselves with the strong possibility of carrying two lefty-hitting catchers when the season opens.
Kyle Skipworth, the 23-year-old former first-round pick, is the most likely in-house choice to be Rob Brantly's backup.
"Obviously, it's not an ideal situation to have your backup catcher be a left-handed hitter as well," manager Mike Redmond said. "We have two young guys, but that's the situation we're in. Will it change? I'm not sure. Right now, that's just where we're at."
The Marlins are in a bind with backup catching depth because veteran Jeff Mathis is out with a broken right collarbone, sustained in the team's first Spring Training game on Feb. 23.
Mathis, a right-handed batter, is striving for an early May return. Until then, the team appears ready to go with Skipworth. A major reason is he's already on the 40-man roster.
Miami may carry as many as five non-roster invitees, and the team currently is at 38 on its 40-man roster.
Skipworth has spent the past two years at Double-A Jacksonville. He's getting extensive work in Spring Training, appearing in 15 games, with 24 at-bats. A year ago in Spring Training, he had nine at-bats.
A more ideal situation for Skipworth is to play every day at Triple-A, rather than play sparingly the first month of the season. But with the team looking to address a number of needs, Skipworth's role may wind up being a big league reserve.
Solano's back better, but MRI scheduled
JUPITER, Fla. -- A couple of days rest has Donovan Solano feeling much better.
But to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong, the Marlins second baseman was scheduled to have an MRI exam on Friday to determine the severity of his back ailment.
Solano tweaked his back while working out in the weight room on Wednesday. He was scratched from the lineup that day, and the team was off on Thursday. On Friday, Nick Green made the start at second base for the Marlins against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium.
"I feel better, but I'm going to the hospital for an MRI," Solano said. "I am feeling better every day. I want to make sure I'm OK."
Solano has been one of the Marlins' top players in Spring Training, batting .417 in 44 at-bats. The 25-year-old continues to show signs that he can become a quality everyday player. Formerly in the Cardinals' organization, Solano joined the Marlins last year, and he became the regular second baseman in the second half.
The Marlins are hopeful Solano will be playing in a couple of days.
Solano is a native of Colombia, and he participated for his country in the World Baseball Classic qualifying round last November. On the national team, he was the second baseman while Edgar Renteria was at shortstop. Renteria, a World Series hero for the Marlins in 1997, announced his retirement on Thursday.
Growing up, Renteria was Solano's favorite player.
"He is my idol," Solano said. "I try to follow him, and what he did, and play the game the same way. He had a tremendous career. He did everything."
Marlins' Double-A outfield to feature touted prospects
JUPITER, Fla. -- Double-A Jacksonville promises to feature one of the best outfields in Minor League Baseball.
The Marlins' decision to reassign Christian Yelich to Minor League camp on Friday makes an already impressive Suns' outfield even better.
The only issue facing Miami's Double-A affiliate's outfield is health. Center fielder Jake Marisnick and right fielder Marcell Ozuna are each nursing broken left hands.
Marisnick fractured a bone in his hand when he was hit by a pitch on March 6 in a Grapefruit League game against St. Louis. The initial diagnosis is the 21-year-old would be out about a month, making it questionable if he will be ready for Opening Day. On Wednesday, the Suns' outfield took another hit when Ozuna suffered a fracture in his hand after colliding with the outfield wall.
Ozuna is expected to miss about a month, meaning he may be ready closer to late April or early May.
Yelich will play left field and center field at Jacksonville.
"I knew this was going to happen," Yelich said of being sent out. "It was a matter of when. It will be good to go down and be with the team I'm going to be with."
Redmond reacts to retirement of ex-teammate Renteria
JUPITER, Fla. -- News of Edgar Renteria's retirement brought back old times for Marlins manager Mike Redmond.
Redmond and Renteria were prospects together, dating back to their Class A days at Kane County.
Renteria, of course, came up with the Marlins, and he was a World Series hero in 1997. On Thursday, Renteria announced his retirement.
Redmond recalls the days when he and a group of players would drive Renteria, a Colombia native, all over the place.
"He couldn't speak any English, and I used to have to order for him all the time," Redmond said. "We'd go to McDonalds, and he'd always order the No. 4, the chicken sandwich. He would get two chicken sandwiches. He'd be, 'No. 4. Two.' Same thing, every time.
"When we were in A ball, we'd take him around all the time. We'd take him to lunch, dinner. He was with a bunch of us. He was just at the mercy of wherever we took him."
Renteria broke into the big leagues at age 19.
Redmond remembers being in the Arizona Fall League, watching Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, when Renteria delivered his famous single to beat the Indians.
"To see what he did over his career is amazing," the Miami manager said. "What a great player. Awesome teammate, great teammate."