JUPITER, Fla. -- You can always count on the Marlins to be breaking in a hot, young prospect, and this year is no different. On the other side of Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison, over there at third base, a slick-fielding kid named Matt Dominguez is on the launching pad.
He's just 21, but he's been primed for this moment for years. In high school in Los Angeles, he played in a title game in Dodger Stadium ... as a freshman (he was a high school teammate, by the way, of Kansas City phenom Mike Moustakas).
"His defense is there," manager Edwin Rodriguez says. "We know what he can do defensively.
"We want good at-bats. We want quality at-bats. We're not looking at stats or numbers. We're looking for him to have the ability to keep the same concentration level regardless of who's pitching."
Florida's first-round pick -- 12th overall -- in 2007, Dominguez has never played above the Double-A level. And his bat remains a question -- thus, Rodriguez's looking for maturity at the plate, and not numbers. In 111 games at Double-A Jacksonville last summer, Dominguez batted .244 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs. He compiled a .324 on-base percentage.
With the glove, Dominguez reminds many of Mike Lowell with his soft, quick hands.
If Dominguez proves that he is not ready this spring, Infante could flip over to third with Emilio Bonifacio, Ruben Gotay, Donnie Murphy or Joe Thurston playing second. The latter three are here as non-roster invitees. Gotta have insurance.
If none of that works out, then Infante could stay at second and veteran Wes Helms could play third.
"We're going to be very patient with Matty," Rodriguez says.
"I hope he does win the job," Morrison says. "He's a great kid. He's got the mentality. Now he has to show his stuff."
Sunblock Day? The run of 80-something degrees continues. Hoo-ha!
Likes: Big congratulations to pal Don Middlebrook, tropical rock troubadour in Michigan, for being named a top 10 finalist in Fox Sports Detroit's "April in the D" music video contest (the celebrity panel was led by none other than Kid Rock). But now you've gotta join me in voting for him -- early and often -- by the March 6 deadline. You can vote right here, and you can watch Middlebrook's original song and video here. This isn't Middlebrook's first at-bat in the baseball song department, by the way. He wrote a classic a few years back about the Ted Williams head in the cooler fiasco called Frozen in Arizona. Among his memorable non-baseball tunes: I Stole Jimmy Buffett's TV Guide.
Dislikes: Worst ... Oscars ... ever. Banal and brutal. James Franco and Anne Hathaway were awful. The script they followed was dreadful (the call-outs to their mothers was embarrassing). Hathaway's musical number -- the failed "duet" -- in a tuxedo was sophomoric. She wore six different gowns, which was distracting and ostentatious. I was fine with The King's Speech winning Best Picture. But getting to that point was painful. ABC announced in mid-show they had extended the contract with the Academy Award. If telecasts in future years are like Sunday night's, there's only one reaction to that: Poor bastards.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"I rounded first never thought of the worst
"As I studied the shortstop's position
"Crack went my leg, like the shell of an egg
"Someone call a decent physician
"I'm no Pete Rose, I can't pretend
"Though my mind is quite flexible, these brittle bones don't bend"
-- Jimmy Buffett, Growing Older But Not Up