Spring schedule has Marlins seeing rivals often

Spring schedule has Marlins seeing rivals often

JUPITER, Fla. -- Max Scherzer on Tuesday. Matt Harvey on Wednesday. The Marlins are seeing two of the toughest pitchers in the National League on back-to-back days.

"Welcome to the National League East," Miami manager Mike Redmond quipped. "There's no easy days in the East."

With their Spring Training home in Jupiter, the Marlins are in close proximity to the Mets, who train in nearby Port St. Lucie. The Nationals, in town on Tuesday, are located roughly two hours away in Viera.

Ideally, teams would prefer not seeing their division rivals so many times in Spring Training. But it happens to work out that way.

"I think nowadays, the more you see these guys, the better off you are," Redmond said. "We haven't seen [Harvey] in a year. The more at-bats you get off these pitchers, the better off for me. These guys need at-bats. They're going to face these guys during the season."

Conversely, the Mets on Wednesday faced Henderson Alvarez, Miami's probable Opening Day starter.

Other Marlins notes on Wednesday morning:

• Still playing it safe, the Marlins held out Adeiny Hechavarria against the Mets. The shortstop, who is scheduled to return on Thursday against the Twins at Fort Myers, has played in only one Grapefruit League game, the opener last Thursday. He's been dealing with a sore right shoulder.

Marcell Ozuna may have one hit in his first 12 at-bats, but the center fielder's statistically slow start isn't something the Marlins are stressing over.

"Way too early," Redmond said. "When he gets up to the 40-45-at-bat range, he's going to be fine. His at-bats have gotten better."

Ozuna had a rough time last spring, batting .177 with two homers and seven RBIs. Yet he had a strong regular season, belting 23 homers and driving in 85 runs.

Mat Latos remains on schedule to start on Friday against the Cardinals. It will be his first Grapefruit League start. The righty is being eased into game situations as he recovers from a stem cell procedure on his throwing elbow in mid-October.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.