Versatility a big emphasis for Marlins this spring

Versatility a big emphasis for Marlins this spring

JUPITER, Fla. -- Unless you are an established core regular on the Marlins, be prepared to show some flexibility. Manager Don Mattingly, the coaching staff and the front office are watching to see how much each player can do.

"I believe in the whole roster," Mattingly said. "There's always going to be injuries. You hope that they are not long term. You know guys are going to get hurt. Guys are going to need days, sometimes three or four days, sometimes a week, sometimes two weeks. You can kind of sustain those."

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What the Marlins are looking for from their reserves is the ability to move around the field. Derek Dietrich, for instance, worked drills at third base and first base on Wednesday, as did Chris Johnson.

"For now, you kind of know who your club is," Mattingly said. "You always come in with a plan on paper. But things change so quickly. This is a time to make sure that guys are comfortable in different spots."

Miguel Rojas, the front-runner to be the utility middle infielder, worked some bunting situations at first.

"We want to make sure that we're flexible enough with our people that we can sustain different injuries and use different people in different ways," Mattingly said.

Mattingly on goals for season

Among the eight projected starting position players, only five stayed exclusively at their primary spot -- Giancarlo Stanton (right field), Dee Gordon (second base), Adeiny Hechavarria (shortstop), Justin Bour (first base) and J.T. Realmuto (catcher).

Christian Yelich, a Gold Glove Award winning left fielder in 2014, saw time in center field last year. Marcell Ozuna, the projected center fielder, played some right field, and third baseman Martin Prado saw action at second when Gordon was on the disabled list due to a dislocated left thumb.

Spring Training is the time to get players familiarized with different roles.

Dietrich could see action at third, second, first and left field. Johnson was signed as a free agent to offer depth at either corner-infield spot. He may wind up playing regularly at first against left-handed pitching. He's also prepared to play some left field.

Cole Gillespie, in the mix for an outfield spot, could see some time this spring at first base.

"That's what we'll be trying to do all spring," Mattingly said. "Find out who those guys are. Make sure that they're comfortable in different spots, so they've had a little bit of time everywhere. Then just try to put it together from there."

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