All the small things for Marlins in 2017

Organization preaching importance of consistent focus

All the small things for Marlins in 2017

JUPITER, Fla. -- An attention-to-detail message is already being engrained in the Marlins. It's all part of the "Little Things Matter" theme that manager Don Mattingly and his staff are preaching.

Before its first full-squad workouts on Friday, the club held a meeting. And after the position players wrapped up their drills, they gathered again, in the outfield of Field 2, where outfield coach Lorenzo Bundy and third-base coach Fredi Gonzalez spoke to the players about executing.

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The staff reminded players of the importance of hustling, being aggressive on the bases and bringing a consistent focus to the park every day.

"You talk about things every Spring Training," center fielder Christian Yelich said. "That's what we're talking about this year, the little things decide the season, pretty much. Those last few Wild Card spots last year were decided by one, two games. The divisions are decided by a game, two games."

The Marlins finished 79-82 in 2016. But they were nine games over .500 entering August, only to have their postseason hopes slip away in the final two months.

"Opening Day is just as important as the last day of the season," Yelich said. "If you don't do the little things right, they add up. You can lose a game because of that. That's kind of what we've been preaching."

The Marlins also have a new voice in hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo, who replaces Barry Bonds. Frank Menechino returns as assistant hitting coach.

In 2016, Miami's offense recorded an up-and-down campaign. The team ranked fourth in the Majors in batting average (.263) but 27th in runs (655).

"[Pagliarulo] is a guy who has a lot of ideas, a lot of knowledge about hitting," third baseman Martin Prado said. "We have to combine that with Menechino and create a real good environment for the hitters."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. 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.