Notes: Cantu shows glimpses of power

Notes: Cantu shows glimpses of power

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- About the only thing holding back Jorge Cantu on Saturday afternoon was gusting winds that literally held back two drives that would normally have cleared the wall.

Instead, Cantu settled for three doubles and five RBIs in four at-bats in the Marlins' 12-4 win over the Mets.

"Cantu hit a couple that would have gone out of Yellowstone if it wasn't for the wind," teammate Luis Gonzalez said.

The wind was swirling on Saturday, and it was forcing back anything hit to left field, while rewarding drives to right field.

Cantu is in the mix for the starting third-base job, and he is an option to see time at first base and possibly second.

"It's a good day, but there is still a lot more work to do," Cantu said. "I've been hitting against the wind many times. But it does feel good. It tells you that your power is still there and you can drive the ball."

Two of Cantu's doubles were off Mets starter Mike Pelfrey.

The 26-year-old is striving to get back to the form of his 2005 season, when he belted 28 homers and drove in 117 runs while with Tampa Bay.

A non-roster invitee who finished up last year with the Reds, Cantu now has six RBIs on the spring.

Cantu is in the hunt with Jose Castillo and Dallas McPherson to start at third.

Cantu credits his current conditioning to his personal trainer, Dennis Fay. In the offseason, Cantu worked out regularly in the Houston, Texas, area with Fay. Also training there were Adam Dunn and Kip Wells.

"Thanks to [Fay], I am where I am," Cantu said. "I'm still trying to become that great hitter, and do what I did in '05 and part of '06, just regain that confidence back."

Volstad solid: It wasn't a masterpiece for Chris Volstad, who showed glimpses on Saturday of why he is regarded as Florida's No. 1 prospect.

The 6-foot-7 right-hander from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is making leaps on the mound, and it is only a matter of time before he is a fixture in the rotation.

Under difficult wind conditions, the worst he's played in, Volstad gave up one run on five hits in three innings. His lone run allowed was an inside fastball that wasn't well placed, and Brian Schneider swatted it out of the park to right field.

The 21-year-old, who likely will open the year at Double-A Carolina, threw 57 pitches. An area where he admits he needs to work on is closing out innings. Twice in three innings, he logged two quick outs and then got into trouble.

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"I think in the first inning, you get two big-named guys out, and then you get into that mind-set of 'I'm all right,' instead of 'I'm going to keep attacking,'" catcher Matt Treanor said.

Treanor said Volstad's release point wasn't always consistent, but when he gets into a rhythm, his pure "stuff" is electric.

"It's as good as anybody who is in the big leagues," Treanor said. "He has a two-seamer [sinker] that moves. When he's going, he can locate the four-seamer in the low-90s, and his breaking ball is sharp, too. He's a big kid.

"If he stayed on the plate more early, he can dominate."

Mets first baseman Olmedo Saenz mentioned to Treanor that Volstad was impressive.

"If he repeats his delivery and stays down in the zone, he's going to be nasty. He is nasty," Treanor said.

Volstad said he learns from facing hitters like Jose Reyes and David Wright.

"The more times you can face the best in the game, you get used to it more and more, and pitch effectively," the right-hander said.

Mitre, Olsen update: Scott Olsen stretched and did conditioning on the back fields in Jupiter on Saturday morning. The lefty, who is resting shoulder tendinitis, will play catch on Sunday. He was scratched from a start on Thursday. His shoulder ailment isn't considered serious.

Sergio Mitre, who is recovering from right forearm muscle tightness, will long toss on Sunday. Mitre threw on flat ground from 60 feet on Thursday and 90 feet on Friday. He may go up to 120 feet on Sunday, and throwing off the mound is a possibility later in the week.

Carlos Martinez update: Reliever Carlos Martinez is the lone Marlin not to report to camp because of visa issues. Stuck in the Dominican Republic all spring, Martinez has received clearance to finally travel to Jupiter.

The team expects him in camp in a few days. Due to the long layoff, Martinez's chances of making the Opening Day roster are slim.

"We're going to take it slow with him," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Once he gets into game shape, and if he is healthy, Martinez could be a valuable asset to the bullpen sometime during the season. The right-hander was the surprise of Spring Training in 2006, and he made the club.

But that year, he experienced elbow trouble and underwent Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. He made two appearances with the Marlins in '07, and tossed 2 2/3 innings.

Intrasquad Sunday: In figuring out how to move forward with their starting pitchers, the Marlins have opted to shake things up a bit on Sunday.

The biggest change is Ricky Nolasco will get the start in the 1:05 p.m. ET contest with the Orioles in Jupiter. Initially, Mark Hendrickson was slated to face Baltimore.

Hendrickson will still pitch in a game on Sunday, but it will be in an intrasquad scrimmage that is set to start at 11:30 a.m. on a back field of the complex.

The team is seeking to stretch Hendrickson and Nolasco to four innings each.

Hendrickson will face a squad of players in camp who will not be in the lineup on the main field against Baltimore.

Relievers Kevin Gregg, Matt Lindstrom and Lee Gardner also will pitch in the intrasquad scrimmage.

Fish bites: The first round of cuts is expected on Sunday. ... From here on out, many of the regular starters are going to see more action. The team wants to get a number of the regulars closer to regular-season game shape. ... Alejandro De Aza belted his team-leading third home run of the spring in the ninth inning against the Mets.

Up next: The Marlins are starting Nolasco against the Orioles on Sunday at 1:05 in Jupiter. Baltimore is turning to Adam Loewen.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.