Inbox: Is Polanco staking claim on short?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers questions from Twins fans

Inbox: Is Polanco staking claim on short?

KANSAS CITY -- Despite losing seven of their past 10, the Twins have been able to hang around .500 after taking two out of three in Texas as Ervin Santana continued to look like an ace, while Phil Hughes and Hector Santiago were both solid.

Miguel Sano has been carrying the offense, and youngsters Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler have contributed. There are plenty of questions about this team, however, which leads us to this week's Twins Inbox.

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Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Are any Reds arms Louisville-bound?

Beat reporter Mark Sheldon answers questions from fans

Inbox: Are any Reds arms Louisville-bound?

Do you think at some point we might see either Robert Stephenson or Cody Reed sent to Louisville to be stretched out and returned as a starter?
-- @elliottm_3

I definitely expect that to happen at some point, and not just to get them stretched out. If the Reds go to a seven-man bullpen and either Stephenson or Reed are used for long relief, they might need to be sent to Triple-A to make room for a fresh long-relief arm. But the club would still like both pitchers to develop as starters, and the longer they are in the bullpen, the more it would be necessary to spend time at Louisville to get stretched out. Reed has also shown he has composure issues to straighten out as a starter in the big leagues, while Stephenson needs to improve his command.

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Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: When will O's offense step up?

Beat reporter Brittany Ghiroli answers questions from Baltimore fans

Inbox: When will O's offense step up?

The Orioles are pitching, but they're not really hitting. Most importantly, however, these O's are winning. As Baltimore enjoys an off-day before heading to New York and Boston, let's dive into the latest Inbox questions.

How concerned should fans be over this offense?
-- Peter B., Townson, Md.

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Is this a bump in the road for Archer?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers questions from Rays fans

Inbox: Is this a bump in the road for Archer?

Chris Archer started the season off so well. Now he seems to be free-falling back to 2016. Three home runs allowed to the Orioles on Monday night reminded me a lot of the 30 he surrendered last year. Did Archer fool all of us by looking lights out to begin the season?
-- Bill D., St. Petersburg

According to Statcast™ research Monday night, Archer's location appeared to be the culprit, and the problem didn't have anything to do with a change in his stuff. Basically, the disciplined Orioles hitters only put balls into play that were in the strike zone, and the three home runs were all close to the middle of the plate. So I think Rays fans should give Archer the benefit of the doubt. He's sure looked good in most of his starts thus far. So I guess that's a long-winded way of saying I don't believe he's reverting to 2016. He's got such good stuff.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will prospects join White Sox rotation?

Beat reporter Scott Merkin answers fans' questions

Inbox: Will prospects join White Sox rotation?

CHICAGO -- Let's take a look at some of your inquiries in the White Sox Inbox. And thanks to all those who submitted questions in the Facebook Live portion.

Will Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Carson Fulmer, Michael Kopech, Dane Dunning and Zack Burdi be any better than our current four starters, plus Carlos Rodon, David Robertson and Nate Jones?
-- Gary, Chicago, @itsgary

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Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: How will A's rotation look with Gray?

Inbox: How will A's rotation look with Gray?

What do you think the rotation will look like in May when Sonny Gray returns?
-- Mark H., San Jose, Calif.

Assuming both Gray and Kendall Graveman are healthy when the calendar flips to May, I'd imagine Jesse Hahn would be the odd man out again, leaving Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs to fill out the rotation.

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Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @JaneMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: How does Sale compare to Pedro?

Reporter Ian Browne fields questions from Red Sox fans

Inbox: How does Sale compare to Pedro?

Why and how is Chris Sale closer to Pedro Martinez than Jon Lester or Josh Beckett were?
-- @BrianFleming430

Lester and Beckett could both be very special on a given night or in a postseason series. They also had some solid, All-Star seasons in Boston and contributed to World Series championships. But Sale is more overpowering, much like Martinez was. The way Sale can combine a mid-90s fastball with that lethal slider makes him an extremely uncomfortable at-bat for hitters. It reminds me of the way Martinez used to baffle opponents with that fastball/changeup combination.

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will Cards be buyers at Deadline?

Beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answers questions from St. Louis fans

Inbox: Will Cards be buyers at Deadline?

The difference a week makes, huh? The public panic from a 3-9 start has largely dissolved after a week in which the Cardinals won six of seven. Certainly there are still areas to clean up -- what's with all the baserunning blunders? -- but there is also plenty to like.

So before the Cardinals open a 10-game homestand on Tuesday, let's take another look at what topics are generating the most interest with you. Remember to include your name and hometown when making submission for future Inbox consideration.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: When could Mets summon Rosario?

Beat reporter Anthony DiComo answers questions from fans

Inbox: When could Mets summon Rosario?

Perhaps it was reader @eddiebellz who put it best this week, replying to a call for Mets Inbox queries with this: "I have so many questions but I literally don't know how to specify just one."

It was that sort of week for the Mets, who dropped four straight to the Phillies and Nationals, lost a significant chunk of the roster to injuries and were left reeling, just in time for another 13 straight divisional games following Monday's off-day.

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Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: What is Braves' biggest surprise of '17?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman answers questions from Atlanta fans

Inbox: What is Braves' biggest surprise of '17?

What's the biggest surprise to you so far? Pleasant and not so pleasant?
-- @A_A_ron_Smith

Look, we all know that the bench has managed to be even more problematic than envisioned, and that the bullpen has had its fair share of shaky outings. But many of these warts might have been less noticeable with some more consistent production from leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte, who has a .238 on-base percentage through the first 18 games.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Is there a reason for Bird's struggles?

Beat reporter Bryan Hoch answers questions from Bombers fans

Inbox: Is there a reason for Bird's struggles?

What do you make of Greg Bird's struggles? He looks lost. What happened?
-- Owen S., Rehoboth Beach, Del.

There's no way of sugarcoating the early returns on Bird's performance: they have not been pretty. Bird will head into this week's Red Sox series at Fenway Park carrying a .104/.204/.229 slash line, which hardly seems possible considering the way that he was crushing the ball in Spring Training.

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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Posey best suited strictly at first?

Beat reporter Chris Haft answers questions from Giants fans

Inbox: Posey best suited strictly at first?

Why not play Buster Posey at first base 100 percent of the time?
-- Larry P., Los Angeles

The Giants believe that Posey is a significant enough asset defensively to keep him behind the plate. But as you're implying, I also see Posey's offensive production dwindling prematurely if he continues to catch regularly. San Francisco might not seriously reconsider its current use of Posey unless his offensive output plummets severely during an upcoming season.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: How will Pirates bolster offense?

Beat reporter Adam Berry answers questions from Bucs fans

Inbox: How will Pirates bolster offense?

ST. LOUIS - The Pirates have played 15 games -- five sweep-or-be-swept series. It's not enough to draw sweeping conclusions -- pardon the pun -- but it's more than enough to spark curiosities and prompt questions.

We'll answer a few of yours in the first Pirates Inbox of the season.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Who will bat second for Marlins?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers questions from Miami fans

Inbox: Who will bat second for Marlins?

Do you see J.T. Realmuto or Martin Prado hitting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup over the long term?
-- @ZachGluck

Manager Don Mattingly has a good problem in filing out his lineup card, because both players have been productive at various spots in the order. If both are healthy, I'd say Prado gets the nod, mainly because -- based on last year -- he strikes out less. What we're seeing this year is Realmuto emerging as an All-Star-caliber player. Like Prado, he can hit the ball to all fields, and he has more home run potential.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.

Inbox: Is there a reason for Nats' 'pen woes?

Beat reporter Jamal Collier answers Nationals fans' questions

Inbox: Is there a reason for Nats' 'pen woes?

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' season is 12 games old, and the team begins a difficult three-city, 10-game road trip on Tuesday. This seems like a good time to answer a few of the biggest questions on the minds of Nationals fans, many of whom are worried about the bullpen.

The Nats began Monday with a 'pen ERA of 6.25, which ranked 25th in the Majors. As a unit, they have completed scoreless outings in just two of their 12 games. They've been prone to give up the long ball, already allowing 10 homers this year (2.50 per nine innings), second-worst in the Majors.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will Toronto make moves or have faith?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers Blue Jays fans' questions

Inbox: Will Toronto make moves or have faith?

Should the Blue Jays make some trades, sign free agents, or just keep the faith in their current roster?
-- Jordan L., Waterloo, Ontario

The Blue Jays really have no choice but to let this situation play out. Outside of relatively small moves, the trade market typically does not heat up until June. This is not the time to make a big addition or subtraction. Minor tinkering is possible, but it's also not going to fix what is currently ailing this Toronto team, so the likely scenario is that the club will stay the course for at least another couple of months.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: What's up with former top pick Russell?

Inbox: What's up with former top pick Russell?

The Royals have won four straight and climbed back to 6-6, thanks mostly to a rotation that has posted a Major League-best 2.31 ERA. At some point, the offense will catch up, and as manager Ned Yost said Sunday, Kansas City could get on a serious roll.

We asked for questions for the Royals Inbox, and you provided some good ones. So let's get started.

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Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: How did Phils handle closer situation?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers fans' questions

Inbox: How did Phils handle closer situation?

If Jeanmar Gomez had such a short leash, why did the Phillies start the season with him as the closer in the first place?
-- Kevin C., Philadelphia

I asked myself a similar question in January, when manager Pete Mackanin said Gomez would open the season as the closer. After all, the Phillies said for much of the offseason that they would have an open competition for the job in Spring Training. Why the reversal? Gomez held the job for nearly a season, so it is not like the Phils owed him anything. He also struggled in the final six weeks of the 2016 season, losing the job in the final week. It is clear Hector Neris, Joaquin Benoit and Edubray Ramos have better stuff.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Who's out when Valbuena returns?

Beat reporter Maria Guardado answers Angels fans' questions

Inbox: Who's out when Valbuena returns?

ANAHEIM -- One week into the regular season, the Angels find themselves atop the American League West after splitting their four-game opening series with the A's and sweeping the Mariners at Angel Stadium over the weekend. The Halos capped their big week by scoring seven runs in the ninth inning to stun Seattle for a 10-9 victory on Sunday, bringing their record to 5-2.

The Angels enjoyed an off-day on Monday before resuming division play on Tuesday, when they begin a three-game series against the Rangers in Anaheim. We thought we'd take advantage of this break in the schedule to answer some Twitter questions from fans in another edition of the Angels Inbox.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Can Braves improve early defense?

Beat reporter Mark Bowman answers fans' questions

Inbox: Can Braves improve early defense?

Do you think the errors and unearned runs come from early-season jitters?
-- @wtgarrison

The Braves were charged with six errors -- two per game -- during this past weekend's series against the Pirates, you could wonder if there was a hangover effect created by the travel issues that led them to arrive in Pittsburgh only nine hours before the start of Friday's series opener.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will Kip's return affect batting order?

Beat reporter Jordan Bastian answers fans' questions

Inbox: Will Kip's return affect batting order?

Do you anticipate that Jason Kipnis will bat sixth when he returns from the disabled list? What other options does Indians manager Terry Francona have?
-- Jimmy G., Akron, Ohio

Francona has not tipped his hand as to what he is contemplating for Cleveland's lineup upon Kipnis' return. All he has said is that he plans on sitting down with both Kipnis and left fielder Michael Brantley to hear their thoughts on the batting order.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Taking inventory of all things Sale

Beat reporter Ian Browne answers questions from Red Sox fans

Inbox: Taking inventory of all things Sale

With Chris Sale making his much-anticipated first start for the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, we decided to do something different and dedicate an entire Inbox to one player. Here is a Sale-centric Inbox.

Is Sale susceptible to the first-year pitfalls that free-agent additions (especially pitchers) seem to encounter in Boston?
-- @ReverendMitton

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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Can Phillies be a .500 team in 2017?

Beat reporter Todd Zolecki answers questions from fans

Inbox: Can Phillies be a .500 team in 2017?

Manager Pete Mackanin said the Phillies could be a .500 team. How realistic is that?
-- Brad N., Mankato, Minn.

It is realistic, but a few things will need to happen. First, they will need solid starting pitching for six months, instead of two or three like last season. The Phillies pitched well early last year, which explained their 24-17 start.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Who is Blue Jays' 2017 X-factor?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers questions from fans

Inbox: Who is Blue Jays' 2017 X-factor?

Who do you think is the biggest wild card -- or, as you guys at MLB.com like to call it, the X-factor -- on this year's team?
-- James T., Calgary, Alberta

My pick is Devon Travis, because I think this team's offense isn't nearly as good when he's off the field. Travis' health will continue to be questioned, until he proves otherwise, but this team desperately needs him to take up the bulk of the playing time at second base. Toronto does not have a viable leadoff candidate when he's not available, and the overall depth of the lineup is dealt a massive blow when his bat is replaced by Darwin Barney or Ryan Goins. People within the organization believe Travis has the potential for a 200-hit season, but the only way he can get there is with regular playing time. This team really needs him.

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Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will Glover be the Nats' closer?

Inbox: Will Glover be the Nats' closer?

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- With only a few days left before the team breaks camp and heads back to Washington, the Nationals still have a few pressing questions left to answer, including one that has lingered all offseason.

This special Opening Day preview Inbox begins with the question everyone has been asking for months now about the Nationals, trying to predict who will begin the season as their closer.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Is Glasnow ready for Pirates' rotation?

Beat reporter Adam Berry answers fans' questions

Inbox: Is Glasnow ready for Pirates' rotation?

Do you see Tyler Glasnow in the rotation this year, and do you think he's ready? -- Greg, Sanford, N.C.

Glasnow has shown some good signs this spring, especially in his last few outings. That's the kind of growth you want to see out of a young starter who might have already proved everything he can in Triple-A. He's tweaked his delivery a little in an effort to battle against his adrenaline and long, lanky frame, and he's looked more comfortable on the mound. He's incorporating the changeup and a two-seam fastball, a pitch that helped Jameson Taillon last season. Pitch efficiency remains an issue, but his control has been better lately.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Biggest positives of Rangers camp?

Inbox: Biggest positives of Rangers camp?

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Wrapping up Spring Training by answering some of the major questions surrounding the Rangers...

1. What were the biggest positives in camp?
Obviously it starts with Delino DeShields, who was the camp MVP, although Ryan Rua was right behind. Shin-Soo Choo had a good camp and that bodes well for his upcoming season. From the pitching side, A.J. Griffin seized a spot in the rotation, Cole Hamels, Martin Perez and Yu Darvish appear to be headed to the top of their game and Mike Hauschild was a terrific development as a Rule 5 Draft pick.

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T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Will Margot break camp with Padres?

Inbox: Will Margot break camp with Padres?

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With less than a week remaining until the Padres open their 2017 campaign at Dodger Stadium, a handful of roster questions remain unanswered.

Where do Manuel Margot and Luis Perdomo start the year? How many catchers are feasible for the Opening Day roster? How many Rule 5ers?

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AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Can Astros live up to the hype?

Beat reporter Brian McTaggart answers questions from Houston fans

Inbox: Can Astros live up to the hype?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- You have questions about the Astros, and we have answers. Opening Day is almost here, and the Astros' roster is all but set. Still, there are plenty of hot button topics in the days leading up to the start of the regular season, so let's take a few moments to answer some questions you posed on Twitter.

How high are your expectations for the Astros this year?
-- @XaviZapata1

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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Is Yelich bound for stardom?

Beat reporter Joe Frisaro answers questions from Miami fans

Inbox: Is Yelich bound for stardom?

What can we expect from Christian Yelich this year? I loved watching him get a taste of leadership and meaningful games in the World Baseball Classic.
-- @CoolKidJoeXBL

Without question, Yelich raised his profile and performance while playing a pivotal role on Team USA's championship team. Tom Koehler noted that Yelich no longer will be viewed as "the quiet kid in the corner." Maybe the World Baseball Classic was the platform to push Yelich into stardom.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. 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.