When the Marlins reassigned 3B phenom Matt Dominguez to minor league camp last week, it was not immediately clear who would fill the impending vacuum at third when the season opens on Friday. It now appears that journeyman Donnie Murphy will be the Marlins' Opening Day third baseman.
Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez gave a hedged endorsement of Murphy this morning, telling the Palm Beach Post, "I think what we have seen of Murph we are very close to saying he should be the guy." That is baseball-speak for "if a competent replacement falls in our laps at the last second he will start, otherwise we are stuck with this dude."
Rodriguez said of Emilio Bonifacio, the other option at third, "I would like to keep Boni free so I could use him anywhere," adding, "It’s good to have a player like that." We assume "that" does not mean a blazingly fast baserunner who rarely gets on base, even though that perfectly describes Bonifacio.
When the Kansas City Royals cut veteran 3B Pedro Feliz over the weekend, it was thought the Marlins may try to sign him to fill the hole at the hot corner until Dominguez earns a promotion from Triple-A New Orleans. But the Sun Sentinel reported earlier today that the Marlins will probably not take that route, citing "a league source who has spoken with the Marlins."
Despite Dominguez's struggles at the plate during Spring Training, it is almost certain that the Marlins will call him up to the big club at some point in 2011, much like they did with Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison last season. That plan turned out well for those two, and if Dominguez thrives later this season the Marlins may want to consider sending their entire bullpen to New Orleans for a month or two.