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Marlins reassign Yelich to Minors camp03/22/2013 7:43 PM ET
By Jake Seiner / Special to MLB.com
He hit a home run to start a game, and hit one to conclude another, but in the end, it wasn't enough for Christian Yelich to force his way onto the team's Opening Day roster.
The Marlins demoted the 21-year-old outfielder to Minor League camp Friday, where he'll prepare to open the season with Double-A Jacksonville.
MLB.com's No. 13 prospect was never expected to make the jump directly from Class A Advanced Jupiter to the Major Leagues, but he turned a number of heads with his Grapefruit League performance. Yelich led the Marlins in home runs (five), RBIs (14) and runs scored (13) while posting a .364 batting average with a .451 on-base percentage and an .818 slugging percentage.
His timing on those round-trippers was good, too. On March 2, he hit a lead-off homer against the Mets off Matt Harvey, and then on March 11, his two-out, two-run, walk-off homer off Red Sox reliever Chris Carpenter gave the Marlins an 8-7 victory.
"You come in here with realistic expectations," Yelich told MLB.com. "I came in here not expecting to make the team, but with the idea of, go have fun, make a good impression and just enjoy the time you're up here."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond had no doubt that the outfielder achieved those goals.
"He had a great spring," Redmond said. "Like we'd been talking about all spring, he was very impressive. Not just on the field, but the way he handled himself. He's a great teammate. He's a great player. His day will come.
"We've talked about him not having an at-bat above [Class] A ball. Just continue to do what he's doing in Double-A."
The Marlins' No. 2 prospect spent just about all of last season in the Florida State League, where he hit .330 with a .404 on-base percentage and a .519 slugging percentage.
The 2010 first-round pick is expected to be joined in Jupiter's outfield by the team's No. 3 prospect, Jake Marisnick, and its No. 7 prospect, Marcel Ozuna.
"It will be nice not having to answer the question, are you going to stay or not?" Yelich said. "I was getting that a lot the last week. It will be go down there and get at-bats every day. I knew this was going to happen. It was a matter of when. It will be good to go down and be with the team I'm going to be with."