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Mahoney bolsters bid for early Marlins first-base job

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Who will play first base on Opening Day could come down to a tough choice for the Marlins.

Logan Morrison is recovering from right knee surgery, and he isn't expected to be ready the first few weeks, at least.

The Marlins have two other left-handed-hitting options -- Joe Mahoney and Casey Kotchman.

Mahoney helped his case on Saturday, belting two home runs and driving in four runs in an 8-8 tie with the Mets at Tradition Field.

Mahoney has big-time power, but he doesn't have big league experience. Kotchman, terrific defensively, has a track record, but not the protypical power.

"We need somebody to fill in there," manager Mike Redmond said. "We just have to figure out who is going to be the best fit over there. Obviously, Mahoney doesn't have the big league experience like Kotchman does, and that's a factor. But at the same time, we're looking for a guy who can provide some power in the middle of that order. Mahoney, hopefully, can fill that need.

"It's going to be interesting. I'm sure there will be a lot of conversations over that spot. We still have a lot of games left."

Mahoney is 5-for-14 (.357), while Kotchman is 4-for-7 (.571) with a grand slam in three games.

"Big today was pitch selection," Mahoney said. "Getting a changeup up over the plate, being selective. I didn't chase my first at-bat."

Ultimately, time will tell. The deeper into Spring Training, the sharper the pitching becomes. It's still too early to get an accurate read.

"When facing team's No. 1 pitchers and their top guys, we will truly get a read on what we've got," Redmond said.

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