JUPITER, Fla. -- Traveling to Panama is more than a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Marlins hitting coach Frank Menechino. The trip also is a chance to see old friends, as well as take part in paying respect to Mariano Rivera.
Menechino, who previously was a coach in the Yankees' system, is looking forward to the Marlins' two-game exhibition against New York this weekend in Panama.
For the Marlins, it's also a chance to gain exposure internationally, as well as recognize the achievements of Rivera, the future Hall of Fame closer who retired after the 2013 season.
The Yankees are sending a number of their high-profile players, including Derek Jeter, for the two game-set.
"Mo is a big part of that country, as well as baseball," Menechino said. "Anybody who is able to say they are part of that, it's something special. That's why Jeter is going, and all these guys are going. It's respect for Mo. To be part of that is great. We're getting to be a part of that. It's just something that's good."
The Marlins traveled to Panama on Friday, and they will play Saturday night (9:05 ET) and Sunday afternoon (2:05).
Menechino is in his first season as a big league coach. From his days with the Yankees, he learned the importance of thorough preparation.
"Don't leave any stone unturned," Menechino said. "The Yankees taught me how to use every resource possible. Before you make decisions, find out everything you possibly can. Find out all the alternatives. Find as much information as you can before you make a decision of what you want to do."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter