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With or without Fernandez, Marlins' expectations high

With or without Fernandez, Marlins' expectations high play video for With or without Fernandez, Marlins' expectations high

LOS ANGELES -- News of Jose Fernandez's elbow injury has rocked the clubhouse. The organization, naturally, is hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

"We're just hoping that it's just sore and we just have to shut him down for however long," manager Mike Redmond said.

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Even without their ace, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year, the Marlins have raised their expectations this season, and entered the series against the Dodgers with a winning record and near the leaders in the NL East.

Overall, expectations continue to be on the rise for the somewhat surprising Marlins.

As with any young club, there are growing pains. But clearly the organization is in "win mode," as opposed to 2013, when it redirected with a nucleus of rookies and relatively inexperienced players.

Prior to dropping three straight to the Padres, the Marlins held a slim first-place lead in the NL East, but that lead has suddenly disappeared.

The decision to part with reliever Carlos Marmol, who was designated for assignment on Sunday, was a signal that the club is placing a heavy emphasis on production over development.

"We really talked about that this whole offseason -- that we weren't just going to go with our prospects," Michael Hill, president of baseball operations, said. "We were going to bring in veterans to support the young, talented core that we have here. That's been the mind-set from Day 1 -- that our goal is always to play until the end, and play into October."

The Marlins have clearly come a long way from losing 100 games last season, and the team still is growing and trying to find its identity.

As it goes through its ups and downs, the objective is on contending. Realistically, that may be a year or two away. But if things fall into place this season, who knows?

"This is a production league," Hill said. "We're going to give the guys opportunities to produce. If they don't do it, that's why we've tried to build as much depth as we can. If this guy doesn't do it, maybe the next guy will step up."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less

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