On the first full day of workouts, new manager Jeff Torborg, who came to Florida with former Expos owner Jeff Loria, spoke to his men behind closed doors for nearly an hour, insisting that this was a team talented enough to reach the playoffs. According to several players the meeting was uplifting. "You can't help but be excited," says Floyd. "The attitude is 100 percent different."
Having Raines on board helps. On his second day with the team the seven-time All-Star sat at a clubhouse table surrounded by a dozen Marlins while he told stories and cracked jokes. By week's end he was analyzing hitting with Floyd, centerfielder Preston Wilson and third baseman Mike Lowell, and shooting the breeze with a handful of the team's young players. "He speaks, we listen," says Lowell. "His experience is invaluable. He's just so positive."
Why shouldn't he be? While playing for Oakland in 1999, Raines learned he had lupus, a rare autoimmune disease that led to his immediate retirement. However, after missing the 2000 season, he came back last year, hitting .308 in 47 games with the Expos, then joined the Orioles in September to play alongside his son, outfielder Tim Raines Jr. The Marlins signed him to a one-year, $350,000 contract in February, and Raines says this is his last season—maybe.
"I see this as a chance for me to pinch-hit, play a little outfield and, most important, lead by example and by words," says Raines. "There's enough talent here. Sometimes a team just needs to find the right path."
In Florida that should be easy. Just follow the guy wearing...number 32.
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