Astros players break down Marlins' new field

Astros players break down Marlins' new field

MIAMI -- The Astros took early batting practice Friday, which afforded the players the chance to get acquainted with Marlins Park. The new retractable-roof ballpark, which opened late last month, has a definite South Florida feeling with lime green outfield walls and a gaudy home run sculpture in left-center field.

"It's very flashy," Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie said. "It seems very Miami. It will be interesting to see. I don't know yet if we'll get to play with the roof open. It will be interesting to see how it changes from how the ball plays with the roof open and closed. It seems big."

The ballpark has a small pool beyond the left-field wall, as well as a fish tank directly behind home plate. The home run sculpture beyond left-center field is a combination of dolphins, palm trees and flamingos that lights up when a Marlins player homers.

"It's pretty cool," catcher Jason Castro said of the park. "It's definitely unlike anything I've ever seen before with lime green fences and the home run thing, which they put on a couple of times [during batting practice]. It looks like it plays pretty big, though, from what we've seen so far with the limited swings we've had on the field."

The playing surface measures 344 feet down the left-field line, 386 in the left-center field gap, 418 to center field, 392 to the right-center field gap and 335 down the right-field line. Initial reports are the ball carries much better with the roof open than when it's closed, which it was Friday.

"You can be a little more aggressive in bigger parks, so we'll see how it ends up playing and we'll stick to the game plan and our strengths," Castro said. "We do what we plan on doing and let the park take care of itself."