Marlins notes: Yelich on taking Jennings for a dip; Capps' first win; rotation picture

Whether its dunking on the game's hero being interviewed post-game or bathing them in shaving cream, the Marlins know how to come up with creative ways to celebrate.

Saturday night, after they finally got Dan Jennings his first victory, they came up with another -- taking their skipper for a dip in the pool at The Clevelander.

For Jennings it turned out to be more of a bath than anything else. In the clubhouse, per team tradition, he was covered in shaving cream -- and other things.

"Obviously it's been kind of a frustrating couple of weeks for us," said left fielder Christian Yelich, who said he and Dee Gordon had been kicking around the idea pregam about taking their manager for a dip after they finally got him his first win. "This game is kind of about having fun and stuff like that and we kind of wanted to get back to that. It kind of started off as a joke and after we got in here after the win last night everybody was saying 'Let's go in the pool!' We did it. Jumped in."

Yelich said he'd been in The Clevelander pool once before during his rookie season in 2013. But Yelich said it's the first time most of the team went in together.

"It was kind of a cool moment," Yelich said. "[The shaving cream baths are] something that kind of happens whenever there is a first in the big leagues for you. I really won't tell you what it is, but it's something happens after your first save, first win. After that, everybody went to the pool. I don't really think it's that big of a deal. But it's nice to loosen it up and get back to having fun. When you're having fun you play looser. It's the better way to go about things."

Said first baseman Justin Bour: "The way we got that win, it was just a good time. I don’t know if I did a bellyflop or a backflop [into the pool]. Whatever it was I got the most out of it."

> According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jennings became only the 12th manager in baseball history to pick up their first win in extra innings -- joining Cy Young among others. Young served as a player/manager of the Boston Americans (who became the Red Sox) for six games in 1907 and pitched the 14th inning of an 8-4 win over the Philadelphia Athletics. So Young picked up the win as a manager and pitcher.

CAPPS AN UNSUNG HERO

Reliever Carter Capps picked up his first win as a Marlin in Saturday night's 13-inning marathon -- and he earned it. Capps pitched a career-high three innings and struckout a career-high six in only his second appearance since he was recalled from Triple A New Orleans on Wednesday.

His fastball was registering between 96 and 98 miles per hour and he was mixing in some impressive sliders. Acquired from the Mariners for Logan Morrison at the 2013 Winter Meetings, the Marlins have been working on adjusting Capps' delivery for the last two years so he has better command. 

"That was definitely my best big league outing, so I was pretty excited about that," Capps said. "That's probably the best I've felt with my slider command."

Said Jennings: "I tip my hat to John Duffy, our Triple A pitching coach and Charlie Corbell our minor league roving pitch coach. They spent time working with [Capps]. There was a mechanical adjustment that was made. To his credit, he did the work, he got the adjustment and he came out there last night and was just wow."

ROTATION STILL NOT SET

The Marlins will be hitting the road after Sunday's game for a six-game trip through Pittsburgh and New York and still haven't announced who will take the spots of Henderson Alvarez and Mat Latos in the starting rotation on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But it's become clear Justin Nicolino won't be one of those guys because he pitched Saturday for Triple A New Orleans. Nicolino threw 101 pitches and pitched seven innings of two-run ball in a 4-2 win over El Paso to improve to 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA on the season.

Right-hander Jose Urena, who made two quick relief appearances with the Marlins earlier this year, hasn't pitched for New Orleans since Monday. He leads the Pacific Coast League with a 1.21 ERA and is 4-0 this season. Jennings again Sunday morning brought up long reliever Brad Hand as a potential fill-in. 

"I have to tell you he's been absolutely impressive in his role and what he's adjusted to down there," Jennings said of Hand, who is 0-1 with a 5.64 ERA in 13 relief appearances this season and is 4-18 with a 4.54 ERA in 31 career starts.

"I see a lot of team first mindset, team first mentality and that's huge."

The Marlins are hoping to have some clarity on the health of Alvarez after he has an MRI sometime Sunday. Asked if they might shelve Alvarez (0-4, 6.45) for the remainder of the season because this is the second time he's gone to the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, Jennings responded: ""Let's hope not. No. Maybe for the rest of this month."

"He's working very diligent to strengthen that," Jennings continued. "The shoulder is the shoulder. It's one of those things where after the season starts nobody feels 100 percent. There's a lot of wear and tear on their parts, so you just go to strengthen it up and focus on that area and that's what he's doing now pretty intensely. He will find a way to get through this because he's a competitor and he's athletic."

Jennings said he's hoping to have Alvarez and Latos back not long after they are eligible to come off the disabled list. 

"Based on what I heard thus far, it seems like some of them it could be the 15-days and then have them back ready," Jennings said. "Maybe in that 15 to 20 [days] window. That's best case."

May 25, 2015

Does lack of coaching pedigree put Dan Jennings in the crosshairs? Plus more MIami Marlins news and notes.

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle was quick to welcome Dan Jennings to the fraternity of managers when he fired off a quick text right after the Marlins put him in the dugout: "Welcome to the club of first-guessing."

But only one week into the job, Jennings is not only receiving his share of criticism for a few of his managerial decisions, the thinly veiled jabs are originating from members of his own club.

Arizona manager Chip Hale pointed to what he perceived to be a possible managing oversight by Jennings last week when, believing the Marlins didn't have a right-hander ready in the bullpen, sent in right-handed pinch-hitter A.J. Pollock to face lefty Mike Dunn last week.

Pollock's two-run homer proved the difference in the outcome, never mind the fact that right-handed reliever Bryan Morris had warmed up one inning earlier and was ready to go in if summoned.

On Sunday, after Jennings' bullpen moves figured prominently in a win over the Orioles, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter sounded unimpressed: "They used what, three guys three days in a row out of the bullpen to get it done? We'll see how that works down the road."

Would a traditional manager -- someone groomed for the role -- be treated similarly?

Jennings said he doesn't perceive any slights based solely on his lack of a coaching background.

"I think it would probably be the same for any new manager," Jennings said. "New managers are going to be tested until they show or develop their style."

But in a radio interview with former general manager Jim Bowden, Hall all but acknowledged his displeasure with the front office-to-managing switch without a lack of on-field training.

"I think it's frustrating in a way for guys who've done it," Hall replied when asked by Bowden about his thoughts on the Jennings hiring. "I've said this before: when you finish playing or get into Major League Baseball on the minor league level, you say, 'OK, what do I want to do? OK, I want to manage in the big leagues. What do I have to do? I'm going to bust my hump coaching and teaching and become the best manager at the minor league level that I can, then get to the big leagues.' It's not looking like that track is going to be the way anymore."
______________

Jose Urena didn't get a chance to start when he was up with the Marlins in April. But it's all but certain he'll get his chance now. The Marlins are expected to promote the right-hander from Triple A New Orleans and put him on the mound Tuesday against the Pirates. Urena was scratched from his scheduled start for the Zephyrs on Monday.

Urena has been steady and solid for the Zephyrs. Since returning to the minors from his brief stint with the Marlins, Urena has gone 3-0 with a ridiculously low 1.15 ERA in five starts. Look for Urena to notch his outs via contact. He struck out just 12 (while walking eight) in those five starts.

The Marlins don't plan on announcing the move until Tuesday. They also haven't named a starter for Wednesday. Brad Hand is a possibility, as is recent call-up Andre Rienzo.

"The course of this game could determine those two," Jennings said Monday. "But we will be ready to do it after this game, just depending on who we have to go to in our bullpen tonight."

______________

Jeff Baker said he was unavailable throughout the weekend series against the Orioles after sustaining a strained hand ligament earlier last week. But Baker said the injury has healed to the point that can be used in whatever role the Marlins need him for.

Baker injured the hand on a collision at first against the Diamondbacks. There were a couple of pinch-hit situations against Orioles left-handers in which Baker would normally have been used, but wasn't.

______________

Jarred Cosart won't be returning from the disabled list when his 15 days are up. The Marlins plan on having Cosart make a rehab start in the minors, but not until next week. Cosart was placed on the DL, retroactive to May 14, with vertigo.

"It depends on how long it takes for it to evolve," said Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations. "It's really uncharted territory. It's not like an elbow that needs to heal, or inflammation in the shoulder. We're cautiously optimistic that (he'll return) shortly after 15 days, but we really don't know."

______________

Hill said Henderson Alvarez has not received a MRI since going on the DL a second time this season with right shoulder inflammation.

"We want to let everything calm down and see where he's at," Hill said. "So, after a week or so, we'll start to ramp him up again. If it's better, then he'll continue. If not, then we'll get him a MRI."

May 23, 2015

Two more punches to the gut: Latos, Alvarez headed to the disabled list

As if things couldn't get any worse, after dropping their eighth game in a row Friday, the Marlins sent two top of the rotation starters -- Henderson Alvarez and Mat Latos -- to the disabled list.

"Alvarez is going on the DL with right shoulder inflammation and Latos is going on the DL with left knee inflammation," manager Dan Jennings said. "There will be corresponding roster moves that will occur [Saturday]."

For Alvarez, who fell to 0-4 with a 6.45 ERA on Friday, it's the second time this season he's gone to the disabled list with shoulder inflammation and maybe a sign the Marlins rushed him back from his last stint. Earlier in the day Friday, CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman reported that Alvarez has apparently been pitching with a 90 percent torn UCL for years, but has been able to get by without needing surgery.

Asked about that before the game, Jennings said: "When we made the trade there was medical exchanges, and we were good with what we had. These guys who have pitched in the big leagues a while there are no pristine arms. There’s wear and tear on all of them.

"Henderson is a competitor and he’ll keep running out there. I’m not sure wehre the information came from – I too heard the report – at the same time I’m not a medical person. We’ll put that in the hands of our medical people."

Jennings said Alvarez began feeling discomfort in the fifth and sixth innings. 

Latos, who had surgery to repair a torn meniscus on his left knee, has struggled all season going 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA in nine starts. Last weekend, he was nailed on a comebacker to the mound on his left shin, but made his next start and lost to the Diamondbacks earlier this week, blowing a 3-1 lead.

"He still has the bruise and pretty significant," Jennings said. "[But this is] something with his knee that is ongoing. He's battled through it. He's taken the ball. We just need him to dedicate some time strictly to rebuilding that strength in that knee and coming back to the 100 percent level."

Alvarez and Latos began the season at the top of the Marlins' rotation. Now, it's likely the club will turn to minor leaguers Justin Nicolino and Jose Urena to fill those voids in the rotation.

Nicolino, a left-hander, is 3-1 with a 2.09 ERA in Triple A New Orleans. Urena, briefly called up on earlier this season to provide long relief, is 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in New Orleans.

"It's tough," Jennings said of losing Alvarez and Latos. "Mat he's a top of the rotation guy when he's 100 percent, when he's healthy. Hendu is an All-Star. So, now someone's going to get an opportunity to step up. Hopefully it will be a boost for us, maybe even a spark. We've had a few guys below perform well and we'll see which guy we go to bring up and give them that opportunity."

> Fans booed Friday when Jennings went to the bullpen with the bases loaded and nobody and brought in former closer Steve Cishek.

"Looking for the ground ball in that situation," Jennings explained. "This guy has performed in high stress situations -- 39 saves last year. We have confidence in him. It didn't work out tonight. The bullpen has been taxed. Two games in a row the bullpen has been taxed and these guys have taken the ball. They've battled, are very gutty. Tonight it didn't work out. But we were looking for the groundball there. His sinker and slider are two good pitches to get that."

> The Marlins finished 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position. Are they pressing? "No. I can't say it is because we had tremendous at-bats. We set the tone early. Dee [Gordon stole] two bags and [Giancarlo Stanton] gets the hit and we're moving, things are looking good. We were aggressive and did some things to set the tone and jumped ahead 3-0.

"Tremendous at bats. They're battling. I think of the basehits [14] we had there were only two extra base hits. We need that hit to get in the spot where we can do damage. But I will take the way they're battling and the way they're approaching this game and the at-bats they had. Again, it's coming out of that storm. There's a lot of positive to this."

May 22, 2015

Marlins say they weren't trying to send a message by skipping charity event, just exhausted, tired of losing

The Marlins Foundation hosted its annual Fish 'N Chips casino style party Thursday night, a charitable event aimed at bringing fans together with players, coaches and alumni while raising money for the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.

In the end, the foundation would have been better off just calling it Chips because there were no Fish in attendance. 

Caught up in the disappointment of a seven-game losing streak, the handful of Marlins players who had committed to attending the evening skipped out, bringing ire from fans Friday who paid between $100 and $175 to be there. 

Although the event was only optional for players to attend, team president David Samson said he was disappointed none of the ones who had committed showed and promised there would be a follow-up in the clubhouse. 

So were the Marlins players trying to send a message about manager Mike Redmond's firing earlier this week and about who the organization made his replacement?

Everyone in the organization that spoke Friday said that absolutely was not the case. They said the seven-game skid and the fact the Marlins lost a hard-fought 7-6 afternoon game to the Diamondbacks were the reasons why players skipped the event. 

"I can see why people are making a big deal about it -- people pay money, want to be around the players," said relief pitcher Steve Cishek, who is also the club's player representative. "But you've got to realize we were here all day. Everyone is exhausted. You look at Dee Gordon, he's stumbling around the locker room after the game, played his heart out. Everyone battled yesterday. It was just not the right timing. It's tough to explain. It's just the way things are going for us right now. All of our guys have taken it to heart. Everyone is an adult here. They just didn't show up. Their decision."

Samson said the losing streak nor the long day were valid excuses for players to skip the event.

"I think win or lose, what we do in the community matters most," Samson said. "Obviously we want to win more and they're working very hard to win. But from my standpoint, when you have a commitment with the community, you've got to do it.

"Listen, a lot of guys are very generous with their time and very generous with their pocket book. The fact is though sometimes you make commitments and you lose a game and you're tired and grumpy and angry. But guess what -- you have to continue on with what your job is, and the job doesn't end at the 27th out."

Manager Dan Jennings and most of his coaching staff did attend Thursday night's event. So too did president of baseball operations Mike Hill. Jennings said he hopes fans will eventually cut the players some slack.

"I hope our fans are more aggravated at the 0-7 than the missing the event," Jennings said. "These players, their hearts are in the right place. I think their track record from what they do and what they’ve done in the community speak to that."

Said Cishek: "Obviously the players feel badly about it. But like I said, it's just been a tough go for us. Everyone is exhausted and we're just worried about playing this game, winning [Friday]. We owe that guy [Jennings] a win. We need to get back on the right track."

May 20, 2015

Jennings searching for hittin' lickin' good lineup; Latos, Gordon and more

On his third day on the job, new manager Dan Jennings shook up the lineup by elevating Marcell Ozuna into the No. 2 hole and dropping Martin Prado in the cleanup spot. The quest, obviously, is to find a combination that can put runs on the board.

"We're looking for a spark, and sometimes you've got to move pieces here or there until you get the right formula," Jennings said. "I'm sure the Colonel tried a lot of recipes before he came up with the secret one for the chicken. So we're going to hopefully keep working it until we find ours."

The Marlins scored just 10 runs in the first five games of the home stand, going 0-5.

"It was a late night here last night, and we went through a lot of different scenarios," Jennings said of a post-mortem coaching pow-wow following Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Diamondbacks. "So this is what we feel like is the best lineup for us today."

Ozuna is no stranger to the No. 2 spot, where he has hit better than .300. Prado also has previous experience in the cleanup position.

Here's how tonight's lineup look: 1. Dee Gordon, 2b; 2. Marcell Ozuna, cf; 3. Giancarlo Stanton rf; 4. Martin Prado 3b; 5. Christian Yelich lf; 6. Michael Morse 1b; 7. Adeiny Hechavarria ss; 8. Jhonatan Solano c; 9. David Phelps 1.

___________________

He's walking around with a left ankle and shin that's heavily taped, and wears a brace on his surgically repaired left knee after having 90 cc's of fluid drained from that knee in spring training. Pitcher Mat Latos hasn't had an easy time getting healthy but still intends to take the mound Thursday for the first time since being struck in his shin by a batted ball in his previous start.

"I'm trying to do this job at 60, 70, 80 percent," Latos said. "(I've) pitched like crap. I'm tired of it, to be honest with you. It's something I've got to go through. I'm out there trying to compete, and not being 100 percent -- or 90 percent -- is not the greatest thing. Once I started to get right, I took a line drive off the leg, and now I've got to deal with that. It affects me more than what people would really know. I have to deal with putting all my weight on that leg when I go to throw."

But Latos said he's "good enough to go" even though there's "tightness in there, there's bruising."

"Like I've said before, it's going to take me a missing limb for me not to be able to make a start," he said. "I'll be out there every fifth day, giving it 110 percent for as long as I can."

_______________

Carter Capps believes he's toned down his odd delivery, though it remains a work in progress. The hard-throwing, right-handed reliever was called for illegal pitches while with Triple A New Orleans due to a delivery in which he kicks off the rubber with his hind foot well before he releases the ball.

"I tried to make everything simpler and be more relaxed, and make it a little more fluid, minimize the jumping aspect of it," Capps said. "Other than that, it feels pretty comfortable right now. I'm still working on it. It's a daily thing and I'm sure it will be a daily thing for a while. As far as I'm concerned, it shouldn't be an issue anymore."

_______________

Dee Gordon tried unsuccessfully to drop down a two-strike bunt in his first at bat on Tuesday, fouling off the attempt and striking out. Though it's an unconventional approach, Gordon said he's "done it plenty of times before," just not with the Marlins this season.

"I think I've gone like 5 for 10 doing it," Gordon said.

May 18, 2015

Ozuna scratched from Marlins lineup to deal with personal issue; Jennings talks Bour, Morse platoon

It's been a busy day at the office for the Marlins.

New skipper Dan Jennings has already made an interesting move with the first lineup and had to make changes to it not longer after the ink dried on it.

The interesting move: Jennings has given Justin Bour his first start of the season in the cleanup spot, giving the struggling Michael Morse another day off. Bour has been hot this season, batting .440 with one homer and three RBI in a limited role (four starts) under previous manager Mike Redmond

The change that had to be made: Center fielder Marcell Ozuna was scratched from the lineup. He had to leave the team to go deal with a personal issue. President of Baseball Operations Mike Hill said the Marlins don't believe Ozuna will be out longer than a day or two.

As for starting Bour, Jennings said: "Trying to create some left-right leverage in the lineup. Let’s see what happens."

"As I told these guys there are 13 position players that are going to be utilized," Jennings continued. "We’ll get days off. We’ll utilize the bench, we’ll rest our regulars and we all need to be ready to contribute when the bell rings. Go with hot hands, go with matchups. There's a lot of things to look at."

As for Morse, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal in the off-season and his hitting .210 with three homers and 11 RBI, Jennings said: "Michael Morse is a winner. We have the utmost confidence in him.

"He is going through something right now that he is struggling offensively," Jennings continued. "Every player goes through it some time during each year. He will be fine. We believe in him. That’s his position at first base. Now it’s just a matter of ironing out the kinks and getting the swing right to where the rhythm and production are there."

Will there be a platoon at first base? "We’ll read into that as the season unfolds," Jennings said. "Right now Justin has come up and done very very well for this ball club. As I said, we believe in Michael Morse. We know his ability. He’s a lifetime very productive major league hitter. Right now it’s a hot hand situation until Mike gets his swing ironed out, and I know he will."

> Jennings said his plan is to stick with AJ Ramos as his closer for now. Redmond had said he might use others in the closer's role.

"We’ll try  to get Shrek some work," Jennings said of former closer Steve Cishek. "I thought he made some great strides the other day on the mechanical thing that he needed to get fixed. We will look to continue to get him the work and continue to iron that out."

> Jennings said he expects pitcher Mat Latos, who was nailed in his right shin by a comebacker Saturday, to make his next scheduled start Thursday. "He’s got an ugly looking bruise," Jennings said. "But he’s mentally a tough guy.'

TRADING IN THE COAT FOR JERSEY

Jennings said he received over 300 text messages from people around baseball after they heard of his moving from the front office to the dugout.

"I’ve read maybe 20," he said. "They are very positive, a lot of encouragement. I’m pulling for you DJ, it’s a bold move. For the most part very favorable, and I’m very appreciative."

Jennings said it felt good to put on a uniform rather than the front office coat and tie.

"I had some stares and catcalls, which is to be expected," Jennings said. "When I was a scout we had to put them on. We had different tryout camps and functions. I would say until about 1998, 99, that I put them on at that time. Even as a scouting director in Tampa there would be times that I would uni up during instrucitonal league and things of that nature."

Asked if he feels like a rookie manager, Jennings said: "I feel like a rookie manager and an experienced baseball man."

Loria to USA Today: "We're supposed to be the Fish. The Marlins. We shouldn't be the Flounders."

Owner Jeffrey Loria was notably absent from Monday's press conference to introduce Dan Jennings as the club's new manager. But Loria did talk to Bob Nightengale of USA Today over the phone Monday.

"People like to say this is controversial, different, outside the box,'' Loria said in a telephone interview with USA TODAY Sports. "I can't think of anyone better suited for this job than him. There was a tremendous lack of energy and fire in that clubhouse and dugout. We needed to bring some life in there.

 "We needed more accountability, more energy, more fire, more communication, and Dan fills all of those roles. 

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the team wasn't performing,'' Loria continued. "Everybody in baseball can see it. A lot of players lost accountability, and structure was lacking.

"We're supposed to be the Fish. The Marlins. We shouldn't be the Flounders.

"A Marlin isn't a flounder. We've got to get it going.''

Loria said he was only part of the decision making process to get rid of Redmond and make Jennings the manager.

"My interest is winning, and giving the players the best opportunity to win, period,'' Loria told USA Today. "You just have to understand that people are just people. I've been saying this for 26 years, skills translate. Talent translates.

"We made great commitments to this team, so you know the talent is very high. Dan is very imaginative, very creative, with a high baseball IQ.

"This is going to be fun to watch.''

Samson discusses why Redmond was fired, why Jennings was managerial choice

Marlins President David Samson spent 10 minutes answer questions about why the organization decided to fire Mike Redmond and make the unconventional move of replacing him with general manager Dan Jennings.

Here's a transcript of the conversation:

Q: Does this move show a weakness of stability in the organization?
"We've had stability on the manager's seat however from our standpoint this is a move about stability and continuity. Staying in house with a different voice and his ability and go in and seamlessly take over. That builds stability and continuity. I recognize people may look at this and say he's not qualified. But we're with him every day. We know that he's qualified and we know how right it felt when we came to the conclusion he should be the manager. So we're not as worried about the lack of experience between the lines because he's managed thousands of games in his career. He's got a very experienced bench coach. We've talked about the mechanical issues of managing. That he'll be able to put the right arm when there's a lefty or righty, lineup cards, double switches, going to the umpire for things like that. His ability to get the respect and the most out of the 25 guys that's the only issue. Not his experience. Not how many games he's managed. Literally can he get 25 guys to perform at the extent of their ability and Dan can do that."

Q: Said this change of manager started to come up after the 3-11 start. Was there nothing Mike could have done to save his job?
"I meant it -- we talk everyday. We talk amongst the three of us every day. We talk to Jeffrey almost every day. We talk after every win, every loss. We see trends and our job is to see things before they happen. We did not see the 3-11 coming. So once it was in front of us we were not fooled necessarily by what happened after, which was 9-1. We saw things that were not the way we needed them to be for sustained winning. So we started talking. And like we do we came to a conclusion which is a change has to be made and only if you have the right person. And there was only one right person. And when it came to us, it just came naturally. And that helped."

Q: What lacked in Red's leadership?
"I don't think it was Red's leadership that was lacking. I think that sometimes -- the old story a turnaround specialist may be different than the person needed once the turnaround is ready for its next phase. I think that may be something I got wrong. Red was really great turning it around and navigating through is '13. I may have been wrong for the same voice continuing that process."

Q: But you gave Redmond an extension through 2017 last September. Why?
"I think what changed during the off-season we made a longer commitment to Red and one would say that 38 games in that's not stability or continuity. My answer is that that extension was more in our mind of our view of Red the man and Red the manager and rewarding him for the job he has done. But all of us are signed to 2018 and there's still going to be questions that come up for Mike, for DJ, continued every year. So just because your extended it doesn't mean the question stopped."

Q: Stanton said team wasn't playing with enough fire, was he right?
"You know the results speak for themselves. From Giancarlo's standpoint, he's the leader of this team. He's the face of this team. He's signed longer than all of us combined. So what he says matters. And what he has to do is understand is what it means to be the face and the leader of this team. And he's made unbelievable strides in that regard. He is our leader. When he says things like that, you listen. That wasn't about Red. It was about the situation. It was a frustration he felt and our job with Giancarlo is to separate a game result versus the overall issue. I think the conclusion that we came to as the front office is that a new voice was needed."

Q: Some fans may say the Marlins couldn't find anybody else?
"No. I would look at it the opposite. I would say sometimes the greatest things in life are right next to you and you may just not know it. And we were very careful not to be blinded by someone with 30 years experience or 20 years or someone who had recently been released or not released. When you think what you have right with you is the best, there's no reason to do something else. And when we thought about what we needed at this moment, we came to the conclusion that Dan Jennings was the right man."

Q: What was your biggest hesitation about making Jennings the manager?
"Our biggest hesitation was Dan making sure that Dan felt it. He had to feel it and make sure that he could get 25 guys to feel it too, and he can. So that was the hesitation."

Q: How much was having lack of experience taken into account?
"It's certainly a part of it and when Mike Goff was named bench coach, there's a reason for that. Mike Goff, who has experience in the dugout, can slow the game down. The game's going to be fast. It goes quickly. Sixth inning on it's going 100 miles an hour. And when you've got someone in there that can slow it down that helps. But we manage every game during the game and maybe a little differently than others."

Q: Is manager of the clubhouse more important than the game itself?
"I think managing the clubhouse is a critical role to get the best out of your employees and your players. I think most of what people do as a managing editor of a newspaper, you want to get the most out of the people writing the articles. I want to get the most out of our employees. That is a critical job of being manager and that's the number 1 thing Dan brings. The Xs and Os of it I'm very confident in his ability."

Q: You're still paying Ozzie Guillen and now have to pay Mike. Did that factor at all?
"It was not a factor at all. Not a factor at all."

Q: Previous managerial sources it led you to hire guys that didn't work out, why do you think your due diligence on Dan will produce different results?
"The process of getting to Dan may have been a little different than in previous managerial choices. It was literally organic how it happened. We were sitting around -- me and Mike and Dan and we were talking and sometimes it just hits you. And it did. I'm not sure other managerial processes go that way. And to the credit of Mike and DJ and Jeffrey letting this process happen the way it happened I think will be to the benefit of this team."

Q: Who did it hit first? Who said it first? Do you remember?
"I do. It hit us all. That's the right way to say it. Listen, we're all responsible. But it didn't finish until Dan slept on it. But when Mike and I approached him it came to Jeffrey immediately as well and it just fit."

Q: So Jennings had to be convinced to take the job?
"No. What he said is he wanted to make sure in his mind that it was the right decision for the team. And, he was pretty sure given how we all came up with it. But he wanted to think about it over a night, two nights and nothing ever wavered from our standpoint."

Q: Did you talk to Stanton or any other players?
"No."

Q: Was it alarming when Stanton said the team was lacking fire?
"No."
Q: Was it a factor?
"It wasn't a factor or alarming. It was a fact."

Q: Sunday's near no-hitter play a role?
"Zero. Yesterday's outcome had nothing to do with this decision."

Q: So 3-11 had more to do with it?
"This decision started to be made at 3-11 when we started taking a look at the mistakes. Believe me, Mike, DJ and I are just as responsible as Mike Redmond. Right now Mike Redmond lost his job as manager. But the fact is we put this team together and we are now in the clubhouse. There's no where else to look anymore. We're running out of layers."

Q: Will Jennings keep the GM title?
"He's the manager now. He'll be the manager. But his involvement will be much more than that of other managers in that we use him for evaluate purposes, for trades, signings. But as far as the day-to-day, what he was doing will be managed by other people in the organization like Dan Noffsinger, who will be working closely with us, but will be even more active now."

Q: Will anybody have the title of GM?
"No."

Q: Is there a scenario where at the end of this season you guys decide Jennings wasn't the right manager and he goes back to GM?

"Yes. He'll be evaluated just like we're all. At the end of the year we do an evaluation from the bottom up and top down. And that will continue regardless of how long the contract is."

Q: Was there ever a point in the conversation where you said this is so out of the box people won't digest it?
"No. We don't think about it that way because we're doing it. We look at what we think is best and we're responsible if it works or doesn't work. So we actually don't factor in outside opinion when it comes to that sort of thing. When you have a situation like we had -- when there is a true public issue not sports related. That's a different story. This to me is not that, not even in the same zip code as that."

May 17, 2015

Redmond becomes fifth Marlins skipper Loria has fired in last 13 years

The Marlins on Sunday fired manager Mike Redmond after a 16-22 start to the season and announced they will introduce their new skipper Monday morning at a press conference.

Who could it be? There are a lot of guesses out there, but we're told the Marlins were looking for someone with big league managerial experience. Possible candidates who fit that bill: former Astros manager and Marlins third base coach Bo Porter, who is coaching third base for the Braves this season, and recently fired Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.

Another name to keep in mind is current outfield/third base coach Brett Butler, who has several years of minor league managerial experience under his belt and is well liked in the organization. 

Redmond, who signed a three-year extension through 2017 back in September, became the fifth manager under owner Jeffrey Loria to get the axe joining Jeff Torberg, Joe Girardi, Fredi Gonzalez, and Ozzie Guillen. Redmond and Guillen will still be collecting paychecks through the rest of this season from the Marlins (Redmond through 2017).

Here's a look at the eight different guys who have managed the Marlins under Loria for the last 13 years.

> Jeff Torborg (2002-03): Managed 200 games and compiled a 95-105 record. He was fired 38 games into 2003 season when the Marlins were 16-22. That team went on to win the World Series.

> Jack McKeon (2003-05): Managed 448 games and compiled a 241-207 record, winning a World Series in 2003. After the Marlins won the last game of the 2005 season, McKeon announced he would not be returning. He led the Marlins to three of the six winning seasons in franchise history.
 
> Joe Girardi (2006): Managed 162 games and compiled a 78-84 record. He was fired despite winning the Manager of the Year award in baseball for keeping the Marlins, a team with a $15 million payroll, in contention in the wild card race. Is now managing the Yankees.
 
> Fredi Gonzalez (2007-10): Managed 555 games and compiled a 276-279 record. He was fired 70 games into the 2010 season with the Marlins at 34-36. Is managing the Braves, who swept the Marlins this weekend. 
 
> Edwin Rodriguez (2010-11): Managed 163 games and compiled a 78-85 record. Team was 32-39 and in last place in the N.L. East when he resigned on June 19, 2011.
 
> Brandon Hyde (2011): Served as interim manager for one game before the Marlins announced the return of McKeon as manager for the remaining 90 games of the 2011 season. The team went 40-50 under McKeon the rest of 2011. 
 
> Ozzie Guillen (2012): Managed only one season and went 69-93 before being fired. The Marlins traded two prospects to get Guillen from the White Sox, who was still under contract in Chicago. They also are still paying Guillen what's left of a four-year deal he inked with the team in 2012. He works for ESPN now. 
 
> Mike Redmond (2013-Sunday): Managed 362 games and went 155-207 before being fired on Sunday. The Marlins gave him a three-year contract extension through 2017 after going 77-85 with the Marlins in 2014.

May 16, 2015

Stanton belts 478-foot monster home run; Latos leaves with bruised shin

There were quite a few balls hit hard Saturday afternoon at Marlins Park.

One off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton zoomed an estimated 478-feet at 115 miles per hour and made a fan's day. Another, which traveled far shorter but was hit nearly as hard, left Marlins starting pitcher Mat Latos writhing in pain.

Latos left the game in the fourth inning Saturday with a bruised left shin after a hot shot off the bat of Cameron Maybin struck him there. Latos, who was tended to by trainers and took a few minutes to gather himself before walking off under his own power, is listed as day-to-day according to the Marlins.

Stanton's solo blast at the start of the third inning off Braves starter Alex Wood landed in the bare hand of 29-year-old Marlins fan and West Palm Beach native Ryan Mont, who was sitting in section 134 in the second deck in center field.

"We didn't think it was going to come as far as it did," Mont said. "And then I just leaned over and put out my hand. I didn't think I was going to catch it. I just figured try. At first it didn't hurt because of the adrenaline, but now it hurts."

It was the first game Mont has attended this season.

Stanton hit a mammoth 474-foot shot off Braves reliever Cody Martin Friday night that landed in the camera well in center field Friday night. That was the third longest homer of his career.

Now, Stanton, who became only the fourth player to hit a ball out of Dodger Stadium earlier this week, has belted six homers in his career longer than 470 feet.

Here's the list:

Stanton's longest HRs
494 feet at Coors Field off Rockies' Josh Roenicke (Aug. 17, 2012)
484 feet at Marlins Park off Padres' Eric Stults (April 4, 2014)
478 feet at Marlins Park off Braves' Alex Wood (May 16, 2015)
474 feet at Marlins Park off Braves' Cody Martin (May 15, 2015)
474 feet at Coors Field off Rockies' Kevin Millwood (Aug. 15, 2011)
470 feet at Marlins Park off Cardinals' Shelby Miller (Aug. 11, 2014)

Alvarez to start Sunday vs. Braves; Cosart's bullpen goes well

Henderson Alvarez won't be making that extra rehab start in the minors after all.

The 2014 All-Star and Marlins' Opening Day starter will be coming off the disabled list and starting Sunday in the series finale against the Braves, Alvarez's first start since he was sidelined with shoulder inflammation on April 12.

What that means for Tom Koehler, who was scheduled to start Sunday, still has to be announced. But the Marlins could go two ways with Koehler. They could push his start back a day to give Jarred Cosart and the rest of the rotation and extra day off. Or, Koehler could be sent to the bullpen, which badly needs some help. 

Cosart, who exited his last start Wednesday in Los Angeles with a cramp in his right hamstring, threw his scheduled bullpen Saturday morning without any issues. He said he expects to make his next scheduled start Tuesday.

"It feels good," Cosart said. "So we’re going to plan on going [Tuesday] I think. I haven’t talked to them. I have to talk to them. But I feel good. So I think they’ll just plug me back in. 

"I ran some sprints, got after it pretty good. It feels good, so just keep the rehab part going for three more days and get ready to go."

Koehler (2-3, 4.62 ERA in seven 2015 starts) has made 63 starts for the Marlins in his career and hasn't made a relief appearance since May 6, 2013. But with David Phelps (2-0, 2.6.8 ERA) pitching well over his six starts including Friday's six inning, three-run effort the Marlins could opt to keep him in the rotation over Koehler for now. That's of course until Jose Fernandez returns sometime after mid-June (Phelps could be the odd man out then). 

Koehler has been a solid pitcher throughout his career through his first three innings of work (opponents have hit just .230 off him; ERA of 3.05). It's the second time through the lineup that usually spells trouble. His career ERA is 5.40 ERA from the fourth through sixth inning on and opponents hit .283 off him. 

The Marlins bullpen was charged with Friday's 5-3 loss to the Braves and could greatly benefit from eventually adding Koehler and Phelps into roles. The current relief group is  6-7 with a 4.59 ERA (24th out of 30 teams). They've also only produced four saves (tied for second-fewest in MLB) in 111 2/3 innings of work (15th out of 30).

"With [Steve] Cishek not closing down games then you got to mix and match," Redmond said of his bullpen after Monday's loss. "Guys are going to be in a bunch of different situations. At the end of the day it comes down to who can execute and who can get outs and help us win ball games."