September 26, 2016

To honor Jose Fernandez, Marlins will wear his No. 16 tonight

     To honor Jose Fernandez, all Marlins players will wear his No. 16 tonight when they face the New York Mets.

     Sources said other tributes to Fernandez, who died early Sunday in a boating accident, were still in the planning stages.

     Fans continued to leave flowers and candles near the main turnstiles as a tribute to the Marlins pitching star.

     Following Sunday's emotional news conference at Marlins Park, players and team officials traveled by bus to offer their condolences to Fernandez's mother and grandmother.

September 17, 2016

Johnny Bench offers Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto some interesting advice

PHILADELPHIA -- When Johnny Bench talks, you listen.

Especially if, like Bench, you’re a catcher from Oklahoma.

“Everybody back home knows who Johnny Bench is,” said Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, who also hails from the Sooner State.

BenchBut even Realmuto was surprised at the novel advice the Hall of Fame catcher gave him when the two met during spring training.

“He told me — which is probably not great advice for everybody — to make sure in batting practice you take at least one round (of swings) and try to hit home runs,” Realmuto said.

Said Bench to Realmuto: “In my opinion, if you don’t practice it, you’re never going to be able to do it. So make sure you take one round and try to go deep, every single pitch, no matter where it’s at. Try to go deep.”

Bench ranks second all-time among catchers with 389 home runs.

Realmuto doesn’t have Bench’s power. But he’s no lightweight, either, with 10 home run each of the past two seasons.

The two catchers compare in other ways, though.

According to STATS LLC, Realmuto became the fifth catcher, along with Bench, to record at least 260 hits, 50 doubles and 20 homers in their first two full seasons in the majors. The others: Benito Santiago, Kenji Johjima and Russell Martin.

“That’s awesome, to be able to categorize with a guy like that,” Realmuto said. “It’s just the first two seasons, and obviously (I have) a long ways to go. But it’s pretty special.”

As for taking Bench’s advice on batting practice, Realmuto wasn’t so sure.

“Yes and no,” Realmuto replied when asked whether he practices what Bench preaches. “ Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. But I thought that was a funny piece of advice, because of the way he thinks. It’s definitely different than most people. It was pretty cool just to chat with him, though.”

-- The Marlins just missed equaling a franchise record in Friday’s 13-inning loss when they used 24 players. The team record of 25 players used in a game was set Sept. 9, 1999, in a 13-inning win over the Dodgers.
-- Over his past seven relief outings, Fernando Rodney has allowed nine earned runs on 12 hits and seven walks in 5 1/3 innings. Rodney had an 0.31 ERA when the Marlins acquired him in their trade with San Diego. With the Marlins, his ERA is 5.97.

September 16, 2016

Miami Marlins need a Hail Mary to reach playoffs

PHILADELPHIA -- The postseason picture is bleak for the Marlins, who are four back in the Wild Card race with 16 games remaining. They have about a two percent chance of pulling it off, according to ESPN calculations. One team executive I spoke with figured the Marlins would have to go 13-3 the rest of the way for there to be any chance of it happening.

The team's best 16-game stretch at any point during the season was a 12-4 run in late April and early May. So, essentially, the Marlins would have to play their best baseball of the season and hope that at least two of the three teams ahead of them in the Wild Card fray -- the Giants, Mets and Cardinals -- finish poorly. That's a lot to hope for.

But it's not impossible. It's not enough for the Marlins to win their five remaining series (two with the Nationals and one each with the Mets, Braves and Phillies). They're going to need to sweep two or three, and one of those must include their three-game set in Miami against the Mets on Sept. 26-28.

While a Wild Card berth is highly unlikely, the team's first winning record since 2009 is still within the realm. The Marlins enter their weekend series against the Phillies with a 73-73 record, and have nine games remaining against teams with winning records. But three of those will come on the final weekend of the season against the first-place Nationals, who have all but clinched the N.L. East and could be resting their stars in preparation for postseason play.

September 05, 2016

Justin Bour close to being activated from the DL

Justin Bour could be on the active roster later today.

After being listed as a reserve on the lineup card for Monday's 1:10 p.m. game against the Phillies, Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Bour could be activated by game time or soon after.

Shortly before the game, Mattingly said it was a matter of making room for Bour on the active roster.

"He's looked really good out there taking ground balls and batting practice," Mattingly said. "It's getting to the point where we feel like we want to activate him, and just have him available."

Mattingly said Bour, who hasn't played since July 2 with a high ankle sprain, would be used in a pinch-hitting/reserve role.

 

Bour hurt his ankle during a game in Atlanta when he stepped on first base awkwardly. He then dealt with further setbacks including an Achilles issue in the weeks that followed.

Bour hit .268 with 15 home runs and 46 RBI in 68 games before the injury.

August 31, 2016

David Phelps lands on DL with oblique strain

NEW YORK -- David Phelps was supposed to be on the mound tonight at Citi Field. Instead, he landed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain. The Marlins called up right-hander Jake Esch to take Phelps' place in what will mark his major league debut.

Phelps said he sustained the injury while taking batting practice on Tuesday.

"I actually did it in the batting cage yesterday," Phelps said. "First swing. I just felt something, shut it down. My initial reaction and our initial thought was I would maybe miss one start."

The Marlins waited to see how Phelps felt when he woke up this morning before making a decision.

"Woke up, it was still stiff," Phelps said. "So they decided to put me on the DL."

Phelps said his arm his fine and that he expects to resume throwing in about four days. If all goes well, he'll miss no more than two starts.

"The silver lining would have been if it had happened on Sept. 1 (when rosters expand) and you wouldn't have had to worry about a DL stint," Phelps said. "But it's Aug. 31, so we've got to make a roster move. My arm's perfectly healthy."

Esch is a former 11th-round pick for the Marlins and has gone 12-10 with a 4.31 ERA this season for Double A Jacksonville and Triple A New Orleans.

 

 

August 09, 2016

A.J. Ramos lands on DL with broken finger

The Marlins, who avoided the injury bug the first half of the season, haven't been as fortunate the second half. Having already lost starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and first baseman Justin Bour to injuries, the Marlins were dealt another blow on Tuesday when closer A.J. Ramos was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured finger on his pitching hand.

Suddenly, a bullpen that looked capable all not long ago appears vulnerable. Not only is Ramos out, but David Phelps has moved into a starting role to shore up the rotation. The Marlins have a ninth-inning fallback in Fernando Rodney. But the sequence of late-inning set-up relievers becomes more suspect.

It's uncertain how much time Ramos is likely to miss. His DL assignment is retroactive to Saturday, the day he last pitched. But a broken finger is obviously not a good thing. Ramos jammed his right hand during the previous home stand and tried pitching through it -- to mixed results. Though he never offered it as an excuse, it was clearly a factor in his Wrigley Field meltdown last week.

The Marlins on Tuesday made a couple of moves to a bullpen that was taxed during Monday's 14-inning marathon. Hunter Cervenka, who was acquired from the Braves over the weekend, was optioned to Triple A New Orleans after making only two relief appearances. The Marlins recalled right-handed rookie Austin Brice from Double A Jacksonville and selected the contract of veteran left-hander Chris Narveson, who was on the club at the start of the season.

August 07, 2016

Did Stanton really hit longest HR in Coors Field history? You be the judge

DENVER -- No matter how you measure it, Giancarlo Stanton's home run Saturday off Chad Bettis was a BOMB.

The ball was crushed, landing about two-thirds of the way up in the left-center field bleachers. Within minutes, MLB.com's Statcast, which uses sophisticated equipment to measure distances, pegged it at 504 feet. If that figure is accurate -- and there's no reason to believe that it isn't -- it would make it the longest home run ever hit at Coors, surpassing Mike Piazza's 496-foot shot here in 1997 and Stanton's own 494-footer in 2012.

But wait a second. Take a look at the video evidence. Was Stanton's home run REALLY longer than Piazza's? Or even his own?

Here's Stanton's from last night:

 

Now take a look at Piazza's, which landed on the concourse in center:

And here's Stanton's home run at Coors in 2012:

The equipment used to measure home run distances was not nearly as sophisticated then as it is now, so who knows whether Piazza's 496-foot shot was truly a 496-footer, or whether it was even longer.

But is sure doesn't look like Stanton hit the longest home run in Coors Field history last night.

August 06, 2016

Miami Marlins acquire lefty relief specialist Hunter Cervenka from Atlanta Braves

DENVER -- It wasn't a sleepy Saturday for the Marlins, who pulled off another deal to bolster their bullpen for a postseason push.

The Marlins acquired lefty relief specialist Hunter Cervenka from the Braves for a couple of prospects, infielder Anfernee Seymour and left-handed pitcher Michael Mader.

CervenkaCervenka's numbers have been impressive, especially against lefty hitters. In 50 appearances out of the bullpen for the Braves, the 26-year-old rookie has gone 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA. Left-handed batters have hit just .145 against him. He's struck out 35 batters in 34 2/3 innings for Atlanta.

The Marlins are giving up a speedster in Seymour (36 stolen bases for Single A Greensboro) and a lefty minor-league arm in Mader (7-6, 3.50 for Single A Jupiter). Mader was the Marlins' third-round pick in 2014 while Seymour was taken in the seventh round that same year.

Cervenka gives manager Don Mattingly a much-needed lefty specialist he can employ in late-inning matchup situations. The Marlins' incumbent left-hander, Mike Dunn, has never been significantly more effective against left-handers than he was facing right-handed swingers.

No word yet on who the Marlins will take off their 25-man roster to make room for Cervenka.

Saddened Cashner buries beard; MLB looking into Padres trades

DENVER -- When Andrew Cashner says he literally buried his beard after shaving it off to conform to the Marlins' ban on facial hair, believe him. Cashner's father worked in the mortuary business and he used to help him dig the graves and mow the cemetery grass.

"It's a sore subject still," Cashner said of having to shave his bushy beard after the Padres traded him to the Marlins. "I don't like it. But what can you do? I hate shaving. I think my beard is a part of me as a person and who I am."

CashnerCashner isn't the only Marlin who doesn't care for the team's facial hair policy, which was restored before the season after the rule was relaxed for a few years. Players have complained about it privately, but have no choice in the matter. A rule is a rule.

Reliever Fernando Rodney was also forced to shave off his beard when he came over to the Marlins in an earlier trade with the Padres. Cashner said he was informed about the rule when owner Jeffrey Loria and president of baseball operations Michael Hill spoke to him by phone after the trade was made with San Diego.

"When I talked to Michael Hill and Jeff Loria, they kind of told me I needed to shave it," Cashner said. "I hate it. But that's the rule here and that's what you've got to do."

Cashner said shaving off a distinctive beard he wore for years wasn't pleasant.

"I shaved it the next day," Cashner said. "It took a while. It's probably one of the saddest days I've ever had. It stinks, but what are you going to do?"

Cashner didn't just wash the stubble down the sink.

"I buried it," he said.

The clean-shaven Cashner will be making his second start for the Marlins tonight when they face the Rockies at Coors Field. The Marlins obtained him as a two-month rental in their bid to reach the postseason. And, from the sounds of it, a rental Cashner will always be unless the Marlins relax their policy on facial hair. Cashner, who will be making his second start for the Marlins tonight, can become a free agent after the season.

"That'll be the nice thing about free agency, kind of choose a place that (allows facial hair)," Cashner said. "It's a big deal to me."

_________________

Major League Baseball is taking a look at the Colin Rea trade, which went up in flames when the pitcher suffered a season-ending arm injury in his very first start with the Marlins.

According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the league is looking into whether the Padres failed to disclose an existing injury with Rea before trading him to the Marlins, along with Cashner. Olney's sources told him Rea informed the Marlins he was receiving treatment on the arm before the Padres traded him. After Rea's injury came to full light, the Marlins traded him back to the Padres for minor-league prospect Luis Castillo.

Rea has since undergone Tommy John surgery.

 

July 29, 2016

Reports: Marlins to acquire Cashner, Rea from Padres

The Marlins aren't just adding one starter to their rotation. They're adding two.

But right-handers Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea aren't coming cheap.

The Marlins are giving up starting pitcher Jarred Cosart, injured reliever Carter Capps, and two of their top minor-league prospects, first baseman Josh Naylor and pitcher Luis Castillo, to complete the deal, according to various reports. The Marlins are also getting minor-league reliever Tayron Guerrero in the deal. Guerrero is a 6-foot-8-inch right-hander who throws in the high 90s.

Cashner (4-7, 4.76) is a two-month rental who will become a free agent after the season. Rea, on the other hand, is under team control through 2021. Rea has gone 5-5 with a 4.98 ERA.

The Marlins have been linked to Cashner for a while. But Rea's name has never been mentioned in any type of trade rumors.

The Marlins have been seeking rotation help for some time in their push to reach the postseason for the first time in 13 years. But there became an even greater urgency when Wei-Yin Chen landed on the disabled list. He is out indefinitely with a sprained left elbow.

The win-now deal for the Marlins is coming at a high price. While Cosart has been a disappointment the past two seasons, Naylor and Castillo represented arguably two of the top three or four prospects in what is a thin farm system -- one that becomes even thinner now. And Capps, while out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, is expected back before the start of 2017 and would have strengthened what is already a strong Marlins bullpen.