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,'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.


July 24, 2016

Reports: Wei-Yin Chen will not start Monday; Jarred Cosart to take his place

            Multiple reports on social media late Saturday night indicated that Wei-Yin Chen would be scratched from his next scheduled start Monday against the Phillies.

            The reports stated that Jarred Cosart would be called up from the minors to start Monday in his place.

Chen was the only starting pitcher not seen in the Marlins’ clubhouse following Saturday’s 7-2 win over the Mets.

Chen, whom the Marlins signed to a five-year, $80 million deal in the offseason, is 5-4 with a 4.99 ERA in 19 starts this season. Cosart would make his fourth start of this season and first since April 22 in San Francisco. Cosart went 0-1 with a 7.98 ERA his first three starts before being sent to Triple-A on April 26.

Cosart spent a month on the minor-league DL with a strained oblique and has gone 3-4 with a 4.09 ERA in 10 starts for New Orleans since his demotion.

July 11, 2016

Johnny Cueto, not Jose Fernandez, chosen as starting pitcher in All-Star Game, Marcell Ozuna will hit 7th

            SAN DIEGO – Jose Fernandez said this weekend he’s just excited to pitch in the All-Star Game.

On Monday morning, it was announced Fernandez won’t be as the National League’s starter.

            Mets manager Terry Collins, who will manage the NL squad Tuesday night at Petco Park in San Diego, announced Monday morning that he will go with the Giants’ Johnny Cueto as his starting pitcher.

            Fernandez was believed to be a strong candidate to be chosen as the starter in light of a few of the NL’s best – Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg – all out of the game.

            But Collins went with Cueto, who is 13-1 in 18 starts this season with a 2.47 ERA that ranks only behind Kershaw (1.79) and Bumgarner (1.94) for the best in the majors.

            Cueto, who pitched for the Royals against Collins’ Mets in last year’s World Series, will become the first Dominican-born pitcher to start the All-Star Game since Ubaldo Jimenez in 2010. Cueto will oppose the White Sox' Chris Sale, who was chosen as the AL starter.

            “We want to try and get as many of the guys in that were voted by the players and make sure they get in early so we can then sort out the back end of the game a little bit,” Collins said. “We haven’t seen Johnny this year, but his numbers speak for themselves and with what we saw last year against us that was the best outing I’ve ever seen him have.

“We had five very qualified guys and as the game got closer and closer, he continued to dominate the league and I felt he was the right choice.”

            Fernandez, a second-time All-Star who will pitch in his first since his 2013 rookie season, is 11-4 with 154 strikeouts, which ranks second in the majors behind Max Scherzer, and has a 2.52 ERA, which ranks fifth in the majors.

            Fernandez’s 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings ratio is a major-league best and his strikeout total at the break is a Marlins’ franchise record.

            Marcell Ozuna, who was moved into the starting lineup this past weekend following injuries to outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Dexter Fowler, will bat seventh in the NL lineup.

            Ozuna, a first-time All-Star, is in the midst of a major turnaround season, hitting .307 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI.

            A year ago at this time, Ozuna was playing in New Orleans for the Marlins’ Triple-A affiliate after being demoted.

            Marlins’ closer A.J. Ramos (27 saves in 28 chances) is tied for second in the majors in saves and is also a first-time All-Star.

Fernando Rodney, acquired by the Marlins June 30 in a trade with the Padres, could find himself pitching on the home field of his former team. Rodney was picked for the third time in his career largely for his 17 saves in 17 chances and 0.31 ERA as the Padres closer.

            The quartet represents the Marlins highest number of All-Stars since 2005 and matched a team record.

July 05, 2016

Justin Bour sent home for MRI on ankle; Marlins awaiting results to determine if DL stint needed


            Justin Bour was sent back to Miami on Tuesday to undergo an MRI on his ailing right ankle.

            Bour, who missed his third consecutive game, planted his foot awkwardly recording an out at first base this past Saturday in Atlanta. Bour left the game limping shortly after the play.

            Don Mattingly said Bour will miss the remainder of the road trip which concludes Wednesday in New York, and potentially could be placed on the disabled list depending on the results of the MRI.

“Once we get the results, we’ll know,” Mattingly said. “He could come back but seems unlikely for [Wednesday]. For our next series before the break, we’d like to have a chance to use him. If not we would retro him to when it happened and he'd go on the DL."

June 30, 2016

Miami Marlins acquire veteran closer Fernando Rodney in trade with San Diego Padres

ATLANTA -- The Marlins aren't waiting for July to roll around to upgrade their pitching staff. The team announced Thursday that it has acquired veteran right-handed reliever Fernando Rodney from San Diego for Single A pitcher Chris Paddack.

The 39-year-old Rodney has been sensational this season for the Padres. Rodney boasts a 0.31 ERA in 28 appearances for the Padres. He has 17 saves.

Rodney would strengthen the back end of the Marlins bullpen, adding to a mix that includes A.J. Ramos, Kyle Barraclough and David Phelps. Over his 14-year major league career, Rodney has gone 37-56 with a 3.58 ERA in 728 relief appearances. He led the majors with 48 saves in 2014 when he was with Seattle.

Yet to be determined is what the addition of Rodney would do to Ramos, who has converted all 24 save opportunities this season. But Rodney has closed most of his career, and Ramos would most likely move into a set-up role who can also spot-close if needed.

Rodney would be a relatively low-cost upgrade in terms of payroll. The Marlins would pick up the pro-rated portion of his 2016 salary of $1.6 million and a team option for $2 million should they decide to keep him next season.

Paddack has been lights out at Single A Greensboro, going 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA. He has struck out 48 batters in 28 1/3 innings. He was the Marlins' 8th-round draft pick in 2015. Paddack has been just about un-hittable, giving up just nine hits to go with a pair of walks. He hasn't allowed a hit over his past three starts (15 innings) for Greensboro.

The Marlins are continuing to shop for starting pitching, as well. One name that can now be crossed off the list is Bud Norris. Atlanta traded him to the Dodgers on Thursday.