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72 posts from May 2008

May 20, 2008

Tuesday's lineup and Amezaga cornrolls

Here's Tuesday''s lineup, which still has Alfredo Amezaga leading off and Hanley Ramirez hitting third.

Amezaga spent the off-day getting a new hair style, and showed up Tuesday with cornrolls.Luis Gonzalez, who has the locker next to Amezaga, laughed out loud and said "what is that?'' when he saw Amezaga.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez was sitting in the dugout when the Marlins came out to stretch. Fredi leaned over to get a better look.

"Is that Amezaga? What are those, dreads,'' Fredi asked.

"I didn't know he was going to do that. I wish he had told me I would have done (his hair) for him,'' joked Fredi.

Here are the lineups:

Marlins:

Amezaga CF

Hermida LF

Ramirez SS

Jacobs 1B

Uggla 2B

Cantu 3B

Gonzalez LF

Treanor C

Hendrickson P

Diamondbacks

Young CF

Ojeda SS

Hudson 2B

Jackson 1B

Upton RF

Byrnes LF

Reynolds 3B

Snyder C

Owings P

May 19, 2008

Jacque Jones signs with Marlins

As expected, Jacque Jones signed with the Marlins. They gave him a minor league contract, but that will change when he joins the club, which will probably be this weekend.

The Marlins want Jones to see some live pitching so they sent him to Jupiter to join their extended spring team. This way he can leadoff every innings and get 6 or 7 t-bats a day.

Even when Jones joins the big league club, he will get a pro-rated contract in the $280,000 range.

The Marlins attempted to trade for the outfielder last year when Jones was with the Cubs, but the Cubs pulled the plug on the deal at the last minute.

May 18, 2008

Observations about Andino

The Marlins used Robert Andino as a pinch-hitter in the third inning Sunday, and in all likelhood it was Andino's last at-bat with the big league club for a while. With the addition of Jacque Jones the most likely roster move will be to send Andino to Triple A Albuquerque to make room for Jones. The Marlins won't need Andino as their utility infielder, because Alfredo Amezaga, who has been platooning with Cody Ross in centerfield, will move back to his utility role.

Andino, who walked Sunday, is hitting .182 and is 0 for his last 14 at-bats with 12 strikeouts.

Jacque Jones to become a Marlin

Jacque Jones will soon be playing center field for the Marlins. According to a Major League source, the Marlins are about to sign Jones, who was released by the Detroit Tigers earlier this season. The Marlins are expected to make an announcement in the next 48 hours.

The Marlins have been using the platoon of Cody Ross and Alfredo Amezaga in center field. Jones was hitting .165 when the Tigers released him. He is alifetime .278 hitter, and hit .285 with five home runs and 66 RBI with the Cubs in 2007.

No fine for Helms

It was best-laid-plans-of-mice-and-men stuff for the Marlins Saturday night when pinch-hitter Wes Helms missed a sign and attempted to bunt in the seventh inning. After failing to put down a bunt, Helms faced an 0-2 count and hit a three-run homer to lift the Marlins to a 5-3 lead.

"No I'm not going to fine him,'' joked Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.

Helms said "I would have been glad to pay a fine.''

It was Helms' sixth pinch-hit home of his career.

"The pinch hit home runs mean a lot more to me,'' he said.

Helms met with Marlins third base coach Bo Porter immediately and the innnig to talk about what went wrong.

Gonzalez said Sunday morning that because teams are always trying to steal signs, it forces him to always change the signs.

"Every team does it their way,'' Gonzalez said. "When I was in high school (Southridge High) my coach had a sign for every kid on the team. I was 14 years old and I'm trying to keep up with that,'' he said smiling.

"Yeah, I missed signs when I was 14. I'm 44 and I till miss signs.''

Sunday lineups

Hot and sunny Sunday and thousands of empty orange seats glowing in the sunshine.

Here are the lineups for Sunday's game:

Marlins

Amezaga CF

Hermida RF

Ramirez SS

Jacobs 1B

Uggla 2B

Cantu 3B

Gonzalez LF

Treanor C

Badenhop P

KC

DeJesus CF

Grudzielanek 2B

Gordo 3B

Guillen LF

Teahen RF

Butler 1B

Olivo C

Pena SS

Greinke P

May 17, 2008

Jake's triple

If there were any justice in baseball, Mike Jacobs would have been awarded a home run on the ball he hit in the fourth inning Saturday night. OK, OK, the ball was dropped right in front of the right field wall, but it was a typical Jacobs' rainbow shot. Jake even admired it a bit at the plate, thinking he had hit his 10th homer.

We only suggest he be given (and we do mean given) a homer, because in his last start back on May 7, Jacobs hit a ball that hit the rail above the yellow stripe on the wall in right field. The ball cleared the yellow stripe, which means it is a home run, but the umpire (a Triple A ump who was filling in) ruled the ball in play and Jacobs had to settle for a double.

Jacobs left that game with a tight right quadriceps and made his first start since Saturday. It took him two at-bats to drive one to the wall. He was robbed of an extra base hit in his first at-bat when center fielder Joey Gathright ran down his drive in left-center. Gathright almost robbed Jacobs in the fourth. He ran a mile to get to right center and made a leaping effort at the wall. Right fielder David DeJesus also went for the ball and the two outfielders collided and the ball left Gathright's glove.

Jacobs, who had joked Friday about never being able to hit a triple, ended up at third. It was his first triple of the season.

Those darn Nats

The Marlins didn't get back into town from their recent road trip in Cincinnati until well after 1 a.m. Friday morning. That's about right after a night game, but their final game in Cincy was called off because of rain at 5:30 p.m.

The holdup?

Blame the Washington Nationals.

The Marlins' charter flight home was the same plane that took the Nationals, who played a day game Thursday, from Washington to New York. The Nationals left about 5:30 p.m. from D.C., but got stuck because there were 30 planes ahead of them.

The Marlins had to wait for the Nats to land in New York, and left Cincy after 11 p.m..

Don't blame Miller for being a Heel

It took Andrew Miller about an hour to drive from his home in Weston to Coral Gables, but he made the drive Saturday so he could see his alma mater North Carolina play Miami in a showdown between the top two teams in the country.

He even signed a few baseballs at Mark Light, where Miller watched the first two innings of the game before heading to Dolphin Stadium.

“Nobody said anything awful. They honored my allegiance,’’ said Miller, who wore a Tar Heel blue colored polo shirt.

“It took forever for them to play that game,’’ he said of the 12-11 North Carolina victory.  “But you have the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country, so both teams have real good lineups and they (have aluminum bats). That’s college baseball – ding!’’

Yes, this is interleague play

By MIKE PHILLIPS

mphillips@miamiherald.com

The idea is for Hanley Ramirez, whose 6-year, $70 million deal became official Saturday, to grow into a superstar.

Ramirez admits he is growing daily, especially since pitchers are attacking him differently, and throwing him fewer strikes.

“They are pitching me differently,’’ said Ramirez, who isn’t seeing as many strikes this season. He added that he hasn’t been hitting well of late, because of a lack of patience.

“I’m trying to do too much (lately),’’ he said. “That’s what I keep telling myself. You have to stay back and wait for your pitch. I haven’t been doing that.’’

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he appreciates his young star’s attitude.

“We saw it last year with Miguel Cabrera, and we all think Cabrera is a pretty good hitter, right,’’ Gonzalez said with a smile. “We saw it where Cabrera started expanding the strike zone and that’s when you get into hitting slumps. Ask any hitting coach and (he’ll tell you) you usually get into hitting slumps when you start swinging at bad pitches.

“I’m glad (Hanley) recognizes that,’’ he said. ”I know we have talked to him about that, and told him it’s OK to walk. You walk, steal a base and score a run…and we win.

“The way I feel (about Hanley) is that it doesn’t matter if he is hitting in the first hole, the second hole, the ninth hole that he is not going to get as many pitches to hit.

“I think pitchers are pitching him differently,’’ Gonzalez said. “Every team goes into their advance meetings and say we’re not going to let this guy beat us, and that’s the way it is with Hanley.’’

Mike Jacobs, who hadn’t starter since he injured his right quadriceps May 7, started at first base Saturday. The Marlins have been without Jacobs and Josh Willingham, who is on the disabled list with a sore back, but they have not seen a drop in run production.

“Everybody else been doing a pretty decent job, and (Dan) Uggla has put his on his back and carried us,’’ Gonzalez said. “Scoring runs has not been a problem, and usually you lose your fourth and fifth hitter and you are going to scuffle scoring runs, but the other guys have kept us in it.’’

Brett Tomko, who started Friday for Kansas City, forgot he was pitching in an interleague game.

And it might have cost him a run. Matt Treanor hit a two-out RBI double in the fourth to close the score to 4-2. Tomko said later if he had known he was pitching in a National League park with NL rules he would have probably pitched around Treanor, the eighth hitter in the lineup.

“I got so locked into the American League mode I forgot the pitcher was on deck,’’ Tomko said. “I probably would have had a little better pitch selection to Treanor with the pitcher coming up.’’