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39 posts from March 2010

March 15, 2010

H2R scratched from lineup

JUPITER -- Another day, another Marlins starter suffering from a tight groin. Add shortstop Hanley Ramirez, to the list of guys battling tightness in that special area. 

Ramirez was scratched from the Marlins lineup Monday afternoon about an hour before first pitch against the Twins at Roger Dean Stadium. Marlins officials have listed Ramirez as "day-to-day."

H2R joins outfielders Cody Ross and Cameron Maybin as Marlins who have battled tight groins this spring. Ross is starting in right field Monday, his first start since the spring opener against the Miami Hurricanes. He was the designated hitter in Saturday's game against the Rays. Maybin could return by the end of the week. 

Ramirez, who took batting practice on the field Monday, was replaced in the starting lineup by Donnie Murphy. Speaking of the lineups...

> Twins (5-5): 1. Denard Span CF; 2. Nick Punto 3B; 3. Jaso Kubel RF; 4. Brock Peterson 1B; 5. Delmon Young LF; 6. Wilson Ramos C; 7. Matt Tolbert SS; 8. Alexi Casilla 2B; 9. Francisco Liriano P.
> Marlins (7-4): 1. Emilio Bonifacio CF; 2. Jorge Jimenez 3B; 3. Mike Stanton LF; 4. Dan Uggla 2B; 5. Cody Ross RF; 6. Gaby Sanchez 1B; 7. Ronny Paulino C; 8. Daniel Murphy SS; 9. Chris Volstad P.

Wild West sent down; Ceda heads to Double A

JUPITER -- The battle for the final two spots in the Marlins rotation now has one fewer competitor. 

Sean WestLeft-hander Sean West, who shined at times last season as a rookie, was optioned by the club to Triple A New Orleans Monday morning after he struggled through the first two weeks of the spring with control issues. West, 23, was 8-6 with a 4.79 ERA last season. 

Officially, he was 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA, three walks and one strikeout in one start in the spring. Unofficially, he was a little worse than that. On Saturday, in a 'B game' played in Sarasota against the Orioles, a wild West walked seven in 1 2/3 innings. 

"[We want West to] just pitch and get his command down," manager Fredi Gonzalez said Monday morning. "He came up and won eight games as a young pitcher last year. He will be back -- there's no question in my mind. He's going to be a big part of our rotation. Sometimes, young kids put stuff on themselves. He can get it worked out again and help us out."

West's departure leaves Andrew Miller as the only left-hander who could potentially earn a spot in the rotation.

Monday, Gonzalez talked to reporters as if he was already including Anibal Sanchez with Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco as locks to be in the rotation. Sanchez, who had been struggling a little early in camp, pitched four scoreless innings against the Mets Sunday.

That leaves Miller, Rick VandenHurk, Chris Volstad and Hayden Penn battling for the final two spots. Clay Hensley, who pitched in Triple A for the Astros last season, is a long shot, but has been impressive early in camp with six scoreless innings (5 Ks, 1 BB). Gonzalez said recently that Penn, who is out of options, could make the team as a long relief pitcher/sixth starter. 

> The Marlins also optioned relief pitcher Jose Ceda, signed in the offseason to a minor league contract, to Double A Jacksonville. Ceda was wild in his only out of the spring, hitting two batters, and giving up an earned run on two hits.

> Gonzalez said "running the bases will be the last hurdle" for outfielder Cameron Maybin (groin) before he possibly returns this weekend. Maybin will run from first to third on Tuesday. Catcher John Baker (strained forearm) will "throw to the bases " Thursday and could catch for the first time this spring this weekend. Baker could get a few pinch-hit opportunities during the week as well.

"We still have some time left, the biggest thing we want to know [regarding Maybin] are the at-bats," Gonzalez said. "As soon as we get those minor league games going, we can get him all the minor league at-bats we want." 

March 13, 2010

Sean West Out of Control, Gets F Grade in B Game


   Sean West didn't exactly enhance his chances of cracking the Marlins starting rotation when he experienced an extremely wild outing in Saturday's B game against the Orioles, somewhat reminiscent of one Al Leiter endured a few years ago with the Marlins during a spring training B game.

   West walked seven batters -- yes, SEVEN -- in only 1 2/3 innings. And they weren't exactly your typical 1 2/3, either. The first inning was "stopped" after West went walk, walk, walk, strikeout, walk to the first five batters.

   He pitched a relatively clean second inning, but ran into more trouble in the third, which transpired as follows: walk, strikeout, walk, walk. Cut. No mas. Get off the mound. Inning over. West threw 60 pitches, only 24 of them for strikes.

   West also encountered control problems, though not to this degree, in his previous spring outing when he issued three walks over a two-inning span. That means West has now walked 10 batters in only 3 2/3 innings.

   We haven't yet had a chance to speak with manager Fredi Gonzalez or pitching coach Randy St. Claire about West's wildness, but should have more information after today's regularly scheduled game in Port Charlotte against the Rays.

   

March 12, 2010

Rain Rain -- No Game


  SARASOTA -- The Marlins bussed all the way over to Florida's West Coast this morning only to discover unplayable conditions. And play they won't. Today's game with the Orioles was canceled a bit ago due to some rather nasty conditons, such as about a foot of water in the dugout tunnel leading to the visitor's clubhouse at Ed Smith Stadium (who's Ed Smith?) and an outfield that was ponding in several spots.

   However, the Marlins have scheduled a 7-inning Saturday morning "B" game with the Orioles before heading down to Port Charlotte to face the Rays.

   Sean West will start the "B" game for the Marlins. The lineup will go as follows: J. Miller, cf; Cousins, lf; Stanton, rf; Baker, DH, Lamb, 1b; Jiminez, 3b; Luna, 2b: Murphy, ss; Hayes, c. Bullpen: Veras, Meyer, Sanches and Badenhop.

    As they have a game tomorrow with the Rays in nearby Port Charlotte, the Marlins are spending the night here. Not sure what all of it means in terms of lineups and rotations, but we plan to get together soon with manager Fredi Gonzalez to go over the details. The Marlins had brought many of their "A" players for today's game: Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Cody Ross (who was scheduled to DH), and Chris Coghlan, to name a few. Andrew Miller was supposed to to be on the mound today, but he'll likely be pushed back to tomorrow.

March 11, 2010

Marlins Make First Roster Moves, Option Tucker to AAA, Reassign Voss to Minor League Camp


    Manager Fredi Gonzalez figured the team probably wouldn't start whittling the spring training roster until after it got past a couple of split-squad dates next week. But the front office decided it was time to start trimming now, and Thursday made the first deletions, optioning right-hander Ryan Tucker to Triple A New Orleans and re-assigning left-hander Jay Voss to minor-league camp.

    Tucker was coming off a poor outing on Tuesday against the Red Sox, after which he disclosed to reporters that he suffered from Reynaud's syndrome, a condition which can lead to numbness in the extremities when exposed to the cold. Tucker was constantly blowing on his hand during Tuesday's outing, in which the game-time temperature was announced at 72 degrees. Tucker had surgery on his left knee last season and was limited to six starts in the minors.

    Tucker went two innings against Boston, allowing a pair of earned runs on two hits and three walks. Voss has not made a Grapefruit League appearance for the Marlins, but pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in the UM exhibition.

    Thursday's moves leave 59 players in camp.

    -- Gonzalez is telling reporters this morning in Jupiter that he was "not ready to rule out" the possibility of outfielder Mike Stanton opening the season with the Marlins, but I wouldn't count on it. Stanton is having a fine spring so far, but it's not time to start hyperventilating over a four-game performance in which he has gone 5 for 15 with a pair of homers, three walks and seven runs scored. Stanton will be in the lineup in due time. But, with his limited experience, it's hard to envision many scenarios in which he would supplant one of the three projected outfield starters -- Chris Coghlan, Cameron Maybin and Cody Ross -- and the Marlins would be foolish to bury him on their bench as a fourth outfielder. If the groin injuries to Maybin and Ross linger into the season, that could alter plans. But it's far more likely Stanton will start the season in the minors, where he can get at bats and continue to mature as a player.

March 10, 2010

Baker Could Receive DH At Bats By Friday; Pre-Game from Kissimmee


    John Baker, who has yet to see action due to a strained right forearm, might make the upcoming trip to Sarasota (Friday) and Port Charlotte (Saturday) and serve as the Marlins' DH.

    "If he can't play because of his arm, we'll get him some at bats in the DH spot," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

    Baker was scheduled to play catch in Jupiter on Wednesday while the Marlins were in Kissimmee taking on the Houston Astros.

    The Marlins haven't missed Baker's bat so far in spring training. Catchers Ronny Paulino (7 for 11), Brett Hayes (5 for 11) and Brad Davis (2 for 5) and Vinny Rottino (1 for 3) have more than held up their end at the plate.

   -- Gonzalez said Cody Ross (groin) is ahead of Cameron Maybin (groin) in terms of making his way back. Gonzalez said Ross could play as early as this coming weekend.

   TODAY'S LINEUP:

   1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Brian Barden, ss; 3. Mike Stanton, rf; 4. Dan Uggla, 2b; 5. Ronny Paulino, c; 6. Wes Helms, 3b; 7. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 8. Brett Carroll, cf; 9. Hayden Penn, p.

   Other pitchers in Kissimmee: Jay Buente, Kris Harvey, Daniel Jennings, Hunter Jones, Chris Leroux, Matt Peterson, Brett Sinkbeil, Chris Volstad. Volstad will take over after Penn completes his outing. 

March 09, 2010

Fredi Gonzalez unhappy with walks

JUPITER -- Seth McClung knew he had the type of outing Monday that could tarnish not just a season, but a career. In just his second appearence of the spring, the 29-year old right-hander gave up six earned runs, three walks, plunked a batter and surrendered as many hits (2) as he got outs before being pulled in the Marlins 11-2 loss to the Mets.

Seth McClung"Man, I sucked today," McClung said Monday. "As a competitor, you want to beat yourself up. But knowing that a spring training process is 30 days long and you got to get yourself ready, you have to look at it in a different aspect. Although everybody wants to win a game, you aren't really ready yet to do some of the things you want to do.

"The best thing about spring is you take it, you say OK this is what I need to improve upon and then tomorrow is another day. I know I want to make an impression here in camp and the impression I want to make is I'm a professional."

McClung, one of four relievers with major league experience that the Marlins signed to minor league contracts in the offseason, is going to want to make sure his next appearance is a lot better. Ditto for other guys battling control issues.

Tuesday, manager Fredi Gonzalez voiced his displeasure about the amount of walks Marlins pitchers have been dishing out through six spring games. 

"I think the only time we haven't been good [this spring] is when we've walked people as a pitching staff," Gonzalez said. "You look at the bad games we've had and look at the boxscores, its been seven, eight walks, two hit batters. Usually those type of numbers cause bad games. I don't care if its the first day of spring training or the second game of spring training, we really don't want to do that."

The Marlins certainly had trouble with walks in 2009. The team gave up 267, second most in the National League. McClung, who has a 32.40 ERA this spring, isn't the only Marlins pitcher to struggle with control. Jose Ceda hit two batters in his only spring appearance. Starters Sean West and Andrew Miller had their issues in their first appearances on Sunday with a combined five walks. Reliever Derrick Turnbow, who has yet to make an appearance this spring, was having his own control issues during workouts because of an infected toe and sore shoulder.

> A FEW MORE TIDBITS... Turnbow threw a side this morning. No word yet on how it went... Outfielders Cody Ross and Cameron Maybin, both battling sore groins, played catch this morning. Gonzalez said the injuries appear to be more of a "four to five day thing" instead of a "four to six week" thing... Catcher John Baker (strained right forearm) hit some balls off a tee Monday and will play catch on Wednesday.

March 08, 2010

Marlins' Tucker battling Raynaud's Syndrome

JUPITER -- Former first round pick Ryan Tucker made his first start of the Grapefruit League season Monday afternoon against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium. He pitched two innings, gave up two hits, one earned run and walked three batters. 

Then, before the game was even over, he dropped a bit of a stunner back in the team clubhouse when he told reporters he is battling Raynaud's disease, a rare condition that causes his hands to feel numb in response to cold conditions or stress.

Ryan TuckerThe 23-year old right-hander, who had a taste of the big leagues in 2008 with the Marlins when he made 13 appearances and six starts, said the Marlins have known about his condition for some time and are simply hoping he can beat it. 

"I have quite an issue when it comes to the cold," said Tucker, who pitched in 72 degree temperatures Monday, but who admits he's struggled in camp the past week when temperatures dipped into the 40s and 50s.

"I can't get my hands warm ever. If you notice, I'm blowing on them all the time. I make sure with the umpire is OK with it. It's a tough issue for me. It's really difficult to grab the ball and throw it and not feel like I'm going to throw it at the guy in the box."

Tucker, who is a longshot to make the Opening Day roster anyway, hardly pitched in 2009 despite beginning the season as the No. 1 starter in Triple A New Orleans. He underwent quad surgery early in the season and later dealt with an oblique injury. He didn't really begin throwing again until this winter, a few months after becoming a father of twin girls.

The 6-1, 205-pounder went 2-3 with a 8.27 ERA in 2008 with the Marlins. He said his only expectations coming into the spring were to "come in and get work." Tucker said he carries hot packs with him everywhere he goes to try and deal with losing sensation in his fingers. But sometimes, he says, nothing works. 

"It's a syndrome that just comes and goes for one in every 100,000 people," Tucker said. "It's a pretty crappy feeling. I didn't realize I had it until a few years ago when I was playing in a cold place in Carolina. It would just go cold on me, numb. I couldn't feel the ball in my fingers. It feels like there's knives in there."

Tucker said its all a result of not getting enough blood flow to his extremities. "It's just something I have to figure out," he said. "There's nothing that fixes it. It's not like I can go to the doctor and they're going to go here's a pill, here's a surgery. That's not going to happen. It's a mental thing I have to figure out."

Groin Issues: Maybin and Cody

JUPITER -- Turns out there is more than one Marlin dealing with a sore groin these days. A day after center fielder Cameron Maybin strained his left groin trying to score from first base in a 7-4 loss to the Cardinals, right fielder Cody Ross said he tweaked his groin during stretching exercises and will now miss a few more days before returning to the lineup.

Cody RossRoss was all set to return to the lineup Monday from a swollen right thumb he injured last week during batting practice. But he was scratched from the lineup a few hours before the Marlins played the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium. Thankfully for the Marlins, Ross' groin injury doesn't appear to be serious.

"It's one of those times where you want to make sure you're almost basically 100 percent. You don't want to go out there feeling 80 percent and risk getting injured any more," Ross said. "If it was during the season, it would be a different situation. I'd go out there and play. But any sort of nagging anything, you just want to make sure you don't over do it."

"I didn't mind doing some little warm up drills and a little baseball early activity. I just felt a little tweak, nothing serious. I can hit, not feeling anything. But there are certain little movements when I feel it."

Ross, who is 0 for 2 in his only spring training at-bats, said he tweaked his groin last season "and played right through it." He said he hopes to be back by the end of the week.

When Maybin will return remains to be seen. He said he slept good Sunday and woke up feeling better than he thought he would. But since he's been icing it so much, he says, "it's just really numb."

"We're going to get a lot of icing in the next two days and see how it feels and go from there," said Maybin, who admitted he was trying to 'hit another gear' when he suffered the injury. "My thing is I'm definitely going to take my time. I've talked to a lot of guys with groin injuries. They say whatever you do, don't rush it. All I actually did was pull it. So, I'm going to take my time. When I do start running around, I want it to feel good.

> Manager Fredi Gonzalez substituted Ross in right field with Scott Cousins. He said if Maybin is out for a long period of time, he can use Emilio Bonifacio, Bryan Peterson, Cousins, Brett Carroll and Ross in center.

> Gonzalez said he expects catcher John Baker (right forearm strain) to begin throwing and taking batting practice on Wednesday. Reliever Derrick Turnbow (shoulder) will likely throw a bullpen session on Tuesday.

Curb Your Enthusiasm -- BoSox Bringing B-Listers to Jupiter for Tuesday's Game


    Leave your autograph books at home. The Boston Red Sox won't be bringing many of their big guns to Jupiter for Tuesday's game with the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Position players remaining behind in Fort Myers include: David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Beltre, J.D. Drew, Victor Martinez and Mike Cameron. Pitchers skipping the trip: Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Jonathan Papelbon. Heck, not even Hideki Okajima will be on the bus.

    Tim Wakefield is scheduled to start for the Sox, who are also bringing Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida, Bill Hall and Jed Lowrie to comply with the spring training rule requiring at least four big leaguers on the traveling squad. Joe Nelson fans will also be delighted to hear he's making the trip.

     The Marlins are sending Anibal Sanchez to the mound.