The Marlins signed veteran first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, a local product out of Westminster Christian School in Miami, to a minor league deal Wednesday afternoon. Jim Fleming, Marlins Vice President of Player Development and Scouting, said Mientkiwicz will start in Triple A New Orleans and was brought in as insurance should the Marlins need a veteran left-handed bat off the bench.
Mientkiewicz, 35, played in 20 games for the Dodgers last season and had only 20 plate appearances, going 6 for 18 (.333) with a double, three RBI and six strikeouts, before a shoulder injury sidelined him the rest of the year. He signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in December, but quickly sought his release after being told he wouldn't make the team, and the Dodgers waited a week before granting it. He reportedly declined a chance to coach for Joe Torre, and later passed on Bret Boone's recruiting efforts for his independent league club according to Baseball America.
Mientkiewicz, who starred at Florida State and played on the same high school team as Alex Rodriguez, last played a full season in 2008 with the Pirates. He hit .277 with two homers and 30 RBI in 285 at-bats. He is a career .271 hitter and won a Gold Glove in 2001 with the Twins.
The Marlins of course have 22-year old talented first baseman Logan Morrison in their farm system, considered one of the Top 25 prospects in the game. Morrison, though, recently injured his shoulder and is rehabbing a bone bruise in Single A Jupiter.
"The MRI didn't show anything that required surgery," Fleming said. "He just needs some rehab work. We're thinking three weeks and he'll be back. In two weeks, he'll take some at-bats in the Gulf Coast League."
> Andrew Miller's career, meanwhile, continues to flounder. The 24-year old former first round pick acquired by the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera trade from the Tigers is back down in Single A Jupiter after returning from a sprained ankle.
He was rocked in his first minor league start by the Palm Beach Cardinals on April 30. In 2 2/3 innings pitched, Miller gave up four hits, three earned runs and walked six despite striking out six. His ERA in Single A is 10.12. Fleming said the Marlins brought him to Jupiter so he could work closely on his delivery, something pitching Randy St. Claire tried tinkering with this spring but couldn't get Miller to correct enough.
"We're just trying to build him back up, help him get some command on his fastballs," Fleming said. "We're going to start there and hopefully build some consistency. There's really no timetable with him."
> Fleming said it is the same story with prized 20-year old outfielder Mike Stanton, who despite hitting .337 with 13 homers and 29 RBI in 26 games won't be leaving Jacksonville anytime soon. "There's no thought of moving him up to Triple A just yet," Fleming said. "We're being patient."
Fleming said Stanton isn't the only prospect playing well for the Suns.
"Mike Stanton has really overshadowed what Ozzie Martinez has been doing," Fleming said of Martinez, a 21-year old shortstop from Puerto Rico. "He's hitting .375 and playing terrific defense for us. You also have Alejandro Sanabia. He is [2-0 with a 1.15 ERA] in five starts."