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52 posts from May 2010

May 27, 2010

Tankersley happy to be back "in any clubhouse"

The Marlins made a few moves Thursday in their bullpen and one of them involved bringing a very happy Taylor Tankersley back up to the big leagues. 

The 27-year old left-hander and former first round pick was once a valued reliever for the Marlins before his career took an unexpected turn for the worse in 2008. After after a rough spring training start in 2009, it was discovered that he had sustained a stress fracture in his pitching elbow. 

On the mend ever since, Tankersley became one of two arms called up by the Marlins from Triple A New Orleans following a bullpen implosion against the Braves Wednesday night. He'll replace left-hander Renyel Pinto, who suffered a strained left hip according to the Marlins (and possibly a strained groin too) when he unleashed a wild pitch that bounced high off the backstop -- not long after his teammates combined to allow six runs in the seventh inning Wednesday. 

Tankersley, who had two screws inserted into his elbow and missed all of the 2009 season, said his goal is to simply "get guys out."

"I'm just excited to be on this team as any team," Tankersley said. "I'm getting to throw a baseball. Honestly, I was very appreciative to have a New Orleans jersey on as opposed to a year ago when I went into work everyday and didn't get to put on a uniform, go in the clubhouse or play on a team. This is awesome."

Tankersley was 3-2 with a 4.19 ERA in 20 games for the Zephyrs with 17 strikeouts and six walks. When he was with the Marlins for 25 games two seasons ago, he 0-1 with a 8.15 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. His fastball, which once topped out a 94 miles per hour, is down to about "91, 92." But he said he can consistently throw "between 88 and 90."

"I thought he pitched very well in spring training," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "My comments to him and [pitching coach] Randy [St. Claire's] comments to him when we sent him down was 'Now you got to make sure you're healthy. You have to hold up and get some inning down there.' He's done that. Hopefully, we see the Tank we saw a couple years ago."

> Pinto, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list, said he was told to take five days off before he's reevaluated for what appears to be a little more than a left hip strain. He pointed to his hip and groin Thursday as places he felt pain. He also said he had trouble walking.

Pinto said he injured himself on the wild pitch that sailed over catcher Ronny Paulino's head and bounced high off the backstop. He remained in the game and threw two more pitches to complete the inning.

Although he's had to escape some dramatic outings, Pinto's numbers are not too bad. In 19 appearances, 15 2/3 innings he's allowed only four earned runs (2.30 ERA) while striking out 16 and walking eight. His WHIP (1.468) is actually better than right-hander Brian Sanches (1.588) and was fourth in the bullpen behind Leo Nunez (0.915), Clay Hensley (1.014) and Tim Wood (1.313).

"I'm disappointed because I felt like I was doing my job," Pinto said.

> Right-hander Jay Buente (pronounced BEN-TAY) won't be put in any tough situations -- at least early on. Gonzalez said the 26-year old former 14th round pick out of Purdue, who was supposed to arrive before first pitch Thursday from New Orleans to replace the struggling Burke Badenhop, would be used in "the middle innings."

"From what the reports say, he has a split finger and does a good job getting left-handed hitters out," Gonzalez said.

> As for Badenhop, Gonzalez said the Marlins couldn't afford to have him work out his issues in the big leagues.

After starting the season off great and working himself into the setup role, Badenhop started unraveling after his ERA dropped to 0.93 following an impressive outing in Philadelphia April 21st. He allowed an earned run in nine of his next 10 appearances -- including two hits and two earned runs while retiring just one batter in Wednesday's loss. He'll head to New Orleans with a 0-5 record and 6.43 ERA.

"Go down, get your stuff right, get your sinker working," Gonzalez said he told Badenhop. "We'll see Burke Badenhop before the year is over. I can almost guarantee you that."

Marlins dip into minors, shake up 'pen

A night after watching their bullpen implode in a loss to the Braves, the Marlins dipped into their minor league system Thursday afternoon to bring in some fresh blood.

Tankersley Former first round pick Taylor Tankersley, a left-hander who pitched for the Marlins in 2008, and right-hander Jay Buente were called up from Triple A New Orleans to replace Renyel Pinto, who went on the 15-day disabled list with a left hip strain, and the struggling Burke Badenhop, who started the bullpen's six run, seventh inning Wednesday and fell to 0-5 with a 6.43 ERA.

The Hopper's demotion was inevitable considering how much he struggled this month. His sinker and slider simply weren't working the way it was in April when he had a 3.65 ERA and was still getting big outs. Badenhop posted a 10.38 ERA in eight appearances this month.

Pinto's loss might be celebrated by more than a few fans in the streets here in Miami. But aside from making things dramatic by walking and hitting a few guys this season, Pinto's numbers actually aren't bad. He had an 2.30 ERA in 19 appearances, 15 2/3 innings.

Tankersley was 3-2 with a 4.19 ERA in 20 games for the Zephyrs with 17 strikeouts and six walks. He was with the Marlins for 25 games two seasons ago and was 0-1 with a 8.15 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. He missed all of the 2009 season after having surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left elbow.

This is the first big league appearance, meanwhile, for Buente, a 26-year old former 14th round pick out of Purdue in the 2006 draft. He spent most of his fourth pro season last year between Double A Jacksonville and New Orleans, going 5-2 with a 3.14 ERA. He was 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 19 games in Triple A before this.

Utility man Mike Lamb, meanwhile, was also recalled from New Orleans to take the spot of outfield Bryan Peterson, who was sent down to Triple A Wednesday. Peterson was 1 for 16 in mostly pinch-hit appearances for the Marlins. Lamb was hitting .250 in 13 games for the Zephyrs. He was hitting .222 with only 3 RBI in 18 games when the Marlins first sent him down earlier this month.

We'll have more once the clubhouse opens.

> Today's lineup: 1. Chris Coghlan LF, 2. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 3. Hanley Ramirez SS, 4. Jorge Cantu 3B, 5. Dan Uggla 2B, 6. Cody Ross RF, 7. Ronny Paulino C, 8. Cameron Maybin CF, 9. Ricky Nolasco P.

May 25, 2010

Hanley only Marlin receiving early All-Star love

The first batch of All-Star Game voting results were revealed for the National League Tuesday, and the results don't show much love for the Marlins. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez, a two-time All-Star, was the only Marlin to rank in the top five in voting according to their position.

Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu and Cody Ross, who are all doing considerably well at their respective positions were nowhere on the list. Here it is compliments of MLB.com

2010 MLB All-Star Balloting : National League
1st Base
RANKPLAYER NAMENL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Albert PujolsCardinals647,666
2.Ryan HowardPhillies329,673
3.Prince FielderBrewers200,395
4.James LoneyDodgers116,850
5.Lance BerkmanAstros112,589
2nd Base
RANKPLAYER NAMENL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Chase UtleyPhillies687,724
2.Rickie WeeksBrewers169,941
3.Martin PradoBraves134,993
4.Kelly JohnsonD-backs118,342
5.Skip SchumakerCardinals112,365
3rd Base
RANKPLAYER NAMENL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Placido PolancoPhillies309,458
2.David WrightMets236,387
3.Casey McGeheeBrewers185,312
4.Pablo SandovalGiants160,179
5.Chipper JonesBraves143,558
Shortstop
RANKPLAYER NAMENL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Jimmy RollinsPhillies340,747
2.Hanley RamirezMarlins309,244
3.Alcides EscobarBrewers151,710
4.Rafael FurcalDodgers144,209
5.Jose ReyesMets137,321
Catcher
RANKPLAYER NAMENL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Yadier MolinaCardinals316,795
2.Carlos RuizPhillies259,227
3.Ivan RodriguezNationals247,998
4.Brian McCannBraves203,377
5.Russell MartinDodgers160,698
Outfield
RANKPLAYER NAMENL TEAMTOTAL VOTES
1.Ryan BraunBrewers423,834
2.Jayson WerthPhillies365,402
3.Shane VictorinoPhillies348,841
4.Andre EthierDodgers316,383
5.Matt HollidayCardinals309,463
6.Jason HeywardBraves304,547
7.Matt KempDodgers249,554
8.Raul IbanezPhillies248,450
9.Manny RamirezDodgers217,694
10.Jason BayMets191,181
11.Alfonso SorianoCubs177,061
12.Jim EdmondsBrewers162,130
13.Justin UptonD-backs154,502
14.Carlos GomezBrewers140,145
15.Colby RasmusCardinals139,519
Results updated: Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brett Carroll: "I'm Not Trying to Pull a Roger Dorn"

  Brett Carroll can't explain it, but all of a sudden the backup outfielder for the Marlins has turned into a magnet for baseballs. Carroll has been hit six times with pitches, which is a lot for someone who doesn't even play half the time. The current major league "plunk" leader is Milwaukee's Prince Fielder, who has been hit eight times. But Fielder has 198 plate appearances to Carroll's 75.

  Okay. So we think we know why Carroll was hit a second time on Sunday. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was incensed that Carroll had stolen second base after being hit with a pitch in the fourth inning, with the Marlins up 7-0, and made sure the deed didn't go unpunished. So when Carroll came up in the fifth, he was whacked again, apparently on purpose.

  Still, even eliminating that planned attack, Carroll would still rank among the top 10 in the majors this season in being hit by pitches. Carroll was hit five times total in 244 major- and minor-league at bats last season. But he has had a propensity for getting hit in the past. He was hit 17 times in 2006 while splitting time between Single A Jupiter and Double A Carolina, and was hit 15 times at Single A Greensboro in 2005. The Marlins' single-single season record belongs to Carlos Delgado, who was smacked 17 times in 2005, meaning that -- yes -- Carroll is on pace to break the record, astonishing considering his lack of playing time.

   Carroll said he doesn't go to the plate trying to get hit.

   "I'm not trying to pull a Roger Dorn, where he goes up to pinch hit just to get hit so he can get on base and start a rally," Carroll said, referring to the fictional character from the movie "Major League." "I believe I can hit. I don't need to be going up there trying to get hit by pitches."

    Then again, Carroll doesn't exactly go to extreme measures to avoid being hit when the pitch is headed in his direction.

   Carroll theorizes that one of the reasons for his high rate of HBPs is because he often bats in the eighth spot. With the pitcher due up next, opposing pitchers could be trying to work around him. Otherwise, he said he "can't explain it."

    "I think I usually get hit about the normal amount," Carroll said. "Nothing abnormal like this."

 Major League Leaders in Plunkings This Season

  Player Plate Apps.   HBP

   1. Prince Fielder (Mil)      198     8

   2. Travis Hafner (Cle) 160     7

   Rickie Weeks (Mil) 210     7

   4.  Brett Carroll (Fla)     75     6

   Mike Napoli (LAA)    122 6

6.  Jose Guillen (K.C.)     189    5

Juan Pierre (CWS) 188    5

David Eckstein (S.D.)   174    5

Marlon Byrd (Cubs)     184   5

Kevin Youkilis (Bos)    194   5

May 23, 2010

David Samson On Grass


   CHICAGO -- The topic turned to grass during Sunday's pre-game chat with manager Fredi Gonzalez and club president David Samson after Gonzalez suggested that part of the reason for the Marlins' improved defensive play this past week could be attributed to the higher infield grass at Busch Stadium in St. Louis and U.S. Cellular Field here in Chicago.

   "I think the infields (in the two parks) may be more conducive to our infielders, a littler higher grass, a little slower grass," Gonzalez said.

   The Marlins have gone five full games, four of them in St. Louis and Chicago,. without committing an error. The last error charged to a Marlin went to shortstop Hanley Ramirez on Monday -- 49 innings ago -- when he kicked the ball that led ultimately to his benching.

   So what kind of grass will the Marlins have in their new ballpark when it opens in 2012?

   Samson said the Marlins are looking at several varieties of grass that work in South Florida's climate and in a retractable roof stadium.

   "We have to examine the impact of shade from the roof when it's open, and also the impact of irrigation when the roof is closed, so we are in the testing process as we speak," Samson said. "We're the last domed ballpark, so we can learn from everyone's example. They've had to go through several grasses in some of those other domed facilities to get one that grows, and we're doing that here, too. Hopefully we'll get that on the first try, but you never know until you actually put it down."

    Samson said the Marlins are looking specifically at grasses used at Minute Maid Park in Houston and Chase Field in Arizona. Also being considered is the type of grass presently being used at Sun Life Stadium.

But Samson said they won't know for sure what works and what doesn't until they put it to use.

    "We're going to lay it, and then we won't know until the roof is opened and closed and we're playing, and we may have to redo it," Samson said.

Samson said he doens't know if the grass in the new ballpark will be any higher and slower than the quick surface the Marlins are playing on now at Sun Life Stadium, but they'll try to tailor it to the type of defensive team they have at that time.

"That's a decision based on our team, not necessarily based on sun and shade," he said.

    LINEUPS:

Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, dh; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. Cody Ross, cf; 7. Wes Helms, 3b; 8. Ronny Paulino, c; Brett Carroll, rf. (Pitching: Josh Johnson)

White Sox: 1. Juan Pierre, lf; 2. A.J. Pierzynski, c; 3. Alex Rios, cf; 4. Paul Konerko, 1b; 5. Mark Kotsay, dh; 6. Carlos Quentin, rf; 7. Mark Teahen, 3b; 8. Alexei Ramirez, ss; 9. Gordon Beckham, 2b. (Pitching: Freddy Garcia)

  Umpires: HP -- Adrian Johnson; 1B -- Tim McClelland; 2B -- Mike Everitt; 3B -- Andy Fletcher.

   

May 22, 2010

Did Hanley Ramirez "Kick" Start the Marlins Defensively?


   Don't look now, but the Marlins are riding a 41-inning errorless streak that goes back to -- you guessed it -- Hanley Ramirez's now-infamous kicking error on Monday. As everyone knows by now, Ramirez landed in all sorts of hot water because of that play. But virtually lost in the ensuing furor has been the Marlins' exceptional defensive play ever since.

   Let's face it. The Marlins aren't going to win any Gold Gloves. They're the majors' worst team defensively based on fielding percentage. But, magically it seems, they've been looking pretty darned good in the field. They're making the routine plays along with the highlight reel variety; case in point Friday's game against the White Sox when Chris Coghlan, Wes Helms and Ramirez came up with a few dandies.

   "We've put a lot of work into it," Ramirez said of fielding. "And I think everybody is slowing down a little bit."

   Bench coach Carlos Tosca agreed that quite a few of the Marlins' defensive miscues have resulted from rushing throws or making poor decisions.

   "A couple of our issues have been we don't make the right decisions, or we try to make plays that aren't there, and they're twins," Tosca said. "They're trying to do too much. But overall, I think we're doing a little better."

  LINEUPS:

  Marlins:  1. Chris Coghlan, lf; 2. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Jorge Cantu, dh; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. Cody Ross, rf; 7. Wes Helms, 3b; 8. Brett Hayes, c; 9. Cameron Maybin, cf. (Pitching: Chris Volstad)

  White Sox: 1. Juan Pierre, lf; 2. Alexei Ramirez, ss; 3. Alex Rios, cf; 4. Paul Konerko, dh; 5. Mark Kotsay, 1b; 6. Carlos Quentin, rf; 7. Mark Teahen, 3b; 8. Ramon Castro, c; 9. Gordon Beckham, 2b. (Pitching: Gavin Floyd).

May 21, 2010

Jeffrey Loria Weighs In On Hanley Ramirez


    Reporters caught up with Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago before Friday's game between the Marlins and White Sox and asked him about the Hanley Ramirez situation:

    Asked about the recent situation involving Hanley Ramirez, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria replied:

   "It was a clubhouse matter that was taken care of in the clubhouse. We've moved on."

   Clubhouse harmony has always been big for you.....

   Loria: "There is great harmony in this clubhouse. I was walking around here earlier and everything seems to be fine. If anything it's a building block for making us stronger.

  Did you have any conversation with him (Hanley Ramirez):

  Loria: "No. I haven't spoken with him. Fredi dealt with everything. I wasn't even in Florida."

  This type of story is not usually out there with the Florida Marlins attached to it. Was it kind of weird seeing it?

  Loria: "It's a human nature thing. People make mistakes and then they correct them and then they get stronger for it. And I think everybody is. I sort of watched it from the sidelines. There was no place for me to jump in and state my opinions. Everybody did what they were supposed to do, including Hanley."

You're very much a hands-on owner, though.

Loria: "There are certain things I'm smart enough to know when I should be involved."

How satisfied were you with the way Fredi handled it?

Loria: "He did absolutely fine."

You think there might be a lesson in leadership learned from something like this?

Loria: "Whenever you're going along the road and there's a bump in the road, it's a slight jar, it's a slight attention-getter, depending on how bad the fracture in the road is. It's not a major episode, in any sense of the word. It's something that happens during the course of the season and we have great guys on this team. All 25 of them great guys. And if you have a family with 25 brothers and sisters, little things would happen along the way."

  You said everybody did the right thing, including Hanley....

  Loria: "I think everybody did the right thing."

  Hanley's reaction on Tuesday, did that disappoint you at all?

  Loria: "I wasn't disappointed in anybody. I was just waiting to see that it would get rectified quickly. This was not major surgery. This was not brain surgery. This was a scratch. A band-aid had to be applied. It's not long-term. I think everybody learns. I'm older than these guys and I'm still learning. I still make mistakes. Not as many as I did when I was younger, but I still make mistakes."

   "What I'm sharing with you it's not the end of the world. We've moved on. Everyubody's moved on. I moved on three days ago."

You don't think this will have a long-term effect?

Loria: Zero. Zero. Zero long-term effect. Other than good things that will come out of this."

Do you plan to talk to Hanley at all?

    Loria: "Yes. I always talk to Hanley. I talk to everybody. I love these guys, Hanley included."

   

May 20, 2010

Hanley Ramirez: "Happy to be in the lineup"


 Hanley Ramirez didn't have a lot to say about himself or the recent controversy following his 3-for-5 night Wednesday at Busch Stadium. However, he told Craig Minervini during a post-game interview that he was ready to move forward.

"I just came back in the lineup and got a lot of motivation from my teammates," Ramirez said. "We get along. Things are going to happen. 162 games. But I think you put those things on the side and keep moving forward."

    When asked what he told teammates before Wednesday's game, Ramirez replied: "I just apologized to everybody. So it's in the past. I talked to my family, wife and kids, and they're happy."

    Ramirez was more interested in discussing Anibal Sanchez's pitching performance in the 5-1 victory than his recent issues.

    When asked if he was glad the saga was now behind him, he responded: "We're just going to try to win the series (with a win Thursday). I'm happy to be in the lineup."

    Ramirez was booed by fans at Busch Stadium when he was introduced the first time. Apparently, he believes the response will be different when the team returns home to South Florida.

    "I'm not in Florida," he said. "I'm in St. Louis."

May 19, 2010

Saga Ends -- Hanely Ramirez Apologizes, Returns to Marlins Lineup


   ST. LOUIS -- There is peace in the kingdom once again.

   Hanley Ramirez returned to the lineup Thursday after apologizing to manager Fredi Gonzalez and his Marlins teammates.

   "He went up to everybody individually, told us he was sorry and he was wrong, and that he wasn't going to let it happen again," said Marlins infielder Wes Helms. "We wanted him to do that, and he did it. It means a lot to do what he did today because now we can lay it down."

   Helms said Ramirez seemed genuine in his apology.

   "I kind of said to him, 'Hanley, you're better than that,'" Helms said. "And he said, 'I know. And I shouldn't have said the things I said, either.' From the way I got it, he apologized for everything."

   After being benched for "lack of effort" on Tuesday, Ramirez made comments critical of Gonzalez and his teammates on Wednesday. Gonzalez had said Ramirez would not return to the lineup until he apologized.

   On Thursday, Gonzalez was prepared for any eventuality. He wrote out two lineup cards, one with Hanley's name on it and one without. Once Ramirez apologized to him in a private meeting lasting about five minutes, Gonzalez posted the lineup containing Ramirez's name.

   "We still love him," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez Expects Ramirez to be in Lineup Tonight


   Indications are that the Hanley Ramirez saga is heading toward resolution, perhaps with an apology, and he'll be back in the lineup tonight.

   Fredi Gonzalez was just on WQAM-560 AM  and told host Orlando Alzugaray that he "would be really surprised" if Hanley Ramirez is not back in the lineup when the Marlins open a two-game series in St. Louis against the Cardinals.

 "It's going to get resolved one way or the other today," Gonzalez said during the interview. "I would be really surprised if he's not in the lineup today. We'll take care of it and he'll be in the three hole and playing shortstop."

    Gonzalez made similar comments this morning on 790 The Ticket with Jorge Sedano. Asked by Sedano if Ramirez had apologized, Gonzalez replied: "Not yet. Not yet. I expect him to do it. I expect him to do the right thing....but I think he needs to address his teammates a little bit. When that happens, we are good to go." 

  Gonzalez said Tuesday that Ramirez would not be allowed to play until he took care of the problem, which likely means apologizing to teammates. The manager said Ramirez didn't do that on yesterday's flight to St. Louis.

  But, based on Gonzalez's comments just now, it would seem that the crisis could end very soon, more than likely at Busch Stadium this afternoon.

   Ramirez was pulled from Monday's game for "lack of effort" and was benched on Tuesday.