Get out your vuvuzelas Renyel Pinto haters. The left-handed relief pitcher who makes your blood pressure rise in the late innings of Marlins games is on his way out of South Florida.
The Marlins designated Pinto for assignment after Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Rangers. Pinto gave up a solo home run to Josh Hamilton in the ninth in his first appearance since coming off the disabled list.
I'm not trying to defend Pinto here. But was this move really necessary? Or was Pinto just the fall guy after another tough loss, which sent the Marlins to three games under .500 and 6 1/2 games back of the Atlanta Braves (the deepest ditch they've been in all year)?
The home run, after all, was the first Pinto had given up all season and dropped his ERA to 2.70. Pinto, who was supposed to be the Marlins new long relief pitcher, has never been great against lefties (they were hitting .255 lifetime against him coming in). But he didn't appear to be the biggest problem in a struggling pen.
Tim Wood, who is collecting plenty of frequent flier miles between here and New Orleans, will replace Pinto. Wood wasn't exactly Dennis Eckersley when he was here before. When he was sent back down to Triple A on June 6th, he was 0-1 with a 5.60 ERA.
HANLEY SAID HE FEELS GREAT: It wasn't too long ago Hanley Ramirez told us he felt like his timing was off. In fact, it was only a little more than a week ago when the Marlins were swept in New York.
Despite going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position Wednesday, Ramirez maintained he's feeling better at the plate. "Just because I didn't get a hit tonight doesn't mean I don't feel good," Ramirez said. "I feel great."
Hitting coach Jim Presley and manager Fredi Gonzalez both said Ramirez appeared a little too anxious at times this season. Wednesday, he saw just five pitches in his last three at-bats. He grounded out on a fielder's choice on a 1-0 pitch with the bases loaded and one out in the third. He flew out to left on a 1-0 pitch with a runner on third in the fifth. And he grounded into a double play on the first pitch he saw with runners on the corners and nobody out in the eighth.
If that doesn't smell of an anxious hitter I don't know what does. Ramirez by the way is hitting .200 (13 for 65) with runners in scoring position this season. He hit .373 in those situations last year.