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44 posts from September 2010

September 07, 2010

Is Josh Johnson's Season Over?


           PHILADELPHIA -- Josh Johnson's season is now in jeopardy as the ace of the Marlins' pitching staff will be returning to South Florida on Wednesday to have his back and throwing shoulder examined by Dr. Lee Kaplan.

            At the very least, Johnson will miss his scheduled start on Friday. But there are growing concerns that Johnson might be forced to miss the rest of the season, as he has only five more starts left on his pitching calendar and the Marlins might not want to take the risk on their investment.

             Johnson is in the first year of a four-year contract he signed over the winter.

             "We're more concerned with his back than his shoulder," said manager Edwin Rodriguez. "We're going to fly J.J. back to Miami. They're going to check his back and his shoulder. He's going to miss the start on Friday. Then we will decide if he'll be able to pitch next week or not."

              Rodriguez said Alex Sanabia would start on Friday. Sanabia's appeal for his five-game suspension stemming from the brawl with the Nationals will not be heard until next week. But the Marlins are dangerously thin on starters. Ricky Nolasco is already out for the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

              If Johnson is finished, the cast that remains includes Sanabia, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Andrew Miller and Adalberto Mendez.

           -- The Marlins optioned catcher Chris Hatcher to Double A Jacksonville after Tuesday's game.  Hatcher never saw action with the Marlins since being called up on Sept. 1.

Josh Johnson "50-50" to Make Next Start Due to Back Tightness


              Marlins ace Josh Johnson could miss his next scheduled start due to back/side pain and tightness that has bothered him for weeks. Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said it's fair to say that Johnson is "50-50" to start on Friday in Washington while adding the severity of the problem is uncertain at this point. It's not inconceivable that Johnson's back issues could force him to shut down the rest of the season, as he has only five starts remaining. But that's purely speculative. It's just as possible that Johnson could try to pitch through it with continued treatment and that his next start could be bumped back a few days. Bottom line: the immediate plans for Johnson are up in the air. I've been told the Marlins should have a more definitive answer by Wednesday.

              This much is certain: Johnson did not throw his normal, side bullpen session at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday and did not stretch with his Marlins teammates before batting practice. He was inside the training room, receiving treatment for the back.

              The Marlins have already lost Ricky Nolasco, who is scheduled to undergo surgery on Wednesday for a torn meniscus in his right knee, and are looking at suspensions for two of their other starters, Chris Volstad and Alex Sanabia.

              Johnson, who pitched in the July 13 All-Star Game, has a record of 1-3 with a 4.25 ERA in his seven starts since Aug. 1. Before then, he had gone 10-3 with a 1.73 ERA.


              Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, 3b; 2. Logan Morrison, lf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Dan Uggla, 2b; 5. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 6. Mike Stanton, rf; 7. Cameron Maybin, cf; 8. Brad Davis, c; 9. Chris Volstad, p.

              Phillies: 1. Shane Victorino, cf; 2. Placido Polanco, 3b; 3. Chase Utley, 2b; 4. Ryan Howard, 1b; 5. Jimmy Rollins, ss; 6. Raul Ibanez, lf; 7. Jayson Werth, rf; 8. Carlos Ruiz, c; 9. Joe Blanton, p.

September 06, 2010

Masterful Big League Debut for Adalberto Mendez Ends With Injury -- UPDATED


                The injury to Adalberto Mendez was not as serious as first thought and manager Edwin Rodriguez said he is confident the 28-year-old rookie will make his next start in five days. If so, that would be a huge boost for the Marlins, who are short on starters, especially with suspensions coming up for Chris Volstad and Alex Sanabia. Rodriguez said Mendez suffered a leg cramp while running to first on a base hit in the seventh. It was initially reported as a right quad strain.

                Adalberto Mendez was having a fairytale kind of afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. In what was his major league debut, the 28-year-old Dominican was shutting down the vaunted Philadelphia Phillies, holding them to one hit and no runs through six innings, when suddenly it all came crashing down in a freak injury in the top of the 7th.

                Mendez singled to right for his first big league hit but pulled up lame as he was approaching the bag at first. He had to be assisted off the field. The Marlins just announced that he suffered a right quad strain.

                Mendez, who has toiled in the minors for eight seasons before finally getting his chance, was excited about the opportunity. He sure didn't look nervous before the crowd of 45,848, largest of the season at Citizens Bank Park. He struck out All-Stars Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the first, gave up only one hit (to Brian Schneider in the 2nd), dropped down a beautiful sacrifice bunt, and was cruising along until the unlucky seventh.

                Assuming Mendez will be out for awhile, if not for the rest of the season, the Marlins will have some serious starting pitching issues to deal with in the coming week. Chris Volstad, who starts on Tuesday, will likely begin serving his six-game suspension following a hearing on his appeal on Friday. Alex Sanabia, who sucker-punched Adam Dunn in the brawl with the Nationals, is also looking at a five-game suspension before he takes the mound again.

                With Ricky Nolasco out for the season and Sean West on the shelf, the Marlins are down to Josh Johnson, Andrew Miller and Anibal Sanchez -- and nothing else at the major league level.

Lomo's Eye (w/photo), Nunez's Neck, Etc.


              Logan Morrison is in the lineup one day after taking a foul ball off his left cheek. He's wearing a pretty good bruise but said he is a-ok to go. See for yourself:

               Manager Edwin Rodriguez said he expects Morrison to play both ends of the day-night doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park, shiner and all. It doesn't look nearly as bad as Tony Conigliaro's black eye, let's put it that way. This has to be one of the most memorable Sports Illustrated cover shots of all time. I remember, as a kid, when this issue showed up in my mailbox and how I stared at it for hours:



               The injury report is not as positive for the bullpen. Leo Nunez has a stiff neck and won't be available for three or four days. Nunez got up in the bullpen on Sunday but word was sent to the dugout that the pitcher's neck was bothering him and he couldn't go. Burke Badenhop, due to recent usage, is also idle for the twinbill. Brian Sanches (intercostal) could be available for the second game, but not the first.

                Thus, the Marlins reached down to Double A and called up Jose Ceda and Jay Buente even though Jacksonville is preparing for the playoffs. Rodriguez said one of the two relievers -- Buente or Ceda -- could be returned to the Sun for the playoffs. It just depends on the Marlins' bullpen situation after today's DH.

                LINEUPS FOR GAME ONE:

                Marlins: Bonifacio, cf; Morrison, lf; Ramirez, ss; Uggla, 2b; Sanchez, 1b; Tracy, 3b; Stanton, rf; Davis, c; Mendez, p.

                Philllies: 1. Polanco, 3b; 2. Victorino, cf; 3. Utley, 2b; 4. Howard, 1b; 5. Werth, rf; 6. Ibanez, lf; 7. Schneider, c; 8. Valdez, ss; Worley, p.

Up Comes Ceda


          Was just walking out the door for Citizens Bank Park and a day-night doubleheader when the Marlins announced they're calling up big, right-handed reliever Jose Ceda, along with another right-hander Jay Buente. Clearly, the Marlins are stockpiling arms in the pen, uncertain how long Adalberto Mendez might last in his big-league debut in Game 1 of the DH today.Ceda

          Ceda, of course, was the catch in the Kevin Gregg deal with the Chicago Cubs after the '08 season. He's a big catch, too. At least going on sheer size. Ceda, based on the Marlins media guide, stands 6-4 and tips the scales at 275. As you can see from his stats, he's been doing a good job at AA Jacksonville, what with a 1.39 ERA in 27 appearances. He has 45 K's in 32 1/3 innings, but needs to reduce his walks (20).

          Buente, of course, we saw earlier in the season with the Marlins.

           Anyway, heading out to the park now. Will check in later with lineups and such.

September 04, 2010

No Marlins Tribute Planned for Bobby Cox


              Retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox has received tributes and well-wishes in every major league city during what has been a summer-long farewell tour for the curmudgeonly skipper. The Astros gave him a cowboy hat and boots. The Rockies gave him three nights at a dude ranch and a high-end fishing rod and reel. The White Sox gave him a humidor. The Cubs gave him an original seat from Wrigley Field and his number "6" from their hand-operated scoreboard.Cox

              The Marlins have nothing planned to honor Cox -- not even a simple scoreboard goodbye and good luck -- even though he has managed the Braves longer than the Marlins, their division rivals, have been in existence. Cox will manage his final game in South Florida on Sunday.

              The Marlins aren't saying why they're giving Cox the cold shoulder, but there's a chance it has something to do with his comments critical of Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria when Fredi Gonzalez -- a Cox friend and managing protege -- was fired in June. Cox was not happy with the axing.

              "I know that guy (Loria) is unpredictable, but....after everything (Gonzalez) has done for that guy, are you (expletive) me? They have gone down to the end (of the playoff race) every year, playing their asses off. That guy doesn't appreciate anything. He's one of the guys that thinks you change (for the sake of change). He's always waiting to fire the coaches, always. That's his history." 

Adalberto Mendez To Start Monday for Marlins; C Mike Rivera Back in Majors


             The Marlins reached into the well today and called up catcher Mike Rivera and right-hander Adalberto Mendez. Mendez will start the first game of Monday's doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia in what will be his major league debut.

     Rivera                                                      Mendez, 28, has spent eight seasons in the minors, most recently at Triple A New Orleans where he was 5-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 28 appearances (nine starts). He's been in the Marlins farm system since 2008 after starting out in the Cubs organization in 2003.

    "Mendez is a pretty powerful," said Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez. "He throws 93 to 95. Average change-up. His third pitch will be his slider. But he pounds the strike zone."

      Rodriguez said Mendez, who started the season at Double A Jacksonville, joined him at Triple A New Orleans when the Zephyrs needed bullpen help.

          "He was planning to be there for a week," Rodriguez said. "The first outing, he struck out five out of six. The second outing he struck out three out of six. So he was staying after that. And then we turned him into a starter."

            The Marlins also called up Rivera, who has played parts of seven seasons in the majors, most recently with Milwaukee in 2009. The Marlins signed Rivera a few days ago and assigned him to Triple A after catcher Brett Hayes dislocated his shoulder. In 528 major league at bats with the Brewers, Tigers and Padres, Rivera is a .244 hitter with 13 home runs.

            Rodriguez said Brad Davis will receive "the most playing time" behind the plate while Rivera will be the backup.


           Braves: 1. Omar Infante, 2b; 2. Jason Heyward, rf; 3. Martin Prado, 3b; 4. Brian McCann, c; 5. Derrek Lee, 1b; 6. Melky Cabrera, lf; 7. Alex Gonzalez, ss; 8. Rick Ankiel, cf; 9. Jair Jurrjens, p.

           Marlins: 1. Cameron Maybin, cf; 2. Logan Morrison, lf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Dan Uggla, 2b; 5. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 6. Chad Tracy, 3b; 7. Mike Stanton, rf; 8. Brad Davis, c; 9. Josh Johnson, p.

September 03, 2010

Marlins Appealing Suspensions, Nyjer Morgan Responds


              Chris Volstad, Alex Sanabia and Gaby Sanchez are appealing their suspensions stemming from Wednesday's brawl with the Nationals. Manager Edwin Rodriguez will serve his one-game suspension tonight, with bench coach Brandon Hyde handling the managing duties when the Marlins open a three-game series against the Braves.

              The appeals will effectively delay the suspensions and help the Marlins make it through a busy stretch of seven games in six days due to Monday's doubleheader in Philadelphia. But with Ricky Nolasco and Sean West both out with injuries, they'll still have to find someone to start one of the two doubleheader games. (Anibal Sanchez will start one of the two in Philly).

               The suspensions caught no one by surprise, with the possible exception of Sanabia. He said that during the melee, he became entangled with Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn, which resulted in a five-game suspension. Volstad received six days. Gaby Sanchez was hit with three.Minnie

               "He threw me like a rag doll," Sanabia said of Dunn. "He just grabbed me."

             The Nationals' Nyjer Morgan was hit with a eight-game suspension that will be added to a seven-game suspension that he is currently appealing. The Marlins were upset not so much by his steal of second and third bases as they were with his actions. Even though the Nationals were trailing 14-4 at the time, Morgan looked into the Marlins dugout and thumped his chest after stealing the two bases and scoring on a sacrifice fly.

             Here's what Morgan told reporters tonight in Pittsburgh:

             "I don't think I did anything wrong. I was just playing the game hard. People are blowing it way out of proportion. I guess we're supposed to lay down in the fourth inning. That's not going to happen. If they really thought the game was out of reach for us, they would've moved the first baseman back and I wouldn't I was just trying to show the organization and our fans, Nats Nation, that even though we were getting it handed to us, we weren't quitting. I don't roll over for anybody. have run....I understand why I got thrown at the first time, which was understandable, but don't throw at me again. I won't stand for that. I had to go out there.  I don't see why I'm the bad guy in this situation. One play was a hard play. I took out the catcher in a nice, clean fashion."

            And this from Nats manager Jim Riggleman:

            "We were down 11 runs. My feeling about it is, when I'm way up or way down in a ballgame, I don't run. I never have any issues when somebody else runs. I just choose not to run on those situations. However, when a player gets hit and he decides, OK, you hit me, you're going to pay the price for hitting me and I'm going to run,' the result of that is that they threw at him again. If we had to do it all over again, we may not run there."

                       Here are some interesting notes provided by Trent McCotter, vice chairman of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Records Committee:

                Until Wednesday, only player since 2000 had stolen so much as one base with his team either up or down 10 or more runs. That was Clint Barmes of the Colorado Rockies in 2008. The record for the largest run differential in which a player swiped a base belongs to Minnie Minoso, who stole second in a 1955 game with his team ahead 28-6. And talk about disrespect: Orlando Cepeda once stole HOME with his team leading 17-3 in a 1962 game.

                MARLINS PROMOTE TWO....The Marlins called up outfielder Scott Cousins and pitcher Chris Leroux from Triple A New Orleans. Rodriguez said that with Donnie Murphy out for the season with a dislocated wrist, Emilio Bonifacio would become the primary backup infielder while Cousins would serve as the Marlins' fourth outfielder. Cousins was in New York the day before the Marlins opened the season against the Mets but was sent down when it was determined that Cody Ross would be okay to play.

                 LINEUP vs. Braves: 1. Cameron Maybin, cf; 2. Logan Morrison, lf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Dan Uggla, 5. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 6. Chad Tracy, 3b; 7. Mike Stanton, rf; 8. Brad Davis, c; 9. Andrew Miller, p.

MLB Suspends Chris Volstad, Alex Sanabia, Gaby Sanchez and Edwin Rodriguez (among others)


               MLB has announced punishments for Wednesday's brawl between the Marlins and Nationals, and nine members of the two clubs, including both managers and a coach, received suspensions and/or fines.

                Here's the rundown:

                -- Marlins pitcher Chris Volstad, 6-game suspension plus fine

                -- Marlins pitcher Alex Sanabia, 5-game suspension

                -- Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez, 3-game suspension

                -- Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez, 1-game suspension plus fine

                -- Marlins reliever Jose Veras, undisclosed fine

                -- Nationals outfielder Nyjer Morgan, 8-game suspension plus fine

                -- Nationals pitcher Doug Slaten, 3-game suspension

                -- Nationals third-base coach Pat Listach, 3-game suspension plus fine

                -- Nationals manager Jim Riggleman, 1-game suspension plus fine

                The league said that Volstad and Sanabia, who was cited for fighting, will not have to serve their suspensions at the same time, pending any appeals. All of the suspensions are to begin tonight, except for Sanabia's, which is scheduled to start next Wednesday. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out with the Marlins, who have six games over the next five days due to a doubleheader on Monday in Philadelphia. My guess is that Volstad will very likely appeal Friday's ruling and thereby delay his suspension in order to help the Marlins get through this busy stretch.

               Rodriguez will serve his suspension immediatley by sitting out tonight's game. By the way, the league said it disciplined Morgan for a "series of recent incidents," including what it said were "inappropriate gestures and comments towards the fans as he left the field following the incent" at Sun Life Stadium on Wednesday.

                Question: Do you think the punishments were fair?

September 02, 2010

Marlins Catcher John Baker to Undergo Tommy John Surgery; Sign Mike Rivera


           More bad news for the Marlins and their catchers. John Baker will undergo Tommy John surgery on Friday. Baker was examined Thursday by Dr. James Andrews and, in a text message, said that tests "revealed damage to the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament)."

in his right elbow.

           "Super frustrating," Baker wrote, "but at least I can move forward."

            Baker will likely miss the early part of the 2011 season, not to mention the rest of this one.

            "Some say a year, but the time frame is usually for pitchers," Baker said. "Position players tend to come back faster. I'm really happy to put this behind me and move forward. It's been a rough year for me."

            The Marlins, in an effort to bolster their beleaguered catching corps, signed journeyman catcher Mike Rivera and assigned him to Triple A New Orleans. Rivera, 35, has played parts of seven seasons with the Tigers, Padres and Brewers. He last played in the majors with Milwaukee in 2009.

              Baker has been out since May and the Marlins were not holding out much hope he would return this season. But they've also lost Brett Hayes (dislocated shoulder) and Ronny Paulino (50-game league suspension) within the past two weeks.