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38 posts from March 2011

March 24, 2011

Chris Coghlan: Still in the Minors

   JUPITER -- Good morning from foggy Jupiter, where I just met up with Chris Coghlan as he emerged from the batting cage and asked him about his status. The latest: he'll be playing in another minor league game this afternoon instead of standing on the field at Roger Dean Stadium with the big boys.

   Because of what he described as a "hiccup" with his sore throwing shoulder, Coghlan didn't play Wednesday in a minor league game as scheduled and won't be in the lineup -- as was also previously anticipated -- for this afternoon's game against the Red Sox.

   "It was just a little hiccup," Coghlan said.

   Coghlan said he was performing throwing drills before Wednesday's minor league game when he noticed something wasn't quite right with his right shoulder.

   "It was a heavy workload -- cuts and relays -- and then i went to the minor league field and threw some more," he said. "I was long tossing, and when it was time to try it, it was just a little hiccup. I don't think it's a major setback where I don't think I'll be ready (for Opening Day)."

   If Coghlan doesn't play in any of the remaining Grapefruit League games, the Marlins can place him on the disabled list retroactive to March 22 and bring him back on April 7.

   Coghlan still believes he'll be fine by then, but time is growing short.

   "They (the coaching staff) have reiterated to me that the only way I'm going out there (to play in big league games) is if they feel I'm ready to play to start the season," Coghlan said. "They're protecting me in that sense, and I'm just listening to what they say."

March 23, 2011

Coghlan, Stanton To Return Vs. Red Sox (Or Maybe Not)

   UPDATE: Following Wednesda's game in Lake Buena Vista, manager Edwin Rodriguez said Coghlan did not play in a minor league game as anticipated and probably would not play Thursday against the Red Sox. He said he was uncertain why Coghlan didn't play in the minor league game, but it's safe to assume his sore right shoulder remains an issue. Marlins general manager Mike Hill said the thinking remains that Coghlan will be ready for the season opener on April 1, but time is running out, obviously.

   LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Big day tomorrow at Roger Dean Stadium, where the Boston Red Sox head over to face the Fish. Being that is late in spring training, the Sox are sending over some of their bigger names: David Ortiz, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury to name a few.

   But it'll also be a key day for the Marlins, who are expected to welcome the return of Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton. Manager Edwin Rodriguez said this morning that he planned to start the two outfielders. For Stanton, it will make his first major league spring game since the UM exhibition in late February. Coghlan has been out with a sore right shoulder.

    Rodriguez said it'll be at least one more day -- Friday, perhaps -- before he plays all three of his starting outfielders, as Logan Morrison will likely get the day off on Thursday. The manager said that he expects to play Coghlan and Stanton in most of the remaining spring games, health permitting.

     Here are the lineups for this afternoon's game, which is a big one for Ricky Nolasco. He needs to show something today or risk being pushed back in the rotation to start the season. His first two spring outings have not gone well as he tries to play catch up from a thumb injury.

    MARLINS:  1. Dewayne Wise, cf; 2. Ozzie Martinez, 2b; 3. Logan Morrison, lf; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Donnie Murphy, ss; 6. Scott Cousins, rf; 7. Brett Hayes, c; 8. Matt Dominguez, 3b; 9. Nolasco, p.

    BRAVES: 1. Martin Prado, lf; 2. Nate McLouth, cf; 3. Chipper Jones, 3b; 4. Brian McCann, c; 5. Dan Uggla, 2b; 6. Jason Heyward, rf; 7. Alex Gonzalez, ss; 8. Freddie Freeman, 1b; 9. Tim Hudson.


March 22, 2011

Matt Dominguez Out Sick; Donnie Murphy Starting Today at 3rd (w/video)

 JUPITER -- Matt Dominguez has a stomach virus and was sent home this morning to recuperate. Donnie Murphy is getting the start at third for this afternoon's game against Carl Pavano and the Twins.

  Dominguez, of course, is mired in a 1 for 23 slump that has lowered his average to .175 and endangered his chances of making the Opening Day roster. The Marlins have a couple of backup plans if Dominguez starts the season in the minors. They could use a patchwork of Murphy, Wes Helms and Emilio Bonifacio at third. They could slide Omar Infante over to third, though that is not the preferred option. They could seek out a trade.

   Manager Edwin Rodriguez said he would like to have the situation at third resolved by Sunday, though.

   "We're not going to force the situation," Rodriguez said of Dominguez. "If he's not ready, he's not ready and we move on."

   Bonifacio is starting in center today and Greg Dobbs as the Marlins continue to await the return of Chris Coghlan and Mike Stanton. Stanton will be playing in the field today in a minor league game for the first time. Coghlan will also be playing in a minor league game.

    Rodriguez said both Coghlan and Stanton would be ready for Grapefruit League action on Thursday, and also added that he fully expects both to be in the Opening Day lineup when the Marlins kick off the season on April 1 against the Mets.

    Here's Rodriguez discussing Dominguez at the morning session with reporters:

    Today's Lineup: 1. Bonifacio, cf; Omar Infante, 2b, Ramirez, ss; Sanchez, 1b; Morrison, lf; Buck, c; Dobbs, rf; Murphy, 3b; Johnson, p.

March 20, 2011

Catching Up With Ronny Paulino

     JUPITER -- Dressed in his street clothes, Mets catcher Ronny Paulino wandered into foul territory at Roger Dean Stadium this morning and checked out the Marlins as they worked on a baserunning drill. He called out greetings in Spanish to several of his former teammates, Emilio Bonifacio and Hanley Ramirez.

      It was Paulino's first exposure to the Marlins since Aug. 19 of last season when he walked out of the visitor's clubhouse at PNC Park in Pittsburgh after being informed of his 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy. Paulino tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug that he claimed was contained in a diet pill he was using to control his body weight.

      As a result, Paulino missed the final 42 games of the 2009 season and will be required to sit out the first eight games of this season to complete the suspension.

      Paulino confided Sunday that he was aware of his positive drug test for a "long time" last season as he awaited the results of the split sample, which confirmed the original finding. As a result, he said his production suffered with that knowledge weighing heavily on him.

     Paulino hit just .173 (19 for 110) with one home run after July 1.

     "Of course," Paulino said. "You're expecting what might be coming. And when it's something that you know is going to affect your career, for something like that, you have to feel bad. This is all I have -- baseball."

     After saying his goodbye to the Marlins, Paulino said he remained in Pittsburgh, where his family has a home, before venturing to the Dominican Republic to play winter ball. The Marlins put Paulino in their rearview mirror over the winter when they signed free agent catcher John Buck to a 3-year deal. Paulino landed with the Mets on a 1-year deal worth $1.35 million. He said he's ready and excited for a fresh start.

       "I got a lot of support from family, friends and former teammates," Paulino said. "They helped me a lot, big-time."

     ROSTER CUTS -- The Marlins trimmed four players from their spring training roster on Sunday, bringing the number still left in camp to 37. Reassigned to minor-league camp were RHP Elih Villanueva, OF John Raynor, C Clint Sammons and INF Tim Torres. Manager Edwin Rodriguez spoke highly of Villanueva, who was the Marlins' organizational pitcher of the year last season. "He's going to be in the big leagues eventually, and for many years," Rodriguez said of Villanueva, who appeared in four Grapefruit League games (including one start), going 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA.

     MORNING NOTES: Rodriguez said outfielder Mike Stanton could play his first Grapefruit League game on Thursday. Stanton is playing in a minor league game today as a designated hitter. Rodriguez said that Stanton could play right field for the first time in a minor league game on Tuesday. Outfielder Chris Coghlan (sore arm) is also playing in another minor league game today....Outfielder Logan Morrison, who was scratched from Saturday's lineup due to flu-like symptoms, is back in today. Rodriguez said the bug is going around. Ramirez, John Baker and Brett Hayes were also under the weather on Saturday.

     TODAY'S LINEUPS (with Anibal Sanchez nursing a bruised right shin, the Marlins are using a designated hitter today, but the Mets are not):

      Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, cf; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Logan Morrison, lf; 6. John Buck, c; 7. Wes Helms, dh; 8. Matt Dominguez, 3b; 9. Dewayne Wise, rf. Pitching: Anibal Sanchez.

      Mets: 1. Willie Harris, lf; 2. Luis Hernandez, ss; 3. Scott Hairston, cf; 4. Ike Davis, 1b; 5. Nick Evans, 3b; 6. Lucas Duda, rf; 7. Brad Emaus, 2b; 8. Ronny Paulino, c; 9. Chris Young, rhp.

      BROADCAST NOTE: Today's game is being shown on Fox Sports Network and also being carried on 790-AM.

March 19, 2011

Marlins: Rotation Sequence Could Change

    JUPITER -- The rotation is lined up to go Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Javier Vazquez, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad -- at the moment.

    But manager Edwin Rodriguez said that could change depending on how Nolasco and Sanchez pitch in their next starts. Nolasco, who is penciled into the No. 2 spot and would follow Johnson to face the Mets on April 2, has pitched poorly in his first two spring starts. If he doesn't show improvement in his third outing, Rodriguez said he could get pushed back.

    "The thumb (injury) is not a concern," Rodriguez said. "It's the quality of his pitches."

    With Sanchez, the issue is his leg. He took a line drive off his right shin in his previous outing, forcing him to skip his last scheduled start. He'll return to the mound on Sunday to face the Mets. But the Marlins don't want him running the bases and will use a designated hitter in his lineup spot.

    Despite those uncertainties, Rodriguez would prefer the rotation remain as is. The Marlins are off on Monday, but Volstad will pitch in a minor-league game to keep the current sequence intact..

    -- It's more of the usual today for Mike Stanton (quad) and Chris Coghlan (shoulder), the Marlins' two healing outfielders. Both will be starting in a minor league game, Stanton as a designated hitter and Coghlan in center. Rodriguez said Coghlan would play in another minor league game on Sunday. After that, a decision will be made whether to return him to the Grapefruit League action with the big-leaguers.

    -- Rodriguez said he's looking for five innings today from Vazquez.


    Marlins: 1. Dewayne Wise, cf; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Logan Morrison, lf; 5. Greg Dobbs, 1b; 6. Brad Davis, c; 7. Matt Dominguez, 3b; 8. Josh Kroeger, rf; 9. Javier Vazquez, p.

    Cardinals: 1. Ryan Theriot, ss; 2. Colby Rasmus, cf; 3. Albert Pujols, 1b; 4. Matt Holliday, lf; 5. Matt Carpenter, 3b; 6. Yadier Molina, c; 7. Skip Schumaker, 2b; 8. Nick Stravinoha, rf; 9. Kyle Lohse, p.

March 18, 2011

Marlins Have Had Internal Discussions About Luis Castillo

  JUPITER -- The Marlins have spoken internally about reacquiring second baseman Luis Castillo, who was released on Friday by the New York Mets.

  Castillo, who has one year remaining on his contract, is owed $6 million, which the Mets will absorb.

   The 35-year-old second baseman played 10 seasons with the Marlins from 1996-2005 and won three Gold Gloves and two World Series rings with the team.

   The Marlins have discussed Castillo as a low-cost option at second base if Matt Dominguez doesn't make the club and Omar Infante is moved to third.

T Minus Two Weeks and Counting to Opening Day

   JUPITER -- We're now exactly 14 days out from Opening Day, er, Night. I'm not big on night openers, but that's what the Marlins decided to do for what will be their final season opener at Sun Life Stadium.

    Here's what's happening at this hour as the Marlins prepare to face the Houston Astros this afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium:

    -- Mike Stanton will again DH in a minor league game today but will remain on the bases to run if he reaches. Yesterday, he was replaced with pinch-runners the three times he reached base. Manager Edwin Rodriguez said that Stanton ran after yesterday's game. Still no target date on when he'll see his first action in a Grapefruit League game.

    -- Chris Coghlan isn't playing today. Rodriguez said he just wants to allow Coghlan's sore throwing arm some time to heal. Rodriguez said Coghlan would play back-to-back days this weekend in minor-league games.

     -- Also receiving a day off: third baseman Matt Dominguez. Dominguez's average has slipped to .219 but Rodriguez said there are no concerns with the rookie. He said he still likes the kid's approach at the plate. But Rodriguez said the next two weeks should reveal much about Dominguez, since he'll be seeing more at bats against frontline pitchers.

     -- Ricky Nolasco is making his second spring start. Rodriguez said he's hoping to get four innings out of Nolasco this afternoon.

     Today's lineups:

      Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, cf; 2. Ozzie Martinez, 2b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. John Buck, c; 6. Greg Dobbs, dh; 7. Donnie Murphy, 3b; 8. Josh Kroeger, lf; 9. Scott Cousins, rf. Pitching: Ricky Nolasco.

      Astros: 1. Michael Bourn, cf; 2. Clint Barmes, ss; 3. Hunter Pence, rf; 4. Brett Wallace, 1b; 5. Chris Johnson, 3b; 6. J.B. Shuck, lf; 7. J.R. Towles, c; 8. Humberto Quintero, dh; 9. Anderson Hernandez, 2b. Pitching: J.A. Happ.

March 17, 2011

Another Setback for Chris Coghlan

      JUPITER -- Chris Coghlan is headed to the minors, but not as a demotion. Due to continuing inflammation in his right (throwing) shoulder, the Marlins have decided to have Coghlan play in minor league games for the time being until the swelling and soreness subsides.

      The question now becomes, will Coghlan be ready for Opening Day? He says he will, and manager Edwin Rodriguez echoed that sentiment. On the other hand, Coghlan said he doesn't know what to expect since he's never experienced arm or shoulder issues at any time previously in his baseball career.

       The only good news for Coghlan and the Marlins is that a recent MRI showed no structural damage to the rotator cuff, site of the problem. But Coghlan might not be ready to appear in a big-league game for a week, if not longer. There's even a chance, if the problem persists, that he opens the season on the disabled list.

       Coghlan attributed the shoulder inflammation from lack of use over the winter when he was allowing his surgically repaired left knee to heal. The knee is fine now, he says. Coghlan even legged out a triple on Wednesday. But he said he didn't throw over the winter, and when he tried to compensate by throwing rigorously at the start of spring training, he experienced soreness.

         "What I probably should have done is shut it down quicker, and not allow it to get to the point where it's taken a week, two weeks to get better," Coghlan said of his shoulder. "What happened was I couldn't get my arm in shape because of my knee. After Thanksgiving is when I (usually) start throwing."

        When he started throwing in mid-February at the start of spring training, Coghlan had gone nearly seven months without throwing a baseball.

         By playing in minor league games, Coghlan's throwing will be restricted to shorter throws. He said he'll still be able to throw to second base, for example, just "not anything to let go."

         "What Edwin (Rodriguez) was hoping, but it's not looking good so far, is that he wanted all three of us (Coghlan, Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison) to play together," Coghlan said. "That's something he wanted."

         Now, Coghlan said, the three might not appear in the same outfield for the first time until Opening Day on April 1. 

         "It could be better in a week, I have no idea," Coghlan said.

         Said Rodriguez: "We want him to be ready to go on Opening Day. I think he should be all right for Opening Day."

         Rodriguez said all three outfielders could be good to go for the final week of spring training.


         When Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante and Gaby Sanchez didn't see their names on Thursday's original lineup card, they told Rodriguez they wanted to play. So the manager made up a new lineup, one that included those three regulars.

         "The regular players came in, like Hanley and Infante and Gaby, they said they all wanted to play at least five innings," Rodriguez said. "I said 'Fine.' It was my decision not to put them in the lineup in the first place. But they said they want to get in more of the rhythm of the game. I like that."

March 16, 2011

Edwin Rodriguez: No Time to Panic

   JUPITER -- Not that he's content with how the Marlins have been performing in losing eight straight coming into today. But Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez is taking a low-key approach when it comes to pointing out the flaws, especially with such a young club.

    "If it were a more veteran team, it would be different," Rodriguez said. "Whenever I would feel like it, I would express myself. But, with this team, I have to be careful. I don't want to hurt any feelings. So if I say something, I have to watch what I say, because they I might say something and they will take it the wrong way."

    Bottom line: no team meetings to air his disappointment. No yet.

    As Rodriguez pointed out this morning, it's not just that the Marlins are losing. It's "the way they've been losing games."

     The bats are dead. The starters have stunk. The bullpen has been abysmal. The defense has been dreadful. Nothing is going right. Then again, it's spring training and the Marlins have 2 1/2 weeks until Opening Day to iron out the flaws.

      Step 1 on that path: Rodriguez said he'll start playing the regulars more, at least those that are ealthy. Right fielder Mike Stanton remains hobbled by a quad injury that's taking longer to heal than was originally anticipated. Rodriguez said he remains "optimistic" that Stanton can still get into seven or eight games this spring and be ready for Opening Day. But there's no guarantee, either. Stanton is just doing light jogging at the moment.

      "I think because (the Marlins) are losing and all that's going on, people are starting to say 'Where's Stanton? When's he going to be ready?,'" Rodriguez said. "Pretty much, we were expecting this."

      For now, Rodriguez is trying to ride out the tidal wave of losses by remaining calm.

      "It's spring training, but it's a game," Rodriguez said. "As a ballplayer, and as a manager, you want to win, regardless of what games you're playing. Hopefully, starting today, we'll start seeing more intensity and more energy on the field."

        But Rodriguez says he's not prepared to rip into the club.

        "As a manager, you have to pick your spots," he said. "We have a very young team, and I think they're learning. I don't want to show them...give them the impression that there's panic. There's not. I have to be careful how I'm going to say all that, and the tone that I'm going to use. I don't want to hurt any feelings."

        TODAY'S LINEUPS: (Note: Today's game is the first of five straight being broadcast live on 790-AM The Ticket)

        Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, cf; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Logan Morrison, lf; 6. John Buck, c; 7. Wes Helms, dh; 8. Matt Dominguez, 3b; 9. Emilio Bonifacio, rf. Pitching: Chris Volstad.

        Rays: 1. John Jaso, c; 2. Elliot Johnson, cf; 3. Manny Ramirez, dh; 4. Matt Joyce, rf; 5. Felipe Lopez, 3b; 6. Casey Kotchman, 1b; 7. Sean Rodriguez, 2b; 8. Reid Brignac, ss; 9. Sam Fuld, lf. Pitching: Cory Wade.                      

West, Sanabia Optioned to AAA as Marlins Trim Roster

       JUPITER -- Bunch of moves this morning that will thin out the clubhouse and create some elbow room in the cramped quarters.

        The most significant chops: LHP Sean West and RHP Alex Sanabia were optioned to Triple A New Orleans, as were LHP Dustin Richardson, RHP Steve Cishek and OF Bryan Petersen.

        The Marlins also released OF Chris Lubanski and re-assigned the following players to minor-league camp: C Kyle Skipworth, C Vinny Rottino, , RHP Tom Koehler and RHP Shawn Hill. RHP Sandy Rosario was opened to Double A Jacksonville.

         Those moves now leave 41 players in camp.