WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Instead of going to visit Capitol Hill or the Washington Monument, Chris Coghlan and Logan Morrison got up early Friday to go visit the XM Radio Headquarters and serve as guests on Cal Ripken's afternoon show.
The interview proved to be a thrill and a bit embarrassing for Coghlan, who grew up in Maryland idolizing the Orioles Hall of Fame shortstop, and had never spoken to him before.
"It was cool," Coghlan said. "They were just asking us questions about pitchers and different nicknames. They asked us who we don't like facing on the Giants, the Phillies, pitchers. Then he asked us about the nicknames for Gaby [Sanchez] and Mike [Stanton]. That was it really.
"Then Logan was like Chris can't concentrate because he loves you, or your his idol or whatever. I was like, 'Sweet 'Mo thanks for dropping me under the bus."
Ripken let Coghlan off easy and even complemented the Marlins center fielder, telling him 'You wear No. 8 well.' But Morrison gave his teammate a hard time and even used an Eminem rap from the song Lose Yourself to describe the scene for reporters.
"He was all nervous," Morrison said before breaking into the lyrics of Eminem's song. "His palms were sweaty. His knees were weak and his arms were heavy. There was vomit on his sweater already, his mom's spaghetti. He was calm and ready to drop bombs but he kept forgetting the words he wrote down... I forgot the rest."
Coghlan did share a good Ripken story from his childhood.
"I remember trying to get his autograph when I was a kid," Coghlan said. "It was at Camden Yards, the only game I ever went to. He was always really good about giving autographs. He came out for awhile before the game and of course everybody is bombarding him. I'm down there, he's passing by and I'm like I've been sitting here for 20 minutes I'm going to throw my hat on the field, surely he's going to pick it up. He walked right by it.
"I was maybe 7. I was about to cry because now I didn't even have my hat. Eventually a security guy picked it up and gave it to me. I've seen other kids try that maneuver. Now, I actually pick up the hat and sign it because it's a good manuever man. It didn't work for me but it's worked for other kids for wanting my autographs."
> After missing the last 21 games, Morrison is more than the thrilled to be back in the Marlins lineup tonight. But just because he's back doesn't mean his left foot is completely pain free.
Morrison, who suffered a strained arch on April 19 and played in three rehab games down in Jupiter earlier this week, said he still occasionally feels his foot "bite" when he's "making adjustments and last second cuts in the outfield."
"Swinging, I don't really feel it that much unless it's an awkward swing where my foot is out in front or I take bad swing at a ball in the dirt," Morrison said. "It's just something that bites and goes away. It never lingers."
Morrison said he had the option of playing another game in Jupiter Thursday, but opted to skip it because he didn't want the expanded strike zone in Single A to affect his swing. When Morrison went down, he was leading the team in batting average (.327), home runs (4) and RBI (11).
How would he rate his swing now? "I'd put it In the garbage can," Morrison joked. "I don't know. We'll find out today. I'm excited to get back out there and to see where I'm at. It's one of those things that if it's not there right away, I'll be able to figure it out next week or so. I don't think it's going to be one of those things where I go o-fer for awhile. I hope not. I could go o-fer if I was hurt or not too. I'm just going to go out there and grind it out, be the player I am. "
> Reliever Edward Mujica, who hopped down into a heap of pain Monday before being carted off with what he called a ligament strain in the back of his left knee, will be available to pitch tonight. Mujica was available to pitch Wednesday in an emergency situation according to manager Edwin Rodriguez.
Mujica said he will wear a protective sleeve on his left knee for the next couple days. "I'm just going to keep using it a couple days for balance," he said.
> Javi Vazquez, who left the team Tuesday on bereavement, was back in the clubhouse Friday after returning home to Puerto Rico for a few days to be with his wife and children.
Vazquez said a family member of his wife's died suddenly and he received the news late Sunday night, less than 24 hours before making what turned out to be another rough start against the Phillies.
"I was just concerned for my wife and my wife's family," Vazquez said.
The Phillies got nine hits and produced six runs, five earned off Vazquez over a span of 4 1/3 innings. But he said the tragic news didn't affect him.
"When I'm on the mound I forget about that stuff, concentrate on what my job is," Vazquez said. "It didn't bother me. It was no excuse for how I pitched."
Vazquez said he worked out in Puerto Rico with his personal trainer after dropping his kids off at school Tuesday through Thursday. He said he was going to throw "a short bullpen" Friday.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez said he will monitor Vazquez, scheduled to pitch Sunday, closely. "He will stay in the rotation Sunday and then Friday," Rodriguez said.
> With Morrison back in the lineup, Rodriguez said he will try to get first baseman Gaby Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante -- the only Marlins to play in every single game this season -- a day off. Infante will probably go first, possibly on Sunday.
"He keeps saying he's fine," Rodriguez said of Infante. "[But] I think it's affecting his quickness at second and his bat speed. He wants to be out there, but I think it's fair to give him a break."