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Edwin Rodriguez talks ghosts, losing skid, Hanley's struggles and the lack of leadership in the Marlins clubhouse

ST. PETERSBURG -- A couple hours before Saturday's game, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez spent about five minutes in the dugout sharing a few laughs and ghost stories with relievers Steve Cishek and Leo Nunez.

Edwin RodriguezWith the team staying at the Vinoy Hotel, a resort with its share of ghost stories, Nunez has flat out avoided staying there, instead opting to be a guest at the home of Rays reliever and friend Joel Peralta. Cishek, meanwhile, has had two rough nights getting any sleep. Cishek made Rodriguez roar with laughter when he told him how he heard pounding at his door at 3:30 a.m., followed by someone whispering his name.

"If the ghost can hit," Rodriguez said. "Let him know I'll give him a tryout."

With the Marlins mired in one of the worst losing skids in franchise history, Rodriguez is willing to do anything to get his team out of it. Saturday, he juggled his lineup and moved a struggling Hanley Ramirez down to sixth in the batting order. It's the first time since his rookie year of 2006, Ramirez, the NL's 2009 batting champion hasn't hit first, second or third in the Marlins lineup.

Rodriguez said he's tried everything to help the Marlins shake their hitting woes with runners in scoring position. From having the team's sports psychologist talk to each player individually to yelling, screaming and throwing things around the clubhouse himself. He said he's even tried meditation. But nothing has worked. 

"I wish you guys could be in the dugout during the game. When guys struggle and come back to the dugout it's amazing," Rodriguez said. "Some of them, they're shaking because they're so mad. We tell them breathe in, breathe out. They literally have been like that. I don't want to put out names. But during the game we actually have to tell them to calm down. You talk about it and people say it's an excuse. You have to be here to understand what we're talking about.

"There's only so much you can do or say to the player. Bottomline when they go up there in front of 40,000 people yelling and screaming, and you're 21 and 23, it's hard to do. I think it's what's happening to them."

Rodriguez insists what's led the Marlins to dropping 19 of their last 22 games coming into Saturday have been the injuries to their best players -- ace Josh Johnson, Hanley Ramirez, setup man Clay Hensley and Nunez. He said young players are being asked to do more than they're ready to do. And a lack of leadership in the clubhouse is also hurting.

"That's another thing. We don't have -- we're lacking that veteran presence, a guy who will come and say come on guys, we need to step back and have some fun," Rodriguez said. "There's only so much a coach and manager can say. Coming from a player, one of them, it will be different. Like Luis Gonzalez or Carlos Delgado when he was here. Darren Daulton. We're lacking that."

"When we put together the team back in November we talked about JJ being the No. 1 guy in the rotation, Hanley being the No. 3 hitter, the run production guy, Leo being the closer, Hensley the setup. If any of those guys go down its going to affect the whole team. That's where the minor leagues come into play. We not only lost one or two or three, but four. The ace, three-hole hitter, setup and closer we're all down. How do you replace those guys? We don't have that. I don't think any organization has that where the ace goes down and replace the ace. That affected the team and the whole season. If you have an experienced team like St. Louis, when Wainwright went down, it doesn't affect as you as much. [Albert] Pujols, [Chris] Carpenter know how to handle that. This young team doesn't, they're still learning.</p>

<p>"Asking these young guys to step up and replace that -- I think they might do it, but they're putting too much pressure on themselves. We pretty much have the same team we had the first two months of the season, but not JJ and no Hanley. No coincidence we started losing when we lost Hanley. The talent is still there, but now the approach is different. They feel the pressure. It's a snowball."

As for Ramirez, Rodriguez said he's spoken to a lot of people around baseball to try and figure out why the Marlins $70 million man has fallen so off track.

"Nobody has the answer," Rodriguez said. "His swing is different, that's for sure. His swing is too much body, too much arm. The bat speed is at best average. So what it is, I don't know. I don't if he's off balance. I don't know if he's trying to hard. Nobody has an answer."

One National League scout in attendance Saturday said Ramirez's swing has simply gotten long and he's trying to make up for it by starting his swing earlier. Ramirez, who has bulked up over the years, has hit just .249 with 73 runs scored, 40 RBI and 12 home runs since he finished runner-up in the home run derby at last year's All-Star break.

"I think he needs to realize he's older now," Rodriguez said of Ramirez. "I didn't know him back then, but maybe he used to pick up the glove and bat a week before spring training and just start hitting. Now, he's getting a lit bit older now and it isn't the same. He needs to keep himself in good shape during the offseason. I don't know if that's the reason. Maybe he works out in the offseason. But that's my observation. He definitely needs to change his approach or whatever he's doing. During the season, during the offseason, whatever. Last year was a bad year for him under his standards. This year, it's not getting any better."

Comments

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Samsons Boyfriend

Sounds like another excuse for losing,albeit the truth...if Beinfest knew he needed a veteran presence on the team he had ample time since last Nov. to go out and get one or two...Marlins org have always fallen back on the "young team excuse" it sounds like a broken record...Hanleys just an enigma unto himself,that nobody can help because he's either too stubborn or too ignorant to apply sage advice...Marlins have run out of excuses..The Emperor Has No Clothes and He Is FUGLY...

bob

If it's really bat speed, Hanley should do what Cantu did and practice swinging underwater, help him improve his bat speed and see if that helps.

The Marlins could also ask the Braves for a tradeback, since Uggla is also doing horribly without his former double play partner.

Samsons Boyfriend

Right now, Cantu's Career is underwater as he was released by Padres,wasn't hitting worth a crap and hasn't been picked up by another team.Good thought though ,Bob...Let the Braves keep Uggs,he's their problem now...Marlins caught a lucky break when Uggs decided to play hardball with them...Too bad he can't hit one now...NOT...

Scott

Edwin should be like Terry Collins of the mets. Not using injuries as an excuse but keeping the clubhouse positive and re-inforcing to the current players there they belong in the majors and they deserve the opportunity to play.

Flav C

Nolasco: 6 million in 2011
John Buck: 6 million in 2011
Javier Vazquez: 7 million in 2011
Hanley Ramirez: 11 million in 2011

What a way to spend 30 million dollars.

Samsons Boyfriend

Sorry to hear that Clarence Clemons,whose last public appearence was playing the National Anthem Opening Day at Marlins Game,has died....R.I.P Big Man...

Flav C

R.I.P. Clarence...your solos in bandlands, born to run will remain forever...

Lou Vales

Too bad about Clarence. Saw the Band several times. Still remember when Ronald Wilson Reagan and the entire White House thought "Born in the U.S.A." was a patriotic paean. Maybe someone could have read the words.

Lou Vales

Do you know how few people where I live can correctly insert "Paean" into a sentence?

Flav C

Maybe if you had used "tribute" or "hymn" some more people where you live could understand. Or maybe not. They probably thought it was a patriotic paean too.

Chris

This just shows how pathetic of a manager Edwin Rodriguez is. Nothing but excuses and "I don't knows" and "maybe's". It makes it seem like he doesn't know what is going on. As a major league manager you are the head of the team, the team's captain the one who steers and leads the ship. He needs to be aware of his players conditioning(Hanley), and if he knows the issue with Hanley's swing why hasn't he changed it? Some of the excuses are valid, but in my opinion especially after reading this article, the Marlins need a new skipper.

Lou Vales

A HUGE hit by Infante. It came with a RISP meaning we only went 1-12 instead of 0-12.

Nice to know that Stanton got around to telling someone he couldn't see. It's too bad that baseball players are not given the Wunderlink Test or some type of variant before signing.

We miht go 1 for the month. That would be GREAT!!!!!!

By the way, if Helms isn't a "veteran presence" in the dugout, what is his purpose??

Lopez


Wise


Buck


Infante

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Get ready Tommy. We will try to crack your crack staff on Tuesday. I hope you realize what a fool you will look like if you don't respond to what is happening. Are you going to really allow a punk like Samson to shut you up???

Erick


By the way, if Helms isn't a "veteran presence" in the dugout, what is his purpose??

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/fish_bytes/2011/06/edwin-rodriguez-talks-ghosts-losing-skid-hanleys-struggles-and-the-lack-of-leadership-in-the-marlins.html#ixzz1PgcJ9Ibx

I said the same exact thing to myself after reading this blog.

Lou Vales

Erick, You going to e-mail Tommy bahama??

Villa26

I think that Hanley has added too much upper body muscle, and that is slowing his swing...
Just ask a bodybuilder to swing a bat, they will do it SLOOOOOWLY, just like our 70$ million player.

Villa26

Hanley needs to land in planet earth and concentrare on what he is doing.

Lou Vales

The Herald should run a contest. Whoever gets closest to date the Marlins are mathematically eliminated gets a seat in the Herald club seats for the opener.

Might be the FIRST time in history that an opener in a brand new stadium is not sold out. If I knew how to do those things with the voodoo dolls there would not be enough bobby pins in all of South Florida to account for you know who.

Lou Vales

Greensboro lost 1-0 in 12.Maybe it's contagious.

I'm glad that Edwin can joke about this.He knows he's gone either sooner or later and he would rather mess with Nunez'spirits than have to tolerate Batman and Robbing much longer

Samsons Boyfriend

WELLL Gang..The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round...Hmmm..Lets See..Batting Coach Fired..Check..Cogs Sent Down..Check..By the way,Where is he??..not in Oklahoma City in the line-up for the Zephyrs yet..Taking the scenic route or taking his sweet azzz time ..Still In Shock??..WHOSE TURN UNDER THE BUS IS IT NEXT???Anybody Care to Venture A Guess?? Also, Marlins afraid of Ghosts at Hotel? How do you think the Ghosts feel about staying with these Marlins...BOOOOOO!!!

Lou Vales

Samson, I was just thinking Coghlan is taking his sweetA$$ time getting down to the minors and sure enough you bring it up. The great minds on this Blog are really thinking alike. I just hope that Matt's Phone, Glags Flav, Stan and all the others are no longer agonizing over this crap.

People, This is garbage. rancid, foul, nasty refuse that should not be witnessed by anyone not wear.ing a high tech gas mask

Wouldn't it be great to scare the crap out of Nunez with a ghost scenario.His buddy should already have it in the works.

Samsons Boyfriend

Would love to scare the Bejeezus out of Nunez..Gotta find a Beetlejuice...

Samsons Boyfriend

Another thing..Last year before season Fredi, Cogs and Baker went to visit troops overseas..Then during the season Fredi gets fired and Baker and Cogs suffer season ending injuries..Beinfest went on that trip also and his track record is being seriously questioned for the first time in his career..Just Wondering...Buck and Lomo went this year..Just Wondering...

Lenny Dykstra

Samson, please wear a Charlie Brown ghost sheet to the game with a sign that says "We want Nunez"...when the Fish return home.

Samsons Boyfriend

Gotta Get Nunez when he least expects it..

michael cornely

Ther has been no hard criticism of this team by the media, why?

The tv and radio announcers are homers who make it sound like it is a two game losing streak

God forbid that the heat lose two in a row.The media calls for a new coach, trade Lebron etc.

Hank Goldberg said it right this is a bad sports town

boots

samson,could not stop laughing.maybe cogs get recall before he gets there,having always listen to Tommy i was wondering what happen to him this year,guess he got the LOMO spanking.

Samsons Boyfriend

@ MichaelC...nature of the Beast with small-maket Clubs..Now,if your in NY or Boston,it's a whole different animal..Homer announcers keep their Jobs..Just ask Steve Stone{Cubs}or Tim McCarver{Mets} both sheet-canned for telling it like it is...Hank Goldberg,an Icon of Miami sports media , is really a great guy...Remember, radio talk show hosts have an act too...Tommy's no Dummy,he been a color guy for years with several diff teams..he knows where the line is drawn...

sean

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