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McKeon easing the mood in what was once a 'tight' Marlins dugout

There weren't many times during Edwin Rodriguez's tenure with the Marlins when the 50-year old manager couldn't be found thumbing through the internet on his iPad or updating one of his four websites on his free time. 

Jack McKeon Not the story with Jack McKeon. "My computer," McKeon said Wednesday. "is between my ears."

McKeon, 80, said his first encounter with email and text messages on his cell phone Wednesday revealed he had messages dating as far back as Christmas. He said he read them all then deleted them.

"Now I know how to get them," McKeon said. "But I'm not sending any. Don't ever text me because you won't get an answer. Pick up the phone."

McKeon may not be hip with Twitter, Facebook or anything on the internet, but catcher John Buck said he's figured out quickly how to ease the tension in the Marlins clubhouse -- with laughter and stunning one liners straight out of Yogi Berra's school of deep thoughts.

"Some of the things he saying on the bench at certain times -- whereas in the past we've been really tight -- something will come out of his mouth where we all look around and smile and we say 'Did we all just hear that right?' Buck said.

"He's been around to know when he needs to do it. For some reason he has good timing with it."

> With the Marlins having to move this weekend's series against the Mariners to Seattle because of a U2 concert scheduled at Sun Life Stadium, McKeon was asked how he felt about the band and their music. His response: "I don't know about U2, Jiffy Lube or any of them. I don't know what these guys do. I'm not into any of them. That's for these Twitter guys, Facebook guys.

"Now, I could enjoy the Beach Boys. That's my kind of songs and stuff. Little life. Get the place jumping. We used to have them in San Diego quite often."


Javier Vazquez did more Tuesday than just pick up his first win since May 21.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he became just the third pitcher since 1900 to give up 10 hits in less than six innings of work without giving up a run. The others: Boston's Bill Lee on June 15, 1974 and the Cubs' Chuck Rainey on Aug. 3, 1983.

Vazquez, who owns the worst ERA among starting pitchers in baseball at 6.37, has had two good starts for the Marlins in a row, giving up 18 hits, but just two earned runs over his last 10 1/3 innings. The reason for his newfound success, according to pitching coach Randy St. Claire, is that Vazquez is using his fastball more at the urging of catcher John Buck.

"What makes your off speed pitch is your fastball," St. Claire said. "If you go over 50 percent breaking balls, it becomes a non issue pitch. They start taking them all. The breaking ball is designed to be a ball -- it looks like a strike and breaks out of the zone. So, if they're taking them, that means you're behind in the count all the time and if they're taking them it's no good. You have to use that fastball to offset that breaking ball. It becomes more effective. Javi's last two starts, he's done that and he's had two good starts."

Right-hander Chris Volstad, who owns the second-highest ERA among starters in the National League at 5.65, has started to do the same. Outside of getting tagged for 10 hits, eight earned runs and four homers in a 9-1 loss at Philadelphia on June 14, Volstad has given up 18 hits and seven earned runs over 20 2/3 innings in his three other June starts combined (3.04 ERA).

"Volstad has one of the better sinkers in the game," Buck said. "But I think he was trying not to get hit so much that he would fall behind. The one Philly game he didn't use his fastball a lot. But two previous games -- and this last one in Tampa -- he really concentrated on it and you saw the outcome. Bottomline, we need him and Javi, all our starters to pitch well if we're going to turn things around."

> Reliever Ryan Webb, who hasn't pitched since Sunday and had an MRI performed Tuesday for the inflammation in his throwing shoulder, said he's hopeful to be available Friday in Seattle.

"The MRI came up fine, just precautionary," Webb said. "I'm starting to feel better. I'll play catch Friday and see how I feel, go from there."