PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Edwin Rodriguez said if he's fired, so be it. He said he's not as concerned about his job security as he is about the mood of the Marlins players as they prepare to take the field at Citizens Bank Park this afternoon, trying to avoid a four-game sweep to the Phillies.
Lose today, and the Marlins will have lost 15 of their past 16 games, matching the club record for futiliy over a 16-game stretch. The 108-loss '98 team also lost 15 of 16 toward the end of that season. A Phillies win and Nationals lose would also give the Marlins sole possession of last place in the NL East.
With Cliff Lee facing off against Javier Vazquez -- a mismatch on paper -- Rodriguez said he planned to call a clubhouse meeting before the game to tell to tell the players he doesn't want to see any of them moping. If he does, he said he would remove them out of the game.
"I don't want anybody hanging their heads, feel like we're defeated," Rodriguez said. "Everybody is expecting us to go out there and just cry and feel defeated. I don't want to see that. i don't want anybody dragging out there. Everybody is expecting us to just give away this game, Cliff Lee on the mound, Philadelphia....just going through the motions. It''s not going to happen. I'm going to tell them I'm going to tell them I'm going to pull anybody I see that's going to be dragging."
As for his own mood, Rodriguez said he's feeling no additional pressure because the team has been losing. He said he's started receiving text messages and emails from acquaintances expressing concern about his job.
"I want to be here," Rodriguez said. "Of course, it's a challenge for me. Of course I want to be here. I'm fine. I can't control that (his future as manager), to be honest. I'm grateful that they gave me a chance to e here. What they do after this -- whatever they want to do -- is fine."
Shortstop Hanley Ramirez defended Rodriguez, saying he's the best manager he's ever had.
"He's the best guy we ever had here," Ramirez said. "Everything's going bad right now, but he's there for you. He's a good guy, a good manager, and he's smart. When we do good, people are looking at us. It's like Ozzie (Guillen) says, when the team's winning, you guys give credit to the players. When we're losing, they want to fire me. It's not how it is. He (Rodriguez) is going to be here forever. I'm on his side. I've got his back."
EDWARD MUJICA WRIST INJURY -- The reliever sprained his right wrist in Wednesday's first game and said he could barely brush his teeth this morning. "More pain today," Mujica said. X-rays were negative, but Mujica said he might have a MRI on Friday when the team gets to St. Petersburg. The injury is more problematic for Mujica. Not only is the injury to his pitching hand, but he relies on his split-finger, a pitch that places added torque on the wrist. "He relies on that split-finger, and the split-finger puts a lot of pressure on the wrist," Rodriguez said.
Mujica isn't the only injured reliever. Leo Nunez took a line drive off his right ankle in Wednesday's ninth inning, remained on the mound, and gave up the go-ahead runs in an eventual 5-4 loss in 10 innings. Nunez said the ankle was feeling sore Thursday and Rodriguez said he's "questionable" for this afternoon's game.
RANDY CHOATE AS OUTFIELDER? -- The odds of it happening are remote, but Rodriguez said he's given thought to having lefty specialist Randy Choate go from the mound to the outfield for one or two right-handed batters and then bringing him back to the mound to face a lefty. "He's willing to do it," Rodriguez said. "I even told him, make sure you take fly balls in the outfield. If we have a lefty, two righties and a lefty (coming up), I would put him in the outfield for two righties and bring him back in for the lefty."
DH PLANS FOR TAMPA SERIES -- Rodriguez said that, with the addition of 3B/2B Jose Lopez, he'll likely use Greg Dobbs as his designated hitter in at least one game during the upcoming series with the Rays and 1B Gaby Sanchez in the other two. Rodriguez said Sanchez is tired from use and could probably use a breather. But he said Sanchez told him he wanted to play the entire Phillies series.
LOPEZ'S GLOVES -- Did anyone notice that the glove Lopez used while playing second on Wednesday had a purple webbing to match Colorado's colors? Well, today, Lopez will be at third and use the glove he had with the Mariners, one with a bluish-green webbing that comes closer to matching the Marlins' colors.
Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Logan Morrison, lf; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Jose Lopez, 3b; 6. Mike Stanton, rf; 7. John Buck, c; 8. Chris Coghlan, cf; 9. Javier Vazquez, p.
Phillies: 1. Jimmy Rollins, ss; 2. Shane Victorino, cf; 3. Placido Polanco, 3b; 4. Ryan Howard, 1b; 5. Raul Ibanez, lf; 6. Carlos Ruiz, c; 7. Domonic Brown, rf; 8. Michael Martinez, 2b; 9. Cliff Lee, p.