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Former Marlin Cody Ross returns to Sun Life Stadium; Updates on Hanley, Vazquez and Cameron

It’s no secret the Marlins have struggled at home this year, posting a 24-39 record in their last year at Sun Life Stadium. But why have the Fish been so bad in their not-so-friendly confines?

“There’s no reason. It’s not the fans. It’s not the park. It’s not the heat,” veteran infielder Wes Helms said. “Whatever excuse somebody can come up with, I can come back with, ‘You know what, the visiting team has to play here too.’ So there’s no rhyme or reason to it. We just stink here. And that’s the bottom line.”

But Cody Ross, who spent parts of five seasons with Florida and returned to Sun Life Stadium for the first time on Friday since the Giants claimed him off waivers last August, offered an interesting perspective, commenting on the challenges of playing in “some of the worst conditions” in the big leagues.

“Here, it’s tough. It really is a grind every day. People say, ‘Oh, you’re playing Major League baseball, how could it be so difficult?’” Ross said. “First of all, you’re playing in a football stadium. Which I was just thinking about earlier today, this is a beautiful stadium. As a football stadium, the place is packed. It’s awesome.

“But not for baseball. It’s not good. Even when you get a good crowd of 25,000 people, it looks like there’s nothing in the stands. Not to mention the weather, rain delays and the humidity. It just takes a lot out of guys, day in and day out. I can remember I couldn’t wait to go on the road. 

Such seems to be the case for the Marlins, who have compiled a 31-23 record away from Sun Life Stadium. Logan Morrison offered a third explanation to the same question Wednesday night after the Fish lost their seventh straight game in South Florida, saying it was the quality opponents the team has faced; for example, the Marlins were swept by St. Louis and Atlanta, and they opened a three-game set with San Francisco on Friday — all at home.

But Ross, who said he knows some Florida fans by name, appreciates the difficulties facing both players and spectators.

“I remember back in 2007, maybe it was July or August,” Ross said. “We had come off of a good roadtrip, and we were a couple games back. I was thinking, ‘Man, we have a chance to get some fans when we get out here.’ And it was crickets. I understand. If I was a fan, it would be tough for me to come to games here too, because you don’t know what kind of whether you’re going to get, you don’t know if you’re going to have rain delays. Stuff like that. But the ones that do come, I can say they’re die hard. They love the Marlins.

“It’s tough to come to the field every day and not have the energy behind you,” Ross said. It’s crazy when I play in San Francisco and I get a base hit and the crowd roars. I had never heard that before. Here you hear a little bit, some clapping. Go on the road and get a base hit, it’s silent. So when I went to San Francisco and you get a base it, ‘Wahh!’ It’s like, what did I do? What just happened? I only got a base hit.”

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  • Mike Cameron, scheduled to start in center field on Friday, was a late scratch because of soreness in his right knee. "He was a little sore, so we didn’t want to take a chance," manager Jack McKeon said. "We were going to give him a day [off] tomorrow, so we just decided to give him a day today. ... His knee was a little bit sore. He goes at it pretty hard, so we figured we give him a day today."
  • Javier Vazquez flew home to his native Puerto Rico earlier in the week to tend to a family medical emergency — McKeon said Vazquez’s wife had surgery but is OK — and he was originally scratched from Saturday’s scheduled start, but Vazquez rejoined the Friday and felt fine during a workout, so he will pitch as planned. "[Vazquez] has probably our most consistent guy," McKeon said. "he’s got to the point where he’s using his fastball, making them hit the ball. Once again with all the guys, in spring training they don’t get enough work. Certain guys need more work than others. And now that he’s pitching regular and doing a heckuva job, he’s not afraid of throwing those pitches. ... [Vazquez] is going to go tomorrow. He wants to pitch, so go to it. Ready to go."
  • McKeon said he expects Hanley Ramirez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder sprain after Wednesday’s game retroactive to Aug. 3, to return the first day he’s eligible, Aug. 18 in San Diego. “I kind of believe he’ll play. If I can read him, it looks like he wants to play," McKeon said. "He’s the only one that can tell us if it’s still sore or what. But if it needs no activity for a few days, he’s got a chance to get that. And he’s getting worked on and getting his treatment all the time. ... He really didn’t want to go on the DL. That’s one of the reasons we kept him off, because he kept telling us he would be ready."
  • Marlins’ top prospect Matt Dominguez was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a right hamstring injury. The 21-year-old third baseman was hitting .260 with 11 home runs and 53 RBI for Triple-A New Orleans.

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TONIGHT'S LINEUPS:

Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 2. Alfredo Amezaga, 2b; 3. Logan Morrison, lf; 4. Mike Stanton, rf; 5.Greg Dobbs, 3b; 6. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 7. Bryan Petersen, cf; 8. John Buck, c; 9. Ricky Nolasco, p

Giants: 1. Andres Torres, cf; 2. Jeff Keppinger, 2b; 3. Pablo Sandoval, 3b; 4. Aubrey Huff, 1b; 5. Cody Ross, rf; 6. Orlando Cabrera, ss; 7. Aaron Rowand, lf; 8. Eli Whiteside, c; 9. Matt Cain, p

Comments

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bob

Interesting perspective that he can share now that he's not with the Fish. I can't remember Dan saying anything like that thought, although with both of them it was probably tough playing with Hanley who still gets injured making dumb plays.

Milli Vanilli

Give Helms credit for telling it like it is...Excuses , Excuses ,Excuses... dont excuse Bad Baseball...Injuries, Young team,etc, Blame it in the Rain..dont excuse Bad Baseball.

laurelbowie

You're right, Lou. It's bad baseball. But what everyone is trying to figure out is why it's so much BADDER at home than on the road. Nobody I know is excusing bad baseball — they're just trying to explain it. There is a big difference.
It's also bewildering to me that the Herald has a way to filter out every halfway naughty word I post, but they can't do anything to get rid of these a**hole advertisers like the one above. I'm going keep a list of every advertiser who intrudes on any blog I participate in, and I vow that I will repair my home with Chinese drywall before I ever buy anything from any of them.

Milli Vanilli

guess again

spitballer

The Marlins curse over the Giants still continues.....

laurelbowie

If I'm wrong, Milli, I apologize. Everybody is so cute these days, like there's been some kind of IRS crackdown on untaxed baseball commentary.
spitballer,
Ain't it grand?

Milli Vanilli

How come the Doofins went 1-7 in the building formerly called Joe Robbie Stadium ?

LarryB

Yes, indeed, laurelbowie....grand indeed. Marlins seem to have the Giants number. My question is, looking ahead, can we contend next year with this lineup? Injuries killed us this year. Is our full lin-up, with JJ back, good enough to get us over the top in the new stadium?

Roger S

You're not wrong laurel, who else would be willing to waste their life away by coming up with dozens of names to post on this site? As if this board just suddenly became really active the past month or so to the point that all these cutesy names appear. I like reading your stuff and Stan's, but other than that not much to comment on.

Just Another Julio

over the top of what ? NL East ? Hell NO. Wild Card ? Not without Upgrading Starting Pitching..From Where U Ask ? Have to make trades..Nothing to trade U say..Free Agents? Not much to chose from that will work cheap. Spend Millions ? Hell NO. Soooo... Looks like more of the same.

laurelbowie

Roger S.,
There are a lot of knowledgeable folks commenting here when everybody is rolling, but I think after watching this team play the way it has, and being six games under .500 this late in the season, most of us have just run out of meaningful things to say.
LarryB.,
IMHO, the Fish need a real centerfielder, a real third baseman and at least one — and probably two — front line starters, including a lefty, to have any chance of competing even for a wild card spot. And either the new guy at third or the new guy in center is going to have to actually hit the ball. Trouble is, there is nobody lurking in the wings, so those guys are going to have come from outside the organization, and I can't see Loria spending the money.
Another problem: I don't think I will ever feel comfortable with JJ as the Marlins' ace, because he is always going to be brittle as glass. Fine today, broken tomorrow.

Stan M

I just wrote a rather lengthy piece discussing our team and it wasn't accepted No bad words. Even tried to post half at a time and it was a no go. Why, Clark?

Stan M

LB,
Bono is doing great and if Infante is resigned (as he should be) I'm fine with him at 3B. I also don't think we can improve on a healthy Coghlan in CF considering our budget. Totally agree with need for one and possibly two starters. That's where our $ should be spent. Even when JJ was great, he never went deep enough into games. What a closer he would make. I would stay with our lineup, resign Vazquez and Infante and put up to 10 million in a starter. At least that's realistic considering our beneficent owner.

Stan M

In my post that was disallowed I also defended other posters who are commendable. Glags and Samson to name just two. Even Julio (from Greenville) can be iteresting when not on an ego trip.

Re-al-ity

Fact of the matter is the Marlins have too many holes to fill, and nothing to fill them with...this organization has become the Wait Till Next Year team...Loria got lucky getting an 80% talent laden team in 02 for swapping the Expos with Bud Selig. Granted,they added Pierre,Pudge,Pavano and traded Adrien Gonzalez to rent Urbina, but they inherited a gold glove infield and added Jack to the mix plus they had Cabrera and Dontrelle to bring up. No such luck this time..Unless they get in the Free Agent $$$$ Business ,they will be a middle of the pack team for a LONG time.

Stan M

Can we all agree that it's great to see Dontrelle pitching well again. Good for him.

laurelbowie

Stan M,
Good to hear from you. I was afraid we'd lost you, too.
I have always been a big Coghlan fan when he's right. But he has bad knees, bad shoulder, bad elbow and — possibly — bad attitude. And who knows if or when his bat will come around, so I hate to count on him to be the Marlins' best and only centerfielder. And I still like the idea of Boni as the super-utility guy so he can get some rest now and then. I think he will need days off to stay at the top of his game.
But I agree we're going to be lucky to get the pitching we need, so your scenario seems most likely. I'm not sure $10 million will be enough to land an arm worth talking about, however.

laurelbowie

And yes, it is great to see Dontrelle pitching again. We may actually get to SEE him pitch when Cincy comes here soon. Dontrelle, by the way, will be a free agent after this year. Hmmm.
If you look at the list of free-agent pitchers for 2012, there isn't much out there to get excited about, which will drive up the price for even a mediocre guy.
C.J Wilson is a lefty who could be available, but who knows at what price. He makes $7 mil this year, I think.

Samsons Boyfriend

Hi Gang...Back from vacation just in time for one of the games I've been waiting for all season..A front row seat to watch the Freak pitch against the Marlins. Glad Javey is on the mound tonite instead of Volstad...guessing another low scoring game,but learned a long time ago, never assume in baseball. Alot has transpired with the Marlins since I went to the last game in July ,too much to catch up on at once,have to comment gradually...Good to be back.

Stan M

LB,
Agree with the Coghlan assessment, especially worried about your last point: attitude. Think you would agree though that better to put our money into a pitcher than a CF. Just try to find one we could afford. Would you take a chance on Zambrano (see headlines...he wants out for sure)if Cubs paid most of his salary? I would. Better environment for a Latin on Marlins and the guy is still young with unlimited upside. A gamble? Undoubtedly. but we'd have another JJ is it worked and we have absolutely nothing to lose. Volstad and 2 B level minor leaguers and I'd do it in a flash. Comments anyone?

laurelbowie

Samson,
Good to hear your voice.
Stan M,
I think Zambrano would be poison in the clubhouse. Did you see the stunt he pulled last night so he could take his ball (singular) and go home?

Samsons Boyfriend

one word about Zambrano: FUGEDABOUTIT

Stan M

Samson, we've missed you and your first hand accounts. See the opposition to Zambrano, but still think new environment and many Latins could make a difference. What do we have to lose? As you say, LB, what's out there for under 10 million, and would Luria spend more than that? And who can we trade to get better than Zambrano...if he doesn't work out...dump him...remember I qualified proposal with Cubs picking up most of Salary. Love to have Dontrelle back but Cincinnati would be crazy not to resign him.

laurelbowie

You know, as soon as you start naming guys, you always leave somebody out. I for one hope we keep hearing from Flav C and Matt's Phone, as well as the rest of the gang.
Not sure whether Dontrelle would provide any answers to the Marlins' pitching woes, but he would probably put a few arses in seats every fifth day. That ought to be enough to get Loria's attention.
Stan M,
Do you really want to bring Z Pack into the mix with this young team? You talked the other day about addition by subtraction. That would be subtraction by addition.

Stan M

Yes, LB, I'd try anything to get a grade A pitcher and he's a possibility. There is just too much upside to the idea. Also it would certainly take the heat off of Hanley. Went around each team's roster two days ago looking for a Daulton type of player who could add class and experience. Couldn't find a better choice (considering money again) that guy we got...Cameron. Ditto for Amazega for adding enthusiasm. Your point above about Bono as super sub is understood, but the guy has brought so much spark to this team of station by station movers that I'd keep him in the lineup as long as possible. If he gets in better shape, Amazega can take Bono's place as sub...he held it originally.

spitballer

Hope the Marlins have some type of off season conditioning program (like the NFL) after this season. Seems like when the guys hit spring training this season, a bunch of them got hurt then. Injuries come & go...we seem to have a very active DL the past few years.

laurelbowie

spitballer,
Young kids who don't know how to train and take care of themselves?
Stan M,
Aubrey Huff off the bench?

laurelbowie

Cody Ross leading off tonight. Hmmm.

laurelbowie

Stan M,
My mind just caught with your comment about Zambrano's presence taking he pressure off Hanley. You're right, of course. With Zambrano here, Hanley would look like Saint Francis of Assisi by comparison.

Stan M

LB,
Here is my take on Zambrano. A flamboyant guy with a fiery temper. That at least shows he cares. Plays for an organization where attendance is more important than winning. Has Soriano in LF who could care less. Has Ramiriz at 3B who plays for his stats only. Has a 1B man who can't hit his weight. Dresses in a locker room that was obsolete 30 years ago. Plays before fans that just might not be terribly tolerent to Latins who don't meet expectations. Plays for a manager who is an obvious mistake.
Now...would McKeon be an improvement? Would a Latin be more tolerated in South Florida? I say let's try. They would drop him for a dime.

Personally, I'll take Cameron over Huff and we can't add yet another outfielder. Also too expensive for Loria. Only players I came up with who were cheap enough and had good attitude were Veretek and we don't need another catcher, Renteria as Latin but probably too laid back, Kotsay and we already have Cameron, and Counsell who has no skill level left.
In addition to Dontrelle, also glad that Uggla came around. Now there is an attitude we could use!

laurelbowie

Stan M,
You're not going to find another Daulton whom the Marlins can afford, that's for sure. Huff wouldn't get much playing time in the field, but I mentioned him because he should be good as a pinch hitter and is supposedly a good clubhouse guy. The price tag on him might not be as high as you think. I like your thought about Kotsay, too.
Also,Cameron is 38 and I think it's only 50-50 that he'll be around next year.
I'm no shrink, so you could be right about Zambrano. But I used to live in Oregon and have been a fan of the Portland Trail Blazers (formerly known as the Jail Blazers) for years. I've seen what happens when you overlook flaws in character and temperament in a desperate effort to build a winning team. The fan suddenly finds himself trying to root for a bunch of thugs he really can't stand. It takes the fun out of being a fan in a hurry. I'd love to have a guy with Zambrano's talent, but he makes me very skittish. Nice guys don't walk out on their teammates, regardless.

Stan M

I agree with everything you say (as usual) but would still give it a try. I see no downside. Little $ invested so drop him if he doesn't work out. This might scare you, but I have some sort of weird feeling that he will actually become a Marlin. He's damn sure done as a Cub.

laurelbowie

Stan M,
LoMo for Zambrano?

Stan M

No, no, no. Volstad at best. I hope you are joshing me, LB.

Stan M

I just saw reason for your tease. Are they nuts? Helms...fine, but I would offer him a job in the organization. But LoMo? It's his mouth and not his bat that caused this. He has every right to be upset and angry. Personally, I am disgusted.

Nacional

Remember that Zambrano is a very good hitter. He could be an extra pinch hitter.

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