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34 posts from September 2011

September 12, 2011

Morrison returns to Miami for MRI

   ATLANTA -- Logan Morrison returned to Miami on Monday for a magnetic resonance imaging test on his injured right knee, which he bruised in Pittsburgh on Friday when he slammed into an outfield wall. As a result, he is expected to miss the entire three-game series in Atlanta. Manager Jack McKeon said he hopes to have Morrison back Friday for the start of the Washington series, if not sooner for Thursday's doubleheader in Philadelphia.

    "He's still hurting, his knee is still swollen," McKeon said. "They're going to get it checked out in Florida, give him a MRI and maybe have the knee drained. So hopefully we get news in a day or so. I don't look for him in this series, and hopefully get him back in the Washington series. He's a gamer. He wants to play and he's having problems walking, so let's get it taken care of."


    With two more wins, McKeon will pass Fredi Gonzalez as the Marlins' all-time winningest manager. McKeon has 275 wins to Gonzalez's 276.

     "He should be the No. 1 guy," Gonzalez said of McKeon. "He's done a lot for that organization."

     The Braves, in Gonzalez's first season as their manager after taking over for Bobby Cox, have a 4 1/2 game in the NL wild-card race.


     A loss tonight by Chris Volstad would move him one step closer to the franchise record for worst winning percentage by a Marlins pitcher with at least 20 starts. At 5-12, Volstad currently has a .294 winning percentage, which is not much better than Dennis Springer's 1999 club mark of .273 (6-16). Marlins bullpen coach Reid Cornelius (4-10 in 2000 for a .286 percentage) is next on the list. Volstad has lost each of his past four outings.



      Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, rf; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Greg Dobbs, lf; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. John Buck, c; 6. Bryan Petersen, cf; 7. Donnie Murphy, ss; 8. Matt Dominguez, 3b; 9. Chris Volstad, p.

      Braves: 1. Michael Bourn, cf; 2. Chipper Jones, 3b; 3. Freddie Freeman, 1b; 4. Dan Uggla, 2b; 5. Brian McCann, c; 6. Martin Prado, lf; 7. Jason Heyward, rf; 8. Alex Gonzalez, ss; 9. Brandon Beach, p.



September 10, 2011

Marlins want to keep Infante; McKeon upset with Stanton

Infante     PITTSBURGH -- Omar Infante has so impressed the Marlins -- both on and off the field -- that they are prepared to extend an offer to the steady second baseman after the season. Infante, whom the Marlins obtained with reliever Mike Dunn in the Dan Uggla trade with Atlanta, can become a free agent.

    Infante has played Gold Glove-caliber defense, is hitting .342 since the All-Star break, and has earned the respect of his teammates with his work ethnic and quiet clubhouse presence. Infante's last contract paid him $1.85 million in 2009, $2.25 million in '10 and $2.5 million this season.


    Jack McKeon is not the least bit happy with Mike Stanton, who told the manager he was fine to play Friday but proved otherwise when he ran at half-speed after a ball hit to right. It was Stanton's first game back in the lineup since a right hamstring injury put him on the bench.

     Stanton was lifted for a pinch-runner after he singled in the third inning. Following the game, he told reporters he didn't tweak the hamstring.

     "That's the speed I have right now," Stanton said. "It's not very fast, but I didn't aggravate it at all.  If they're okay with that speed...that's where I'm at."

     McKeon said he's not okay with it and kept Stanton out of Saturday's lineup.

     "I can't put him out there if that's the fastest he can run," McKeon said. "He told me he was fine (before Friday's game). He told the trainer he was fine. When I asked him, he said he was ready, and evidently he wasn't. So when he's 100 percent, I'll put him out there. I don't want him to tweak it. I want him to tell me when he's ready. You guys saw him. I can't afford to put him out there like that. When I saw him running before the game, he was running a whole lot better than that. I don't know what the reason is. There's no sense taking a chance on hurting him more. If he's not up to par, he's not helping us out there playing like he played last night."


    Stanton isn't the only Marlin who has been bitten by the sore hamstring bug. Infielder Jose Lopez strained his right hamstring while running up the line on a single on Friday. Outfielder Mike Cameron remained out of the lineup, as well, with a tender right hamstring.

    Cameron said he hopes to be ready to play when the team is in Atlanta next week. He said it could it be the last time his daughter sees him play in person, as he might retire after the season.

    Logan Morrison was also given the night off tonight after slamming into the wall in foul territory on Friday and bruising his right knee. McKeon said Morrison's knee "blew up like a balloon", but was impressed that Morrison refused to come out. "He's a gamer," McKeon said.

    "I would hope most of the wounded would be ready by Monday," McKeons said of his banged up outfield, as well as Lopez.


    Alex Sanabia made his first appearance with the Marlins in Friday's blowout, but labored a bit, allowing a hit and two walks in one inning of relief work. He also struck out two. McKeon said he would have preferred to see a better performance.

    "We got a chance to look at Sanabia last night, just for one inning," McKeon said. "He wasn't as sharp as he was last year. But, on the other hand, there's a guy who hasn't pitched a whole lot this year."

    With a doubleheader looming Thursday, the Marlins will need an extra starter. Originally, McKeon thought Sanabia would make one of the starts in Philly. On Saturday, though, he said it could either be Sanabia or a bullpen game.


     With so many injuries, the Marlins lineup tonight isn't one that looks like it'll repeat Friday night's 13-run, 22-hit explosion. McKeon termed it a "skeleton crew."

     Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, lf; 2. Bryan Petersen, cf; 3. Omar Infante, 2b; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. John Buck, c; 6. Donnie Murphy, ss; 7. Matt Dominguez, 3b; 8. Vinny Rottino, rf; 9. Anibal Sanchez, p.

     Pirates: 1. Alex Presley, lf; 2. Chase d'Arnaud, ss; 3. Andrew McCutchen, cf; 4. Derrek Lee, 1b; 5. Neil Walker, 2b; 6. Ryan Ludwick, rf; 7. Pedro Alvarez, 3b; 8. Michael McKenry, c; 9. Jeff Locke, p.

September 09, 2011

It's officially "wait 'til next year" time for Marlins, plus notes from the Steel City

   PITTSBURGH -- In case you missed it, the Marlins were eliminated from wild-card contention yesterday when the Braves swept their doubleheader with the Mets.

   The weather forecast is looking a little shaky here in Pittsburgh. Rain could arrive at 7:30 and hang around for 90 minutes or thereabouts.

   Mike Stanton is back in the lineup, however, and sits two homers behind Albert Pujols in the NL HR race.

   Other items:

     The loss of Josh Johnson clearly stung the Marlins as a team. But manager Jack McKeon said he also feels the injured pitcher’s absence from the rotation since mid-May has had an adverse effect on two of the team’s players: fellow starters Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez.

     “When J.J. went down, it looks like they went down with him, instead of rising up,” McKeon said.

      Nolasco, who is pitching tonight, owned a 4-0 record and 3.04 ERA on May 24. Since then, Nolasco has gone 5-10 with a 5.18 ERA. Sanchez was 6-1 with a 2.82 ERA at the end of June. Since then, he’s gone 1-6 with a 5.45 ERA.

     “A lot of times you’ve got that No. 1 guy and he’s setting the tempo for the rest of the staff, and they all want to keep pace with him, and it gives them a little incentive,” McKeon said. “It’s like a friendly competition between those pitchers. We started the season thinking we had three pretty good ones, and then the main guy that provided that competition went down.”

     McKeon said he expects Nolasco and Sanchez to rebound in 2012 once Johnson returns to the rotation.

    “I definitely think they’ll be much better,” McKeon said. “Plus, I think next year, going to the new stadium, there’s going to be more energy and you’re going to see a much improved ballclub

    Nolasco is in the first season of a three-year contract. Sanchez, who will be entering his final year of arbitration eligibility, was approached about a contract extension not long ago.


    With the arrival of third baseman Matt Dominguez and the recent return of second baseman Omar Infante from the disabled list, veterans such as Greg Dobbs and Jose Lopez are looking at diminished playing time even though both have been productive.

      Both Dobbs (third base) and Lopez (first) were in Friday’s lineup.

     “I’ve already talked to (Dobbs) that we’re going to look at the kid (Dominguez) a little bit, and he understands,” McKeon said. “But I’ve still got to keep him sharp. The guys who have done a yeoman’s job all year, you just can’t ignore them and put them out to pasture.”

     Lopez has come on strong since being recalled from Triple A New Orleans. After going 3 for 29 at the plate in June and earning a demotion to the minors, Lopez has gone 19 for 54 (.352) with five homers and seven doubles since his return in mid-August.

     Dobbs and Lopez are eligible for free agency after the season, and there could be interest from the Marlins.

    “To me he would be a definite asset to this club next year,” McKeon said of Dobbs.

    Lopez said he would give preference to any team that offers him a chance to play everyday.

    “I need to play everyday to keep my rhythm,” Lopez said. “I feel like I could play everyday.”

    Said McKeon of Lopez: “No telling what he’d do if he played on a regular basis. He’s another guy I’m trying to get in there periodically to give him a chance to see where we are for his status next year.”


    PNC Park is not one of McKeon’s favorite haunts. It’s just a haunt.  

    When McKeon managed the Marlins in 2003-05, they went 1-9 in Pittsburgh even though those Marlins teams all posted winning records and the ’03 club won the World Series.

    McKeon remembers the ’03 visit as it came at the tail end of a 1-8 road trip that also included stops in Colorado and San Francisco. After the San Francisco leg, owner Jeffrey Loria had the team plane stop in Las Vegas to allow the players a few hours to unwind.

    “We came in here after we stopped in Las Vegas, figuring that’ll loosen the guys up,” McKeon said. “And then we come in here and drop three in a row. Then we went back home and won about 20 out of 24, so maybe we’ll do the same thing here.”

September 07, 2011

New Marlins Ballpark on time and on budget; Mike Stanton and Mike Cameron injury notes

Every day that passes, the future home of the Florida Marlins is another day closer to being the home of the Miami Marlins.

President David Samson, executive vice president for stadium development Claude Delorme and construction manager Sid Perkins took the media on a nearly two-hour hard-hat tour of the Little Havana ballpark Wednesday morning.

With less than seven months remaining until Opening Day 2012 — April 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals — the stadium, which officially is located at 501 Marlins Way and Samson said should become the “Gem of Baseball,” is 80 percent complete.

“And we’re not resting until 35,000 fans are here every single night,” Samson said, adding that the project remains on time and “not $1 over” its $550 million budget.

Roughly 33,500 of the 36,000 stadium’s seats have been installed — 1,000 standing-room-only tickets also will be available — and Samson said he and Delorme have sat in every seat to make sure each one has an unobstructed view of the game and video boards.

More than 95 percent of the interior walls have been constructed, and the crew is “starting to focus [its] attention on all the [white membrane] plaster — the last piece of the exterior finishes,” which should be completed by mid-November.

Delorme said the team anticipates laying sod for the field in the second or third week of January, a process that will take four days. The Marlins’ office staff is expected to move into the stadium in mid-March.

Samson made special mention of the Marlins ensuring the stadium railings are well-above code — to accommodate “Mike Stanton-sized” fans — in light of a Texas Rangers fan falling over a railing while trying to catch a ball earlier this season. International code for railings is 26 inches high, but the lowest ones at New Marlins Ballpark will be 34 inches high. Those at the end of aisles are 42 inches and others, depending on the section, go up to 54 inches.

“The railings are safe as long as fans realize that a foul ball is never worth your safety,” Samson said. “I promise that if you miss a foul ball because you don't lean over enough, we'll get you a foul ball.”

The air conditioning is currently operational in specific areas of the ballpark, including the clubhouses and kitchens. Delorme said the stadium’s climate-controlled temperature when the retractable roof is closed would be about 75 degrees.

Samson said he expects the roof to be closed for 85-90 percent of home games, because of rain, heat and humidity. It will take about three hours to fully control the facility’s conditions.

Samson said the Diamond Club is sold out, while 26 out of 152 seats remain the Dugout Clubs. Partial-season, 41-game plans also went on sale for new customers Wednesday, which can be purchased online at marlins.com or by calling 1-877-411-2012.

After Wednesday, the Marlins have only six games remaining at Sun Life Stadium.



Stanton, day-to-day with right hamstring tightness, ran sprints in shallow right field and jogged along the warning track before Wednesday’s game. Manager Jack McKeon said he expects Stanton back in the lineup Friday.

Outfielder Mike Cameron, also dealing with a hamstring injury, was given the day off. Said McKeon: “His leg is bothering him, and it has been. He’s done a remarkable job. He plays hurt. He’s a gamer. He’s a pro. But I’m going to give him a breather.”

Top position prospect Matt Dominguez made his first major-league start Wednesday, batting seventh and playing left field. He was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat as a pinch-hitter Tuesday. “Good baptism,” McKeon joked.

The Phillies’ protest of a fan interference call in Sunday’s 5-4 extra-innings loss to the Marlins was denied, Major League Baseball announced Wednesday.



Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Logan Morrison, lf; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Bryan Petersen, cf; 6. John Buck, c; 7. Matt Dominguez, 3b; 8. Donnie Murphy, 3b; 9. Brad Hand, p

Mets: 1. Jose Reyes, ss; 2. Ruben Tejada, 2b; 3. Lucas Duda, rf; 4. David Wright, 3b; 5. Angel Pagan, cf; 6. Jason Bay, lf; 7. Nick Evans, 1b; 8. Mike Nickeas, c; 9. R.A. Dickey, p.

-- Matt Forman

September 05, 2011

J.J.: "Tall man's syndrome" might have contributed to shoulder injury

Josh Johnson threw off a bullpen mound on Monday for the first time since June, after which he revealed a possible explanation for the shoulder injury that has kept him on the disabled list since May: "tall man's syndrome."

The 6-foot-7-inch pitcher said his physical therapist told him that years of slouching and bending under doorways might have been a contributing factor in the shoulder inflammation that limited him to only nine starts this season.

"It's a matter of posture and a bunch of stuff that just kind of led up to it," Johnson said. "Years and years of being tall, you're always slouching down and bending over. You're shoulder's not in a good place. You start leaning over when you're throwing. It snowballs."

Johnson is now paying close attention to his posture, standing straighter to relieve pressure on his scapula and wearing a customized shirt that helps keep his shoulders back. As a result, he said when he walked into the clubhouse the other days, a couple of players mentioned that he looked taller to them.

Johnson was standing tall after Monday's 21-pitch bullpen session, one in which he threw only fastballs as he tries to rebuild his arm strength. While Johnson all but entirely discounted any chance of returning to pitch for the Marlins this season, he said he would like to face hitters in either a minor-league mini-camp or simulation game in October.

He said he was able to get extension on his pitches on Monday, something he was unable to do when he began throwing off a mound in June.

"Felt strong," Johnson said. "Totally different (from June). I wish I could go out there now and pitch."

Pitching coach Randy St. Claire was impressed with Johnson's session.

"I think he could step on a mound and get guys out tomorrow," St. Claire said. "But, health-wise, he's not in shape."

St. Claire said Johnson would probably throw again on Wednesday.


When Hanley Ramirez walked into the clubhouse on Monday, veteran outfielder Mike Cameron yelled out: "We can win some games now! El Nino is back!"

Ramirez smiled. But, the earliest Ramirez will be helping the Marlins win games is next season. Ramirez is awaiting the results of a CT scan on his injured left shoulder before a determination can be made on the type of surgery he'll have.

The Marlins have said the shortstop should be ready for Opening Day, but Ramirez is optimistic he can be good to go by spring training. Much depends, though, on whether he has arthroscopic surgery, as he had on the shoulder in 2007, or he undergoes a more invasive procedure, which would require a longer healing time.

"After the surgery, I've just got to work hard," Ramirez said. "I've done it before. Hopefully it won't take longer than it did before."

Ramirez said he expects to have the surgery within the next two weeks.

"It's time to get it fixed now so I don't have to deal with it next year," he said.


Mike Stanton (hamstring) took some practice swings on Monday, and manager Jack McKeon said he is hopeful the slugger can be available by Tuesday or Wednesday.


The clubhouse is becoming crowded. On Monday, the Marilns activated catcher John Baker, infielder Donnie Murphy and reliever Brian Sanches from the disabled list. They're expected to call up two minor-leaguers -- third baseman Matt Dominguez and pitcher Alex Sanabia -- on Tuesday.

The Marlins transferred lefty reliever Randy Choate to the 60-day disabled list.



Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Jose Lopez, 3b; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Logan Morrison, lf; 6. Mike Cameron, cf; 7. Bryan Petersen, rf; 8. John Buck, c; 9. Javier Vazquez, p.

Mets: 1. Jose Reyes, ss; 2. Ruben Tejada, 2b; 3. Lucas Duda, rf; 4. David Wright, 3b; 5. Angel Pagan, cf; 6. Jason Bay, lf; 7. Nick Evans, 1b; 8. Josh Thole, c; 9. Chris Capuano, p.

When Matt Dominguez arrives, then what?

       Donnie Murphy became the Marlins' Opening Day third baseman when Matt Dominguez failed to make the club out of spring training. Funny how the world turns, as both will be joining the Marlins as callups from Triple A New Orleans.

       Murphy, along with catcher John Baker and reliever Brian Sanches, were reinstated from the DL on Monday. Dominguez is expected to join the team on Tuesday.

       It should be interesting to see how often Jack McKeon employs Dominguez as his third baseman. McKeon has said repeatedly that he wants to win as many games as possible in September and feels that it would be unfair to play a prospect over a veteran who has worked hard all season with the Marlins (i.e., Greg Dobbs, in this particular situation).

       But Dominguez is a special case. The Marlins need to see him perform on the big stage. They need to see how he hits major league pitching. They need to evaluate him now -- in a big league test tube -- so they have some sense as to whether he can be the Opening Day third baseman when they open their new ballpark next season.

       McKeon has often said that the worst times to evaluate players are April and September, that players provide false readings in those bookend baseball months. Maybe so. But Dobbs and Murphy aren't the future for the Marlins. Dominguez is.

       Put him out there. Let's see him play.

September 04, 2011

Jack McKeon: Brad Hand will take Clay Hensley's rotation spot, scheduled to start Wednesday

As manager Jack McKeon has said more than once over the past few days, "it's salesman time" for the Marlins. Before Florida wrapped up its series with Philadelphia on Sunday, McKeon said rookie Brad Hand would be given an opportunity to sell himself.

Hand will be slotted into Clay Hensley's spot in the rotation and is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Mets, while Hensley will shift back to the bullpen.

"We’ve got Hensley back in the pen, so that gives us another guy that can give us two, three, four innings," McKeon said. "[Hensley] was kind of an emergency guy anyhow, but we used him as a fifth starter. But now we’ve got the kid [Hand] going, so it’ll be good to see him pitch."

Hand is 1-5 with a 4.23 ERA in nine starts this year, and he allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits in five innings against the Phillies on Friday. The lefty has been up and down between the majors and minors this season, as he started three games in June and July and a pair in August.

But now it appears Hand is in the rotation for good, and he will get a chance to start either four or five more games the rest of the way, depending on how the Marlins handle off days and next week's doubleheader. McKeon said the front office has discussed the possibility of promoting another staring pitcher once the minor-league season ends on Monday.

Hand said he was “excited” about the “great experience, great opportunity” to prove himself and potentially secure a spot in the 2012 rotation.

“I’m just trying to finish the season strong and hopefully carry it into next season,” Hand said. “I feel like I’ve gotten — compared to my first start was pretty good, but after that it was kind of iffy — better since then.”

What are some of the things Hand has been working on?

“Throwing strikes, getting ahead, keeping the ball down and throwing the offspeed for strikes in the zone more often. Consistency is always a big thing. Some innings you’ll be really good, and then some innings it’s not there and trying to find it a little bit. Consistency throughout the hole game and get deeper in the game.”

Hensley opened the year as the set-up man for closer Leo Nuñez, but after going on the DL in June started increasing his pinch count to return as a starter. Hensley, who pitched in the rotation earlier in his career, never seemed to get comfortable in his new-old role, and was relieved to be returning to the pen.

“We gave it a shot in the rotation, and I thought I was going to be able to do it and get in a little bit of a groove, but it was a little tougher than anticipated,” Hensley said. “I couldn’t get into a groove. I would have some decent starts, then have a real bad one, then a good one, a bad one. I couldn’t string together several strong outings in a row. I think at this point, it’s probably best for me and the organization that I go to the pen and try to finish the season strong there.”



Reliever Brian Sanches, on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 17 with a strained right elbow, is expected to be activated Monday and be available to pitch on Tuesday. Sanches was back in the Marlins’ clubhouse before Sunday’s game after making a rehab appearance for Class A Jupiter on Saturday, when he allowed two runs on two hits in 2 2/3 innings.


McKeon held Mike Stanton out of Sunday's lineup, one night after the outfielder stumbled while crossing first base trying to beat out an infield grounder and tweaked his hamstring.

“I don’t think it should be long," McKeon said. “Tightness in the hamstring — I don’t imagine that’s a long process.”

McKeon said Stanton, who is listed as day-to-day, would be available to pinch-hit. Moving around the Marlins' clubhouse before Sunday's game, Stanton did not walk with a limp or show any signs of pain.




Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Greg Dobbs, 3b; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Logan Morrison, lf; 6. Mike Cameron,cf; 7. Bryan Petersen, rf; 8. John Buck, c; 9. Anibal Sanchez, p

Phillies: 1. Shane Victorino, cf; 2. Michael Martinez, 3b; 3. Chase Utley, 2b; 4. Ryan Howard, 1b; 5. Hunter Pence, rf; 6. Raul Ibanez, lf; 7. Carlos Ruiz, c; 8. Wilson Valdez, ss; 9. Roy Halladay, p

-- Matt Forman

September 03, 2011

Team physician Dr. Lee Kaplan advises Hanley Ramirez to undergo surgery on left shoulder

Injured star shortstop Hanley Ramirez's season is officially over.

Team physician Dr. Lee Kaplan recommended surgery to correct the instability in Ramirez's left shoulder, the Marlins announced Saturday evening. Ramirez had an MRI performed on Wednesday and met with Kaplan earlier Saturday to decide what course of action to take.

A baseball source said it has not yet been decided whether Ramirez will undergo arthroscopic or open surgery, as further testing still needs to be performed. But the source said Ramirez will likely heed whatever the doctors advise.

The team announced no surgery date has been set.

Florida said Ramirez will not play again this season and is expected to be ready for Opening Day 2012, though the Marlins did not say whether Ramirez would recover in time for the start of spring training, which might depend on the course of action.

Ramirez had arthroscopic surgery on the same shoulder after the 2007 season to repair a torn labrum and returned in time for spring training. But if he undergoes the more invasive open procedure, like was performed on former Marlins shortstop Alex Gonzalez in 2002, the recovery could take 4 to 8 months.

Regardless of the recovery time, Ramirez will likely want to fix this problem for good, suggesting open surgery might be his best option.

Ramirez took himself out of a minor-league rehab game Tuesday with Single A Jupiter when he felt a “pop” in his shoulder while taking swings in the on-deck circle and returned to Miami for a medical evaluation.

The Marlins had been hoping that Ramirez, who has been out since early August with a sprained shoulder, could rejoin the team Friday.

But now those plans have been shelved, and the focus has turned to 2012.

Ramirez was hitting .243 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI when he injured the shoulder diving for a ball on Aug. 2 in New York.

-- Matt Forman

Report: Marlins VP of player development and scouting Jim Fleming will be reassigned

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports in his Full Count video posted earlier today on the station's website that Marlins' vice president for player development and scouting Jim Fleming has informed his staff will be reassigned.

A voice message left for Fleming on Saturday evening was not immediately returned, and Larry Beinfest, Florida's president of baseball operations, declined comment.

On the video, Rosenthal said: “A Marlins shakeup is looming, and it doesn’t involve Ozzie Guillen — at least not yet. The team’s bigger current issue is its minor-league system. Jim Fleming, the vice president of player development and scouting, has informed his staff that he will be reassigned. Obviously the Marlins’ revenues are going to grow once they move into their new ballpark, but they still need to do a much better job producing home-grown talent.”

A baseball source said there were rumors circulating within the front office last week that something could happen, but the source did not confirm Rosenthal's report.

Fleming is under contract with the Marlins until 2015, so if Rosenthal's report is true, Fleming would likely remain with the organization in some player development or scouting capacity.

Scouting director Stan Meek should retain his position, though he might be considered a possible replacement for Fleming.

Here's a link to the video, where Rosenthal begins his Marlins update at around 1:20: http://msn.foxsports.com/video/MLB?vid=db2a80c2-aca0-4f89-a1c7-48060dd9bf58

-- Matt Forman

Jack McKeon talks bullpen pieces; Perry Hill and Joey Espada on Omar Infante's slick play

One night after the Marlins 5-3 loss to Philadelphia when Jack McKeon said he wanted his players to be “salesmen,” the manager expressed similar sentiments before Saturday’s game.

“Even though it’s getting near the end of the year, don’t slough off, because this is when to do it,” McKeon said. “This is a time you really put it out there, because you want to leave all these fans and scouts with the idea that you gave it all. You want to sell. Sell yourself. Quit bragging. Go out there and show somebody you can do it.”

At this point in the season, sometimes it takes looking through rose-tinted glasses to identify impressive performances, but McKeon saw several aspects of Friday’s defeat that stood out — and could factor into decisions for the 2012 season — especially in the bullpen.

Recently recalled reliever Jose Ceda fired two scoreless innings while allowing two hits and striking out two. Fellow bullpen arm Mike Dunn got Chase Utley to ground out to second and then struck out Ryan Howard, setting down two lefty batters.

“I was happy to see [Ceda],” McKeon said. “Got two innings, it really helped us out. I said to [pitching coach] Randy [St. Claire], ‘Gosh, maybe we found a two-inning pitcher.’ He threw the ball well.”

Ceda has posted nine multi-inning outings splitting time between the majors and Triple A New Orleans, where he had recorded 24 saves. For McKeon, who said “the industry is not developing pitchers like they used to” because “inactivity causes more problems than activity,” Ceda’s 31-pitch appearance was a good sign.

As was the performance turned in by Dunn, who pitched in his fourth game in five days, a stretch during which he has allowed one hit in two innings.

“Guys that want to pitch every day, Dunn is like that,” McKeon said. “I’ll say, ‘Take the night off.’ He says, ‘No, no, I’m ready. I can give you an inning.’ Whether he gets anybody out or not, he wants to go out there. You have to love those guys.”

McKeon had a similar reaction when speaking about Logan Morrison, who was held out of Saturday’s lineup. The manager called Morrison a “gamer,” but said the outfielder has “been nursing — nothing serious — but a little groin. A little irritation.”

“I figured this would be a perfect night, with the wet field and the lefthander [Cole Hamels] pitching, to give him a day,” McKeon said. “Nothing wrong with him. Just wanted to give him a day.

“He didn’t say anything to me. But one of the trainers was working on him and said, ‘Yeah, he wants to play.’ I know he wants to play. You love those guys.”



On Friday, Omar Infante’s backhand pick and no-look glove flip to second base on Wilson Valdez’s sharply hit line drive back up the middle started a double play that Emilio Bonifacio completed. To Florida first base coach Perry Hill and third base coach Joey Espada, Infante’s stab-and-turn was just another effort in Infante’s growing list of highlight-reel plays that warrant some hardware.

“The thing about him, he makes everything look so smooth and easy,” Hill said. “Sometimes he gets overlooked because things happen for him so easily. It looks like he’s not trying. To me, he’s the best second baseman in the league defensively. He wins the Gold Glove, hands down. Without a doubt.”

Said Espada: "It’s a gift. Those hands, he’s been gifted. It’s been fun watching him play. Those two weeks that he was out of the lineup, we really missed him. In my opinion, he is the Gold Glove at second base. No question about it."



Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Mike Stanton, rf; 4. Jose Lopez, 3b; 5. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 6. Mike Cameron,cf; 7. Bryan Petersen, cf; 8. Brett Hayes, c; 9. Ricky Nolasco, p

Phillies: 1. Shane Victorino, cf; 2. Placido Polanco, 3b; 3. Chase Utley, 2b; 4. Ryan Howard, 1b; 5. Hunter Pence, rf; 6. Raul Ibanez, lf; 7. Carlos Ruiz, c; 8. Wilson Valdez, ss; 9. Cole Hamels, p

-- Matt Forman