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35 posts from February 2012

February 23, 2012

Guillen: Hanley staying at 3B in event of Reyes injury

    JUPITER -- Hanley Ramirez better cozy up to third base because Ozzie Guillen has no intention of moving him off the hot corner, even if oft-injured shortstop Jose Reyes receives a day off or goes on the disabled list.

      Guillen said he would probably use either Emilio Bonifacio or the backup infielder at short if Reyes, who spent considerable time on the DL when he was with the Mets, isn't in the lineup.

     "I won't play with Hanley's mind," Guillen said. "It's going to be hard for him to move to shortstop, and then when Reyes is ready, back to third base. Then we're abusing this kid and we don't respect him.

     "Bonifacio's going to be helping a little bit at shortstop, just in case (Reyes) needs a day off, and I've got to see who's the backup player in the infield," Guillen said.

     Reyes arrived to camp on Thursday and immediately hit the practice field to work with Omar Infante, his new double play partner.

      "I just hear Reyes say (to Ramirez), 'Just make sure you guard the line, I got the rest,'" Guillen said.

Stanton, LoMo pumped for "Linsanity"

   JUPITER -- Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison landed the Marlins' courtside seats -- courtesy of owner Jeffrey Loria -- for tonight's Heat game against Jeremy Lin and the Knicks.

    "You see all the stuff on TV (about Lin), so I kind of want to go see it firsthand," Stanton said. "They're comparing to the whole Tebow thing, but the difference is he (Lin) plays every other day. Tebow is, like, this is what he did, they'll talk about it for two days and it'll kind of fade off for three or four days. Here it's like every ticker, every thing on SportsCenter is something about him."

     Said Morrison: "Going to get some Linsanity in. I'm actually going to see the Heat. I'm a Heat fan."

     Morrison has a surprise in store for LeBron James if the Heat star crashes into him the same way he collided with Loria a few weeks ago, knocking him backwards. Morrison said he'll bring a Marlins cap to the game.

     "When he runs into me, I'll just put it on his head," Morrison said. "I don't know what size he is, though. I'll bring him a 7 1/2. He looks like a half."

February 22, 2012

VIDEO: Ozzie Guillen at the start of Marlins camp, JJ's bullpen

JUPITER -- Here's two little videos I put together from Wednesday with clips from practice as well as an interview with manager Ozzie Guillen. There's also a video on Josh Johnson throwing his first "official" bullpen session.

Josh Johnson donates locks for "Love"

       JUPITER -- Jose Reyes' shorn dreadlocks ended up being auctioned off for charity. Marlins pitching ace Josh Johnson is donating his curly hair to "Locks of Love," a charity that -- according to its website -- "provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss."

       "There's a bucket that's almost half full," Johnson said Wednesday shortly after receiving a haircut to comply with the team's grooming policy. "I just figured I'd donate it to somebody, somebody who needs it. So that's what I'm going to do with it."

       Here's the bucket of Johnson's hair:Jjhair



Sean West hoping surgery saves career with Marlins

      JUPITER -- Of the five pitchers chosen by the Marlins in the first round of the ballyhooed 2005 draft, Sean West is the last man standing. But West's days with the club could be numbered, too. The tall lefty is out of minor-league options and, in his words, said spring training is "make it or break it time" for him as far as the Marlins are concerned.

       "I would really like to stay with the this team and make an impact with these guys," he said. "My goal is to start with this team and finish with this team."Sean west

       That's not going to be easy. Barring injury, the five-man starting rotation is set. Most of the bullpen spots are accounted for, as well. But injuries do happen and the long relief role is up for grabs. Though he has virtually no relief experience (three relief appearances in 94 career minor-league outings), West says he's up for that job.

        What gives the southpaw hope is the renewed life in his arm, which underwent repair after last season. West said Dr. James Andrews performed an elbow cleanup and the results have been spectacular -- just as Andrews predicted they would be.

         "I was in (the hospital) bed, just regaining consciousness, and he comes up and says, 'I've done a lot of these, but I've never seen one that's going to impact a player's career like yours,'" West recalled. "That felt good to hear that, coming from him."

        West, 25, can vouch for Andrews' work. He said his arm hasn't felt this good since he was in high school.

        "I can't even explain how good my arm feels right now," West said. "I have that a zip on the ball again. It’s coming out like it did in high school. It’s an amazing feeling, expecially going into a camp like this."

        West was on the rise at one time. He made 20 starts for the Marlins in 2009, going 8-6 before fading into an afterthought. West has only five weeks to show the Marlins he still belongs. If not, there's a strong chance he'll wind up somewhere else.


         Pitchers and catchers are taking their physicals this morning, after which they'll hold their first structured workout.

February 21, 2012

Single-game tix go on sale March 3 as part of FanFest

     Single-game tickets to Marlins home games will go on sale March 3 as part of FanFest. The event is one in which fans can meet players, get autographs and take a walking tour through the new ballpark, as well as buy single-game ticket.

     Individual game tickets will be available for purchase starting at 10 a.m. on marlins.com and at the Marlins Park Box Office, which is located on the north side of the ballpark, between home plate and the third base entrances on Felo Ramirez Drive.

     FanFest will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Hanley takes ground balls at 3B, discusses move (w/videos)

     JUPITER -- Welcome from Roger Dean Stadium, where Marlins pitchers and catchers are reporting and we just finished watching Hanley Ramirez take ground balls at third base on one of the back fields. He didn't make any diving stops behind the bag or long throws to first. On the other hand, the Marlins have instructed Ramirez -- who is coming off surgery on his left shoulder -- not to dive after anything. "We want to keep him on his feet this spring," said Larry Beinfest, president of baseball operations.

     "I'm not going to go into my list of worries, but I wouldn't say it's at or near the top of the list," Beinfest said of the transition Ramirez is making from shortstop to third. "You just don't go sign Jose Reyes unless you are completely comfortable he is going to play third base and play it well. So I don't think there's a lot of concern there."

      Beinfest said he has no doubt that Ramirez will succeed defenively at third.

      "I think he can play just about anywhere on the field," Beinfest said. "There's only so many talents like him, and he'll be fine. He'll do it whether it's a slow roller, or going to his backhand. He's got the arm. He's got all the thing he needs to do to be successful over there. I don't think mechanically, at least in my mind, that will be super-challenging for him."

      As for Ramirez's off year at the plate last season, Beinfest said: "Never thought I'd see it. Really it's a blip. I'm confident that's all it was, a blip. That's just not who he is, and we do not forsee that happening (again)."

      As for Ramirez, we just finished speaking with him and I'll get his remarks up later. Nothing major. He said that, mentally, he's prepared to play third and doesn't have any issues with the move.

      For now, check out the video:

And here's what Hanley had to say about moving to third base:

February 20, 2012

Juan Carlos Oviedo still stuck in D.R., will not report tomorrow

      Finally. Only one day remains before Marlins pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Jupiter. The Marlins, White Sox and Rangers are the last teams to get things going. The report date sounds much more significant than it actually is, as players are required to do nothing more than phone in and say, 'I'm here.' As far as actual activity is concerned, pitcher and catchers will conduct their first workout Wednesday afternoon -- after they've completed their medical physicals -- on the back diamonds at Roger Dean Stadium.

      Barring some unexpected turn of events, reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo will not be part of the festivities. The pitcher formerly known as Leo Nunez remains in the Dominican Republic as he continues to seek legal clearance to return to the U.S. The Marlins aren't sure when Oviedo, who is on their restricted list and doesn't count toward the 40-man roster, will be given the green light. But team preident David Samson said last month that it is more likely than not that Oviedo will not be on the Opening Day roster. If and when Oviedo receives clearance -- and the consensus belief is that he will return at some point in the near future -- he could still face disciplinary action from the league.

      His absence helps assure competition for a bullpen spot or two, with relievers such as Jose Ceda, Chris Hatcher, Sandy Rosario, Evan Reed, and Chad Gaudin (a non-roster invite) figuring to be in the mix. Barring injuries, the fixtures are expected to be Heath Bell, Mike Dunn, Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, Randy Choate and Steve Cishek. That leaves two spots, one of which will presumably go to a long man, possibly Wade LeBlanc.

February 18, 2012

Yankees tix gobbled up fast

       Combine a rare visit by the New York Yankees with the allure of a new ballpark and it all adds up to this: the Marlins have sold out their April 1 exhibition game against the Bronx Bombers. It took under four hours on Saturday to sell out what tickets remained to the contest.

       As of 2:15 p.m., when the Marlins sent out a release, only 5,000 tickets still remained for the Marlins' April 2 exhibition against the Yanks at Marlins Park. The two games will be the first played between major league teams at the new facility.

       The Marlins limited capacity to the April 1 game to 25,000 seats. No more than 30,000 tickets were being sold to the April 2 contest.

       The Marlins will play their first regular-season game at their new park on April 4 against the Cardinals. Single-game tickets for the regular season, with the exception of Opening Night, will go on sale on March 3 at 10 a.m.

       Those wishing to buy tickets to the April 2 exhibition against the Yankees can do so by going to marlins.com.      

February 16, 2012

Hanley cold shoulders reporters

    So much for trying to find out what's happening inside Hanley Ramirez's head and how he feels about moving to third base. Mum was the word from the Marlins' former shortstop, who brushed aside our repeated attempts to ask him about his surgicially repaired left shoulder and his thoughts on moving to third.

    "I don't have nothing to say," Ramirez said.

    Typical Hanley. At least his shoulder appears to be fine. Ramirez took a few practice swings on the driving range before heading out on the course with his Marlins teammates for the team's charity golf event in Miami-Dade.Hanleyswing

         Caught up with Anibal Sanchez, who said he is not looking past this season when he'll become eligible for free agency. Sanchez recently won his arbitration case with the Marlins but but said he has not been approached by the team about a contract extension that would keep him with Miami beyond 2012.

         "I don't know if the team is coming later with that," Sanchez said. "I'm not thinking about that right now. We'll see. Baseball is a business. One day you're here. Another day you're on another team. If I'm in the big leagues, I'm okay."

         -- Just to confirm: Despite losing out on Yoenis Cespedes, the Marlins have NO interest in Jorge Soler, the other Cuban free agent.


        Just how zany is new closer Heath Bell? Check out his golfing attire and listen to him describe his game: