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44 posts from March 2012

March 14, 2012

No takers for Sean West; outrighted to New Orleans

    PORT CHARLOTTE -- The Marlins resolved one roster issue, outrighting Sean West to Triple A New Orleans after the left-hander cleared waivers. No other teams bit on the lefty, who was out of minor-league options.

    Apparently, they saw the same thing the Marlins did when West, in his one and only outing of the spring, gave up three runs, allowing four hits, issuing four walks and hitting a batter in only 1 2/3 innings. Of the five pitchers selected by the Marlins in the first round of the 2005 draft, West is the only one still with the organization.

    West was bidding to win a roster spot as a long reliever. But the Marlins have decided, obviously, to look elsewhere.

     Asked about West on Monday when the Marlins were in Fort Myers, pitching coach Randy St. Claire said "You can see that he's searching. That's just a confidence issue. You don't see Mark Buehrle out there searching for answers. When you see him struggling, you kind of see that look, and just the pacing around on the mound and the dropping of the head. There's just little things that tells me he's not feeling real good out there, whatever it may be."

Dobbs has "slight" hamstring tear, Morrison sore after playing Tuesday

      PORT CHARLOTTE -- Greg Dobbs is expected to miss up to a week with what manager Ozzie Guillen said was a "slight" tear of the left hamstring. Guillen said a MRI performed Tuesday on the Marlins' top lefty hitter off the bench revealed the tear, which has been bothering Dobbs ever since a March 7 exhibition against Florida International University.

      Guillen said Dobbs would miss at least the next five to six days but expected him to be ready for Opening Day in three weeks. Dobbs is not the only ailing Marlin. Guillen said Logan Morrison informed him this morning that his right knee was sore. Morrison was used as the Marlins' DH on Tuesday. As a result, the manager said he is uncertain when his left fielder, who had his knee scoped in December, would be ready to play in the field.

       "He was fine yesterday, but today he showed up (and) he was a little sore," Guillen said of Morrison. "We are going to monitor him very carefully."

      Giancarlo Stanton (bruised wrist) also remains out.

      "All those guys missing time right now, they're going to have minor league at bats, and we go from there," Guillen said.

      TODAY'S LINEUPS from Charlotte Sports Park:

      Marlins: 1. Kevin Mattison, cf; 2. Donnie Murphy, 2b; 3. Hanley Ramirez, 3b; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Austin Kearns, dh; 6. Bryan Petersen, lf; 7. Aaron Rowand, rf; 8. Brett Hayes, c; 9. Donovan Solano, ss. Pitching: Anibal Sanchez.

      Rays: 1. Desmond Jennings, lf; 2. B.J. Upton, cf; 3. Evan Longoria, 3b; 4. Ben Zobrist, 2b; 5. Jeff Keppinger, 1b; 6. Stephen Vogt, dh; 7. Sean Rodriguez, ss; 8. Jose Lobaton, c; 9. Elliot Johnson, rf. Pitching: Jeremy Hellickson.

March 12, 2012

After Guillen ejected, Valentine waves him goodbye

    FORT MYERS -- Bobby Valentine was once in line for the Marlins managing position that eventually went to Ozzie Guillen. Whether it had anything to do with their actions and words on Monday is anyone's guess.

           But it added entertainment value to an otherwise ordinary spring training game.

            It all started after Guillen was ejected in the sixth inning for disputing first base umpire Tim Tschida’s call that Terry Tiffee’s soft tapper down the line was foul.

            As Guillen was making his exit, Valentine gave a playful goodbye wave from the Boston Red Sox dugout.

            “I said ‘See ya,’” Valentine explained afterward.

            Guillen said he didn’t see Valentine’s dismissive wave, but added “I would have told him to go (expletive himself), too. That’s the way Ozzie Guillen is.”

            It wasn’t the first time Guillen has been ejected from a spring training game.

            “Few times,” Guillen said. “What’s the difference between spring training and during the season? I do my job. My job is to protect the player. My first base coach told me the ball was fair. I got to believe him.”

            With a runner at third for the Marlins, Guillen said the call cost his team a run.

            Stay tuned: the Marlins and Red Sox see each other six times this season in interleague play.

Dobbs, Morrison and Stanton out with injuries

      FORT MYERS -- Greg Dobbs was scratched from today's lineup due to continued soreness with his left hamstring and didn't make the trip over to jetBlue Park, where the Marlins are preparing to take on the Red Sox for a 1:35 start. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he spoke this morning with Dobbs, who told him he wasn't 100 percent.

      "I'd rather him to miss a couple of more days," Guillen said. "A couple of days is not going to kill him.

     Dobbs has not played since the FIU game on March 7.

     Logan Morrison also remains out with soreness in his right knee, which was scoped in December. Morrison was expected to do perform some running drills in Jupiter today and is penciled in for tomorrow's game against Atlanta. But Guillen said he would prefer to err on the side of caution and keep Morrison out of the lineup until he's certain the knee is fine. Morrison played in the UM game on March 6, but has yet to see any action in Grapefruit League play.

      While X-rays were negative on Giancarlo Stanton's left wrist after being struck by a pitch on Sunday, Guillen said he'll likely keep the slugger out of the lineup for a couple of more days.

       "I always worry about people getting hit there," Guillen said. "We're not going to push him to be swinging for no reason."

       All three injured players are expected to be ready for Opening Day. But, if they're not.....

       "If they're not ready, somebody will be," Guillen said. "If you're not ready, I know nine guys are going to be on the feild. I hope it will be them. That's what we're shooting for. Those are the nine guys we want on the field. But if they're not there, somebodhy will replace them."

       Today's lineups:

       Marlins: 1. Jose Reyes, ss; 2. Emilio Bonifacio, cf; 3. Omar Infante, 2b; 4. Austin Kearns, rf; 5. Aaron Rowand, dh; 6. Chris Coghlan, lf; 7. Terry Tiffee, 1b; 8. Matt Dominguez, 3b; 9. Brett Hayes, c. Pitching: Ricky Nolasco.

       Red Sox: 1. Nick Punto, 2b; 2. Kevin Youkilis, 3b; 3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1b; 4. David Ortiz, dh; 5. Ryan Sweeney, rf; 6. Cody Ross, lf; 7. Kelly Shoppach, c; 8. Darnell McDonald, cf; 9. Mike Aviles, ss. Pitching: Josh Beckett.

March 11, 2012

X-Rays negative for Giancarlo Stanton

    The Marlins can breathe a sigh of relief. X-rays taken of Giancarlo Stanton's injured wrist didn't show any fractures and the slugger is day to day. Stanton was hit by a pitch in the third inning of Sunday's game against the Mets, creating quite a scare.

    Manager Ozzie Guillen said he thought -- just from the sound of the ball striking bone -- that Stanton's wrist had been broken. Stanton was scheduled to head over to Fort Myers on Monday when the Marlins play the Red Sox, but those plans were killed after Sunday's plunking. Stanton will remain behind in Jupiter.

Marlins' Stanton exits game after being plunked with pitch

   PORT ST. LUCIE -- Giancarlo Stanton was removed from today's game after being hit by a pitch in the area of his left hand and wrist. Stanton trotted to first base after being plunked by Mets pitcher Chris Schwinden but was taken out immediatley after being examined by the Marlins' trainer. The initial report on Stanton was that his wrist was bruised.

    Stanton was hit nine times by pitches last season, most on the Marlins.

    On Sunday, Stanton was plunked immediately after Schwinden entered in relief of Mets starter Johan Santana in the third inning with the bases loaded and two outs. The RBI was the first this spring for Stanton.

March 09, 2012

Reyes wins first battle with Strasburg as Marlins beat Nationals 3-0

JUPITER -- Even though they've played in the same division each of the past two seasons, Jose Reyes and Stephen Strasburg had never faced each other before Friday night.

It didn't take long for the Marlins new shortstop to get a taste of the kind of heat the 23-year old right-hander can unleash.

"The first pitch of the game he threw me was 97 [miles per hour]," Reyes said. "I said 'Oh man, I better open my eyes."

After Reyes grounded out to first in his first at-bat, he got the better of Strasburg in their second meeting. After fouling off a few pitches with two strikes, Reyes laced a line-drive triple to center field that scored Bryan Petersen with the Marlins' first run in a 3-0 win over the Nationals.

It was the kind of at-bat manager Ozzie Guillen said earned Reyes a 6-year, $106 million contract from the Marlins in the off-season.

"Jose makes everybody on this ballclub better by the way he goes about his business," Guillen said.

"I don't know how it was in the past, but Jose brought his enthusiasm, his love for the game. Like today, the big at-bat he got. He got Strasburg down. Fight, fight, fight, then boom -- triple. That gets any team going, the momentum going forward. That's contagious. And I think that's a good thing for this ballclub."

As for Strasburg, who figures to be a thorn in the Marlins side for a long time, he pitched three innings, giving up three hits and two earned runs, a walk and two strikeouts. He topped out at 98 miles per hour on a few pitches according to scouts with radar guns (Roger Dean Stadium announced one Strasburg heater to Giancarlo Stanton at 103 mph).

"He looked pretty good tonight," Guillen said. "But Jose was better."

REYES, INFANTE WORKING TO LEARN EACH OTHER: They've only been working together for three weeks, but so far the Marlins' new double-play tandem of Reyes and second baseman Omar Infante looks like a good one.

Friday was the first time since spring training games began on Monday that the entire starting infield got to play together. Reyes and Infante turned one double play together when Infante caught a routine grounder in the fifth inning and flipped to Reyes who fired to first to get Rick Ankiel out in time.

Infante said Reyes has a stronger arm than Hanley Ramirez did at short and he's been getting used to receiving the ball quicker.

"He's got a good arm and his range will help us out a lot," Infante said. "He can get to a lot of balls up the middle and in the hole. The most important thing is we're practicing every day and getting a lot of ground balls hit to us."

Reyes said as long as he and Infante continue to communicate they shouldn't have any problems.

"He's one of the best second basemen in the game," Reyes said. "Now, that I'm playing with him he's going to make me an even better shortstop. The more games we play the more comfortable we're going to feel."

GUILLEN HAPPY WITH LEBLANC: Wade LeBlanc had another stellar performance Friday, tossing four scoreless innings, striking out five and giving up just one hit against the Nationals.

Although LeBlanc probably won't make the rotation (he has an option to head down to the minors), Guillen likes that LeBlanc is giving him something to think about.

"I love guys that do that in spring training because they make my job, our job very tough," Guillen said. "I love it when guys go out there and perform, open up some people's eyes, give you something to think about. He threw the ball very well. The most important thing is the strikes. He's on top of his game right now."

LINEUP FOR SATURDAY VS. CARDINALS: 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Omar Infante 2B, 3. John Buck DH, 4. Austin Kearns RF, 5. Aaron Rowand CF, 6. Terry Tiffee 1B, 7. Donnie Murphy 3B, 8. Scott Cousins LF, 9. Brett Hayes C. P Josh Johnson

Davey Johnson believes Nationals have potential to be best pitching staff in NL

JUPITER -- Davey Johnson once managed of the best young pitching staffs in baseball and won a World Series with them in 1986.

The group he has now with the Washington Nationals isn't too shabby either. In fact, he thinks it has the potential to be the best in the National League (and yes, that includes the Phillies).

"I'd take my five or six guys over anybody, any staff in the league, based on potential," Johnson said Friday, a couple hours before Stephen Strasburg faced the Marlins. "Our top three stacks up pretty well with [the Phillies] top three. Collectively, our guys are just a little cheaper."

Most scouts agree and say because of that stacked rotation the Nationals and not the Marlins are the second-best team in the National League East.

After Strasburg, the 23-year old hard-throwing right-hander who was the first pick of the 2009 draft, Johnson has 26-year old left-hander Gio Gonzalez, an All-Star last season with the A's, 25-year old right-hander Jordan Zimmerman (8-11, 3.18 ERA in 2011) and 28-year old veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79 ERA in 2011) penciled into his starting rotation.

The fifth spot in the rotation will go to either 31-year old right-hander Chien Ming-Wang (4-3, 4.04 ERA in 2011) or 27-year old left-hander John Lannan (10-13, 3.70 ERA in 2011). Nationals writers expect Ming-Wang to win the job in part because Lannan could be optioned down to the minors.

Last season, the Nationals owned one of the stingiest bullpens in baseball. They finished 31-23 with a 3.20 ERA. Only the Braves, Padres, Giants and Yankees had better pens in terms of ERA. Closer Drew Storen's 43 saves were tied with new Marlins closer Heath Bell for the sixth-most in baseball.

> Former Marlins reserve outfielder Brett Carroll, signed by the Nationals as a minor league free agent, is a player Johnson likes a lot and could end up making the 25-man roster if he can win the fifth spot on the bench.

The Nationals used had two former Marlins on their roster last season -- catcher Ivan Rodriguez and pitcher Livan Hernandez. Both are no longer with the team.

"It's definitely exciting to be on this team," said Carroll, who played in 173 games for the Marlins from 2007 to 2010. "They're definitely different than when I was with the Marlins. There is a lot of talent in that clubhouse."

> The Marlins sent 2009 first round pick Chad James down to the minors Friday. The 21-year old left-hander wasn't expected to make the team. He went 5-15 with a 3.80 ERA in Single A Jupiter last season in 27 starts.

Marlins looking forward to showdown with Nationals, Strasburg

JUPITER -- The Marlins will play a rare Grapefruit League night game tonight at Roger Dean Stadium against a team many expect to be in the thick of the playoff hunt in the National League: the Washington Nationals.

Stephen Strasburg"They're a good club. They made some good solid moves," said veteran Greg Dobbs.

"I know [Stephen] Strasburg is coming back. We saw how he finished up last season. They added [All-Star Gio] Gonzalez to the rotation. Adam LaRoche is back healthy at first. They have some guys coming off really good years, too. -- Mike Morse. They're a good club. Like I said before I believe the NL East is the toughest division right now from top to bottom."

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc, acquired in a trade this off-season with San Diego for catcher John Baker, will make his first Grapefruit League start opposite Strasburg for the Marlins tonight. The fact the Marlins get a chance to see the 23-year old hard throwing right-hander this early in spring training is a good thing players say.

Last September, Strasburg faced the Marlins twice in his return from Tommy John surgery and allowed just one earned run over 12 innings against them. He struckout 13 Marlins and walked just two of them.

"All the hype is real. He's a solid starting pitcher. Great arm, good command, looks very composed on the mound. He's a promising young star," Dobbs said.

"It's fairly difficult [seeing the ball off his hand], not impossible. He's got such good arm action on all his pitches and everything looks pretty much the same. It's tough to pick up -- especially when he starts throwing his curveball for strikes and starts mixing it up. It's pretty tough."


> The Marlins' next three Grapefruit League games will be on TV: Saturday's game against the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m., featuring starters Josh Johnson and Kyle Lohse, will be on Fox Sports Florida. Sunday's game in Port St. Lucie against the Mets, featuring starters Mark Buehrle and Johan Santana, will be televised on MLB Network at 1:10 p.m. Monday's game in Fort Myers against the Red Sox -- Ricky Nolasco is starting for Miami -- will be broadcast on ESPN. That game starts at 1:35 p.m.

> Both Chris Coghlan and Dobbs were scratched from Friday's lineup with minor injuries. Coghlan said he tweaked his back testing his vertical jump on Friday. Dobbs said he tweaked his left hamstring against FIU on Wednesday. Both are taking a few days off to rest.

> Logan Morrison said he was supposed to get his first start of the spring at first base Thursday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, but was scratched from the lineup because his right knee (scoped in November) was a little sore. "If it was the season I'd be playing right now," Morrison said.

> Pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who experienced tightness in his throwing shoulder a week ago, threw a bullpen session on Friday and said he felt great. He will throw to live hitters on Sunday and hopes to make his first Grapefruit League start Wednesday in Port Charlotte against the Rays.

"We'll wait until Sunday to see how I feel," Sanchez said. "But I have nothing bothering me in my shoulder right now."

> Reliever Jose Ceda, who was clocked throwing at 95 miles per hour against the Mets Thursday, doesn't want to talk about how much weight he's lost in the offseason because he hopes to announce the grand total on Opening Day -- should he make the team.

"I'm still working on my weight," Ceda said. "Hopefully, I'll earn a spot on the big league team. Then, I'll let you know."

> Nationals (3-2):
1. Ian Desmond SS, 2. Steve Lombardozzi 2B, 3. Jason Michaels LF, 4. Tyler Moore 1B, 5. Anthony Rendon 3B, 6. Jesus Flores C, 7. Rick Ankiel DH, 8. Brett Carroll RF, 9. Roger Bernadina CF. P Stephen Strasburg
> Marlins (2-2): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Emilio Bonifacio CF, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 6. Omar Infante 2B, 7. John Buck C, 8. Bryan Petersen LF, 9. Kyle Skipworth DH. P Wade LeBlanc

Team responds to parking situation at Marlins Park

Here's a response from the Marlins on the parking situation after The Miami Herald's story on the problems with it ran in today's paper.

"The Marlins are aware of some of the issues surrounding both parking and the trolley system during our soft opening events. We are working closely with the City to ensure that the problems are corrected quickly and resolved by Opening Night."