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51 posts from April 2012

April 13, 2012

Middle of Marlins order not producing

     Acting manager Joey Cora has hot-hitting Omar Infante listed in the fifth spot tonight as the Marlins search for a solution to their scoring woes. As Logan Morrison correctly pointed out, the lack of production from the team's 3-4-5-6 hitters is "definitely the reason we're not winning games right now. It falls on my shoulders and people in the middle of the lineup."

     Hanley Ramirez (.160 overall and 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position) was out early taking batting practice this afternoon with hitting coach Eduardo Perez. "I was working on my timing," Ramirez said. Gaby Sanchez is 0 for 2 with RISP. Morrison is 0 for 3. Giancarlo Stanton is 2 for 6. Add it all up, and the heart of the order is a combined 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position.

     "All we need to do, we need to score runs," Cora said. "With Giancarlo and Lomo, they didn't have spring training. It's not fair. If you can step in after playing only three or four games in spring training and do well, everybody will do that. Unfortunately, that's not the way it works. You have to have spring training. You have to have at bats. So they're a little off with that. But I expect them to be all right once they get that down. We need them. We need them to produce definitely."

     LINEUPS:

     MARLINS: 1. Reyes, ss; 2. Bonifacio, cf; 3. Ramirez, 3b, 4. Stanton, rf; 5. Infante, 2b; 6. Coghlan, lf; 7. Sanchez, 1b; 8. Buck, c; 9. Nolasco, p.

     ASTROS: 1. Schafer, cf; 2. Lowrie, ss; 3. Martinez, lf; 4. Lee, 1b; 5. Bogusevic, rf 6. Johnson, 3b; 7. Castro, c; 8. Altuve, 2b; 9. Harrell, p.

      Umpires: HP -- Paul Nauert; 1B -- Dana DeMuth; 2B -- Kerwin Danley; 3B -- Doug Eddings

April 12, 2012

Charles Barkley supports Ozzie Guillen

Saw an article in USA Today talking about a radio interview Thursday morning on The Dan Patrick Show, between host Patrick and former NBA star Charles Barkley.

Barkley said he has “reached out” to suspended Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.

Barkley told Patrick he hadn’t spoken to Guillen, but as someone who had “made some stupid mistakes,” he understood what the Marlins manager, who served the second of a five-game suspension Thursday was going through.

“I don't condone what Ozzie said, but he's apologized,” Barkley told Patrick. “I reached out to him just to tell him to keep his head up.”

Barkley said he would have also reached out to recently-fired University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino, too, if he knew him.

“When you are living in that storm, you think the world is going to end,” Barkley told Patrick. “It's easy for everybody to go crazy on you on radio and TV because everybody gets the God complex when they're on television and radio, thinking like they ain't never done anything wrong. Everybody is just God, judge and jury on you and just crucifies you.''

BURRELL TO RETIRE

            The Phillies announced that former outfielder and University of Miami star Pat Burrell will officially retire next month. Burrell, who hit .257 with 251 homers and 827 RBI, will sign a one-day minor league contract and retire as a member of the Phillies.

Marlins starting lineup Thursday vs. Phillies

Lineups for the #Marlins series finale Thursday night vs. the Phillies

Marlins: Reyes ss, Bonifacio cf; Ramirez 3b; Stanton rf; Morrison lf; Sanchez 1b; Infante 2b; Buck c; Buehrle p

Phillies: Victorino cf; Polanco 3b; Rollins ss; Pence rf; Mayberry, Jr. lf; Wigginton 1b; Ruiz c; Galvis 2b; Blanton p

J.J. not missing many bats, should Marlins be worried?

     The offensively challenged Phillies and their depleted lineup (no Ryan Howard and no Chase Utley) brought a Ray Oyler-like .198 team average into Wednesday's matchup against Josh Johnson. No contest, right? Wrong. Johnson coughed up six runs on 11 hits and was knocked out in the fourth. Johnson

      That's two outings now for Johnson in which he's allowed double-digit hits -- 21 in all. Keep in mind that Johnson, until now, had never allowed more than 17 hits in any two consecutive starts. Or ponder this: Johnson gave up the miniscule total of 18 hits -- yes, 18 -- in a dazzling stretch of six starts that comprised the entire month of April last season.

      Johnson hasn't been pounded. Shredded is more like it. Of the 21 hits, 19 were singles and he hasn't allowed a home run. On the other hand, he's fanned only five batters (only one last night) in 9 2/3 innings, which is well below his normal strikeout clip.

       Yes, it's early. Extemely early. We all saw how Javier Vazquez went from an early season train wreck to one of the league's very best starters last season. Pitchers -- great pitchers -- do it all the time.

        But Johnson is coming off a season that was cut short in mid-May by a shoulder injury. He's pitching under a miscroscope, with all eyes trained on him to see how he'll bounce back. So far, two games in, the results haven't been pretty.

        Is it cause for concern?

April 11, 2012

Giancarlo Stanton back in Marlins lineup

After missing Monday's game with left knee pain, the Marlins listed right fielder Giancarlo Stanton in their pregame lineup against the Phillies Wednesday. Stanton will bat in the cleanup spot.

Here's the lineups:

Marlins lineup: 1-Reyes ss; 2-Bonifacio cf; 3-Ramirez 3b; 4-Stanton rf; 5-Morrison lf; 6-Sanchez 1b; 7-Infante 2b; 8-Buck c; 9-Johnson p

Phillies: Pierre lf; Polanco 3b; Rollins ss; Pence rf; Victorino cf; Mayberry, Jr. 1b; Ruiz c; Galvis 2b; Halladay p

 

April 09, 2012

Giancarlo Stanton late scratch vs. Phillies Monday

New Marlins lineup Monday after Stanton scratch. Stanton was scratched due to left knee pain and is considered day-to-day.

1-Jose Reyes ss

2-Emilio Bonifacio cf

3-Hanley Ramirez 3b

4-Gaby Sanchez 1b

5-Austin Kearns rf

6-Chris Coghlan lf

7-Omar Infante 2b

8-John Buck c

9-Anibal Sanchez p

Ozzie Guillen will return to Miami Tuesday to address Castro comments

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said prior to Monday’s game against the Phillies that he would travel back to Miami after the game and hold a press conference Tuesday to address the recent comments in a Time magazine article concerning Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

            Guillen was quoted in a recent online article by Time Magazine as saying he respected Castro for having been able to remain in power in Cuba as long as he has.

Guillen later apologized for the comment during the team’s road trip this past weekend to Cincinnati where he said: “I’m against the way he [Castro] treats people and the way [he has treated] his country for a long time. I’m against that 100 percent.”

“I was planning to do something Friday, but tomorrow we have the day off and I want to make everything clear so people can talk to me face to face,” Guillen said. “They can ask me whatever questions they want, and the sooner the better for the people, for the ball club and for me. I want to tell people what is going on in my mind and what I believe.”

Guillen said he has been struggling with the situation the past three days, and hasn’t been able to sleep.

The Marlins did not release an exact time for the press conference as of Monday morning, but Guillen said it would take place at Marlins Park.

“I want the people there,” Guillen said. “I feel embarrassed. I feel guilty not because I’m not lying, but because this thing hasn’t let me sleep for three days. Only my wife knows how bad it’s been last few days. I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want to be there by myself and I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say because everything I’m going to say is true.”

Guillen said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction and knew how deeply it would affect the Cuban community.

“I have to face it,” Guillen said. “I have to make people feel good about themselves. I will say what I said a couple of days ago. I don’t want to just make a statement and that’s it because I think when you do that, that’s a bunch of crap.

“I feel sad because I know I hurt a lot of people,” Guillen said. “I’m Latino. I live in Miami. I have a lot of friends, and players [that are Cuban]. They know who I am. They know how I feel.”

Guillen said he had not spoken to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria about it and didn't think this would affect his job status. He the saddest part for him was to apologize to Cuban broadcasting legend and Hall of Famer Felo Ramirez.

Ramirez, the Marlins Hall of Fame spanish radio announcer, did not wish to speak much about the situation but said he felt Guillen was doing the right thing by returning to Miami.

Guillen said he also apologized to Cuban-born Phillies pitcher Jose Contreras.

“Obviously it’s something that was going to affect people a lot and [Guillen] realizes that,” Ramirez said. “I think he will answer everything [in Miami].”

The ripple effect reached members of the Cuban community even in Philadelphia.

Phillies spanish radio announcer Rickie Ricardo, who was born in New York but whose family migrated from Cuba, said the situation was something that could be more damaging to the team’s image than anything negative on the field.

“Let’s hope Ozzie addresses it and clears things up,” Ricardo said. “That’s a subject that’s untouchable. This team could go 0-50 and it wouldn’t hurt the Cuban community as much as him saying something like that.”

 

April 08, 2012

Marlins in their Easter finest (photo)

     CINCINNATI -- A few Marlins decided to dude up for Easter. Check out the threads four of them purchased for the occasion at House of Adam in Cincinnati (left to right: Giancarlo Stanton, Randy Choate, Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson).Easter

April 07, 2012

Infante "wanted to cry" after cycle near miss

    CINCINNATI -- Omar Infante just missed becoming the first Marlins player to hit for the cycle when he failed to come up with a single in his final at bat.

    "I wanted to cry," Infante said of his near-miss.

    Infante doubled in his first at bat, homered in his second, grounded to short in this third, and tripled in his fourth. He stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth but flied to center on 2-2 pitch.

    "I had a chance but I couldn't do it," Infante said. "I thought about bunting."

    Everyone in the Marlins dugout was aware of the situation when Infante went to the plate in the ninth. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he told everyone within earshot that he would get Infante a "real" bicycle -- one used by Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France -- if he completed the hitting cycle.

    "I told the dugout people that if this kid gets a hit right now I'm going to get him a real bike," Guillen said. "I have connections."

    The Marlins and Padres are the only two teams that have never had a player hit for the cycle.

Guillen apologizes for "I love Fidel Castro" comment

    CINCINNATI -- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen apologized for his comments in the current issue of Time magazine concerning Cuban leader Fidel Castro. In the article, Guillen said "I love Fidel Castro" but later clarified the comment to say he respected the Cuban leader because Castro had managed to hold power for 60 years despite attempts against his life.

     As the Marlins were preparing to take batting practice Saturday at Great American Ballpark, the four beat writers who cover the team were summoned to Guillen's office, where he apologized for his remarks. The Marlins have also put out a statement which reads: "We are aware of the article. There is nothing to respect about Fidel Castro. He is a brutal dictator who has caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years. We live in a community filled with victims of this dictatorship and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today."

     Here's the full transcript of what Guillen told beat writers:

     "There's a statement about, it's a magazine come out, quoting me 'I love Fidel.' Kind of funny (expletive). But it's not funny. I want to send a statement to the public. But, being more myself, I think statements is for the people that don't want to face the media and don't want to face the truth and hiding for what they did and what they don't did.

      "I think when I was talking about that specific man, it was personal. It wasn't politic. I don't believe in politics. I come from a place that has been very, very struggle in politics. I'm against the way he (Castro) treats people and the way treats his country for a long time. I'm against that 100 percent. I'm not crazy or stupid or ignorant to say I love somebody. It don't just hurt Cuban people. It hurt a lot of people, and Venezuelans. The statement I make, whoever got hurt or whoever misunderstood, or whoever can take it the way the way they want to take it, I will apologize for the thing. I will apologize if I hurt somebody's feelings, or I hurt somebody's thought. I want them to know I"m against everything 100 percent -- I repeat it again -- the way this man be treating people for the last 60 years.

     "The reason I say I admire him is because a lot of people want to get rid of this guy and they couldn't yet. It was kind of personal, not political. If you not read the article, it sound ugly, because the first time I read it I thought 'Wow, that going to get me in trouble.' I understand that. And I'm not hiding from anybody, especially the people in Miami. I just finished up talking to the Spanish people (media). With the bottom of my heart, if they want to believe me...if they're disappointed or upset at what I say, I don't blame them. But I live in Miami for 12 years. I know exactly what this man (Castro) means to the town.

      QUESTION: What exactly was the context of what you said?

      Guillen: "The guy put in the first thing, 'I love Fidel." And then I say, 'But this (expletive) still alive.' I'd rather talk to you guys personal. To me, I'm not a statement guy.

      QUESTION: But when you said 'I love Fidel,' what were you referring to?

       Guillen: "I said I respect this man because I respect Obama, I respect Chavez, I respect everybody because I always respect people. But, meanwhile, I disagree 100 percent what this guy been doing to that country. I respect him because, wow, nobody loves this man, nobody like him. And what I say in the article is that (expletive) is still there. But politics? I don't think it's going well with me. Because I"m not a political people.

        "But everybody's upset and sad about what I say. I'm a grown man and I can take it. But I want to let them know that I apologize. But in the meanwhile, I was not talking about politics. I say I love Fidel. But they come out....they say exactly what I say.

         "I can't even sleep last night. That's the first time I can't sleep at night thinking about what the day is going to be like today. As soon as I read it last night, I was sick to my stomach all the way to today. And I think coming up today, it helped me to help me go to sleep tonight after we win. I know how the Cuban people feel about this man. It's not proper for me to talk about this man. I was all over (expletive) Sean Penn because he talked about Venezuela. I shouldn't be talking about Cuba or Fidel."

       QUESTION: Anybody from the team call you and express.....

       Guillen: "David (Samson) just wanted to let me know yesterday. I say this is not the Marlins problem. This is Ozzie Guillen's problem."

       QUESTION: "Was he angry?"

       Guillen: "No, not at all. Because he read it. When you talk politics in Miami, especially about that man, you got a chance to put yourself in a (bad) position. I talk to Miami radio in Spanish about the way I feel about it. I don't blame anybody who be upset. I don't blame them a bit. I take full responsibility about it. But, meanwhile, I let the people know how bad I feel and I apologize to them.

        "I don't want to (issue) a statement, because a statement is like people are hiding or something. I'm not going to read no statement either. Everything comes from the bottom of my heart. I don't need to lie to nobody because...I can sleep tonight because I got (this) off my chest."

        "As soon as read that thing (article), I know exactly what I was going to go through. And I face it like a man."

         QUESTION: Do you think you'll catch some backlash when you get back to Miami?

         Guillen: "I hope not. Listen, I come from the same part of the country. We go through a lot of (expletive). I work for the people against Chavez in Venezuela. I mean, that's enough to say. Every paper every day I wrote against Chavez every (expletive) minute. They know exactly who I am, what I thought and what I think about Fidel and Chavez. In Venezuela, this is public what I think about it."