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58 posts from May 2012

May 21, 2012

Could Gaby Sanchez be back in time for Gaby Sanchez t-shirt giveaway day?

Marlins catcher John Buck is used to having first baseman Gaby Sanchez nearby to talk to him in the clubhouse. Monday, Buck was using his iPhone to communicate with the recently demoted, former All-Star.

"I told him hurry up and get back here -- we need you," Buck said.

Although the clock is ticking, Sanchez could be back up from New Orleans by the time the Marlins wrap up their 10-game home stand against the Nationals a week from Wednesday (the first day he's eligible to be recalled). Coincidentally, that's also the same day the team plans to give away Gaby Sanchez t-shirts to the first 15,000 fans inside Marlins Park.

Sanchez, who was hitting just .197 with one home run and 11 RBI for the Marlins before being sent down, went 1 for 3 with a double and two RBI Sunday for Triple A New Orleans. It was his first minor league game since 2009.

> Although first base is the position he's been playing since he was in t-ball, Logan Morrison noted Monday it's going to take him a little time to get adjusted to "finding the bag" again.

Morrison, who made his third big league start at first base Monday night, got tangled up with reliever Randy Choate on a key double play the team was able to turn in the eighth inning Sunday against the Indians. Luckily for the Marlins, Morrison's stumble didn't lead to trouble. 

Morrison, who has made 206 of his 209 career starts in left field, was a pretty solid fielding first baseman in the minors with a .989 fielding percentage. He's made 10 errors in 383 chances in left field in the majors (.974).

> As for the shift the Indians employed against him to produce five groundouts over the weekend series, Morrison said he feels like he's figured that out after his big RBI double on Sunday.

"Just looking at film and stuff, I wasn't getting my foot down on time," Morrison said. "I had to rush everything to get the barrell of the bat to the ball. When you rush, your shoulders fly, your hips fly and the only place you hit it are ground balls that way."

> With Donnie Murphy just 3 for 30 at the plate this season (.100) entering Wednesday, it's not out of the realm of possibility Donovan Solano sticks around.

The 24-year old utility infielder was hitting .262 with 14 RBI in Triple A New Orleans and has more pop than you think. He hit eight home runs to lead the Columbian winter league six months ago. "I like to think of myself as a line drive hitter," he said Monday.

Solano, who led the Marlins with a .410 average this spring, said he was disappointed when he was told he wasn't making the team, but let it go because he knew he would get another chance.

"When [Guillen] spoke to me he was sad for me, said that it was something cruel to send me to Triple A. But that's baseball, those things are out of your control," said Solano, who became just the 12th Colombian-born player to reach the majors when the Marlins called him up Sunday. 

"A lot of the guys in here thought it was an injustice, but I just kept looking forward.  Now, I'm here and I want to make the best of it."

> Guillen said although he expects second baseman Omar Infante to return to the team Tuesday, he's prepared to be without him for the next three or four days. Infante left the team before Sunday's game to attend his grandfather's funeral in Venezuela.

Slo-Pitch Baseball: Mark Buehrle vs. Jamie Moyer

    The way Mark Buehrle sees it, the pitch-speed display should be recalibrated tonight when he takes on Jamie Moyer at Marlins Park. Instead of glowing red whenever a blazing fastball tops 95 miles per hour, it needs to be adjusted downward for the two slow-throwers.

     "They're going to have to turn it down," Buehrle said, laughing. "Light it up red when it's 75 or higher."

      MoyerEven then the thing might not glow "hot" very often, not with Moyer and Buehrle doing their thing. According to FanGraphs, Moyer's fastball this season is averaging 77.7 miles per hour. Buehrle's? A shade over 84. And that's their fastball. Their other pitches clock in even slower. Never mind a fancy radar gun. A metronome would work just fine with these two. Or a sundial.

     No wonder Buehrle was chomping at the bit just thinking about his matchup with the ageless Moyer, who at 49 years of age became the oldest pitcher ever to win a major league game when he registered a victory last month for the Colorado Rockies. Moyer turns 50 on Nov. 18.

      "I finally throw harder than the other starter!," Buehrle said. "We're going to turn it on. We're going to be lighting it up, like there's no tomorrow."

      Joked Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen: "It's going to be Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton -- gas! I know Buerhle's going to look like he's throwing 100."

       Buerhle says teammates sometimes tease him about his low-octane velocity.

       "I've been called Moyer before, guys joking around," Buehrle said. "They'll say, 'Your speed's getting close to his, or whatever. But it's what I've been dealt with. You see (Justin) Verlander. He throws a no-hitter every time. Well, if you had that kind of stuff, of course you should go out there and dominate every game with that stuff. I'd die to have that kind of stuff.

      "That's what amazes me (about Moyer). One, him being that old. And, two, throwing what he's throwing. With what he has and going out and getting guys out at his age...the speed he's throwing stuff up there....it's amazing."

       Moyer is so old that Guillen played against him. Went 4 for 22 against Moyer.

       "It's kind of weird," Guillen said. "Jamie Moyer went from bad to good to old. It's amazing what he's doing. Sometimes you just shake your head and say how does this guy do it? This guy throws 75 and he still gets people out. That's not easy. He knows how to pitch. He learned how to pitch."

        Buehrle doesn't usually pay attention to his pitch-speed readings on the scoreboard. Tonight he might take a peek.

        "Now I'm going to prove to the world that I'm not Moyer," Buehrle said. "I'm two miles an hour plus ahead  of him. I'll be yelling at him to throw fastballs, and throw harder, because I throw harder than he does."

        For once.


May 20, 2012

Omar Infante returns to Venezuela for family funeral

    CLEVELAND -- Omar Infante received word this morning of his grandfather's death and is returning to Venezuela to attend the funeral. Manager Ozzie Guillen said it's uncertain how many games Infante would miss as a result.

    "I expect him to be back in three days I guess," Guillen said. "Venezuelan funerals are a little bit different than here. In Venezuela, you die, you're out, see ya. Here it's like 10 days to bury you. It's a tough situation (for Infante)."

    Along with Gaby Sanchez being optioned to Triple A and Emilio Bonifacio going on the 15-day disabled list, the lineup has undergone quite an overhaul.

    Here's the revised lineup for today's game against the Indians:

    Marlins: 1. Reyes, ss; 2. Petersen, cf; 3. Ramirez, dh; 4. Dobbs, 3b; 5. Stanton, rf; 6. Morrison, 1b; 7. Hayes, c; 8. Coghlan, lf; 9. Murphy, 2b. Pitching: Josh Johnson.

    With all of the moves, Guillen touched on several topics with reporters:

    1) With Sanchez in the minors, who will play first?

        Look for Logan Morrison to receive most -- but not all -- of the starts at first.

        "It's a funny thing about people think about how easy it is to play first base," Guillen said. "Every play happens on the field, the first baseman has to move. A lot of people say if you play LoMo at first base, his knee is going to be better. No it's not. Every pitch you're moving. Lateral. In and out. Back and forth. You get involved in the game more. LoMo and (Greg) Dobbs, those are the two guys we'll use. I think maybe I'll play LoMo most of the time. I guarantee you LoMo's going to be sore. There's no question."

     2) With Bonifacio on the DL and Morrison at 1B, who will play the outfield?

        Today, Guillen has Bryan Petersen starting in center and Chris Coghlan in left. Giancarlo Stanton is in right. The Marlins also have Austin Kearns on the bench, as well as Dobbs.

        "I might move those two guys (Petersen and Coghlan) around, depending on who's going to be the left fielder," Guillen said. "And how they swing the bat. When we go back to the National League, I need Dobbs to come off the bench. Kearns (will play) against lefties."

     3) How long does he expect Gaby Sanchez to remain in the minors?

         Guillen said he hopes Sanchez spends no more than the mandatory 10 days at New Orleans.

        "I think he was trying too hard. He was rushing. he was trying to come out of the slump in one at bat. I talked to him last night. I said we need you here. This ballclub is better with you in the lineup everyday. I will be waiting for him."

Bonifacio to 15-day DL: Marlins call up Donovan Solano

    CLEVELAND -- The Marlins have placed outfielder Emilio Bonifacio on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb and have called up infielder Donovan Solano from Triple A New Orleans. The Marlins have also recalled outfielder Chris Coghlan to fill the roster spot left vacant by first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who was optioned on Saturday.

    Bonifacio's hand was so bruised and swollen on Saturday that he was unable to ball his hand into a fist.

    Solano made a favorable impression on manager Ozzie Guillen in spring training and was one of the last players cut. Solano would become the 12th player from Colombia to appear in the majors.

    Solano, who is primarily a singles hitter, is batting .262 this season. Coghlan is hitting. 275 with New Orleans.

May 19, 2012

Gaby Sanchez demoted to minors

    CLEVELAND -- Gaby Sanchez was not only an All-Star last year, he was the Marlins' only selection to the team. Now he and his .197 batting average are headed to the minors.

     The Marlins optioned the slumping first baseman to Triple A New Orleans following his 0-for-3 performance against Cleveland on Saturday.

     "We don't think he's a .190 hitter," said Marlins general manager Michael Hill. "We think he's better than he's showing here. We think he's pressing. We want to take some of the pressure off him, get him down to Triple A, and get him right."

     The Marlins are expected to call up Chris Coghlan, and could use any one of three players at first: Logan Morrison, Greg Dobbs and Austin Kearns.

      After a robust first half last season that earned him an All-Star selection, Sanchez struggled in the second half. Hill said all of that was considered before reaching Saturday's decision to send him to Triple A. Sanchez hasn't played in the minors since 2009.

      "We know that he struggled the second half of last year after an All-Star first half," Hill said. "That's always in your evaluation. But we just saw a player who was struggling in the major leagues and not the same player we've seen historically. Nobody ever wants to be told they have to go down. But I think he realizes he's better than he's shown."

Bonifacio out indefinitely with injured thumb (UPDATED)

       CLEVELAND -- Emilio Bonifacio is out indefinitely with a sprained thumb and, depending on the severity of the injury, could go on the disabled list. The Marlins won’t know for sure until Bonifacio receives a second opinion on the injury after the team returns to Miami.

        Bonifacio, who leads the majors in stolen bases, injured his left thumb on Friday when his hand caught the bag at second on a head-first slide. Bonifacio was examined on Saturday in Cleveland, and manager Ozzie Guillen said the center fielder would not play the remainder of the series, which ends Sunday.

     “It’s very sore,” Guillen said. “(He) can’t hold the bat.”

     Guillen said it’s uncertain whether Bonifacio will end up on the DL until a few more days have passed. In the meantime, Guillen said Bryan Petersen would take over in center.

      “The doctors here say it’s nothing bad,” Guillen said. “Now we’ll have a second opinion.”

      Bonifacio isn't on the lineup card for this afternoon's tilt, ending his run of consecutive games at 112. Incredibly, that's the third longest active streak in the National League behind Cincinnati's Joey Votto (165) and Atlanta's Michael Bourn (128).

    Hard to imagine that Votto is the only NL player to have a streak as long as one full season.

    Bonifacio not only injured his thumb on a slide into second base in last night's fifth inning, but had his streak of stolen bases without being caught stopped at 20 straight. Bonifacio didn't argue the call, but said the video replay showed he was safe.


    Here are today's lineups:

    Marlins: 1. Reyes, ss; 2. Infante, 2b; 3. Ramirez, 3b; 4. Dobbs rf; 5. Stanton, dh; 6. Morrison, lf; 7. Sanchez, 1b; 8. Petersen, cf; 9. Buck, c. On the mound: Anibal Sanchez

    Indians: 1.Choo rf; 2. Kipnis, 2b; 3. Cabrera, ss; 4. Hafner, dh; 5. Santana, c; 6. Brantley cf; 7. Lopez, 3b; 8. Kotchman, 1b; 9. Duncan, lf. On the mound: Jeanmar Gomez.

    Umpires: HP -- Angel Hernandez; 1B -- Chris Conroy; 2B -- Mark Carlson; 3B -- Ed Hickox

May 18, 2012

If Dwyane Wade got in Ozzie's face, there'd be a fight

    CLEVELAND -- Ozzie Guillen doesn't follow the NBA and, until reporters told him about it, wasn't familiar with last night's incident in Indianapolis when Dwyane Wade mouthed off at Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra in the third quarter. But Guillen said if any player tried that with him, there'd be fisticuffs.

    "He can guarantee a fight," Guillen said, adding that Wade's actions were "disrespectful."

    Guillen said no player has ever confronted him the way Wade did to Spoelstra, but said there would be trouble if it ever happened.

    "I will kick his (butt)," Guillen said. "Well, I won't say I'll kick his (butt). They'll kick my (butt) because they're bigger than me, and I'm older. But I will take my chances. Some people they have to understand our job. Some players, they think they know more baseball than you do. They don't know what we're thinking."

    Guillen said he never confronted a player, but felt that he once disrespected a pitcher for the Chicago White Sox by something he said to him when he went to the mound to lift him from the game. He said he immediately realized his mistake and apologized to that player.

     "I did it once and I apologized to everyone (the player's teammates)," Guillen said. "I did it on the mound. As soon as I came back (to the dugout), I said, 'Listen, I apologize as a man because I respect you as a man.' I made a big mistake to embarrass him on the mound."

     As for the Wade/Spoelstra incident, Guillen said this:

     "I don't know Wade. I don't know the coach. That's disrespectful. Why he said it? When he said it? That's none of my business. (But) he can guarantee a fight."

     Guillen said he can understand how a player, in the heat of the moment, might become upset if he is to remove him from the game.

     "You know how many players I take out of the game, and they go up in the back (clubhhosue) and talk crap about me?" Guillen said. "I don't care. Because I'm going to talk crap about them. Because if I take you out of a game, it's for a reason."

     Guillen said he's starting to notice more players being disrespectful to coaches and managers. He said it could be because coaches and managers today are closer in age to the players.

     "Before, the coaches had white hair and big bellies, smoking a cigar," Guillen said. "Okay, that's my grandpa.' Now a lot of young guys have the same age as the coaches." 


Chris Volstad demoted to Triple A

    CLEVELAND -- A lovely day on the south shore of Lake Erie (how many times are those words ever spoken?) as we get set to watch the Marlins take on the first-place Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.

    Carlos Zambrano takes the mound for the Marlins, which brings us to this afternoon's breaking news out of Chicago: the player the Marlins sent to the Cubs for Zambrano -- Chris Volstad -- has been demoted to Triple A Iowa.

    It's been an awful start for Volstad in the Windy City, where he's gone 0-6 with a 7.46 ERA in eight starts, all of which the Cubs ended up losing. Zambrano, obviously, has done quite a bit better for the Fish. Given that the Cubs are eating most of Big Z's salary, it sure looks like the Marlins got the best of the deal.

    Volstad, a former first-round pick of the Marlins, is now winless over his past 19 starts.

    Any thoughts?

    Tonight's Marlins lineup:

    1. Reyes, ss; 2. Infante, 2b; 3. Ramirez, 3b; 4. Dobbs, 1b; 5. Stanton, rf; 6. Morrison, dh; 7. Bonifacio, cf; 8. Buck, c; 9. Petersen, lf

May 17, 2012

Stanton still a work in progress on defense; LoMo likely to DH in Cleveland

ATLANTA -- He's tied for the most errors among outfielders in the National League with five and yet has made SportsCenter's Top 10 plays two nights in a row this week for making highlight reel grabs.

Giancarlo StantonGiancarlo Stanton continues to look great one minute and lost the next in right field for the Marlins. But that's what you get, Marlins outfield coach Gary Thurman said Thursday, when you've got a 22-year old who has loads of talent, but loses his concentration now and again.

"He just has to concentrate on every single play," Thurman said.

"[His potential] is through the roof. He's got all the tools. He's got a great arm. He's got good speed. He just needs to play a little bit and get in some situations he hasn't been in and maybe think ahead a little bit about what can happen so he's prepared for it when it does happen. But, you see all the tools he posses. If he hones those things in, the sky is the limit for him."

Stanton's diving grab of a Jason Heyward line drive Wednesday saved two key runs from scoring and kept the Marlins ahead 3-1 in a game they eventually won 8-4 after Stanton belted a two-run home run later in the game. 

According to baseballreference.com, Stanton came into Thursday's game on defense worth 25 total zone runs this season -- that's 17 more runs than second place Jose Tabata of the Pirates. His range factor (putouts and assists divided by game played) is also first among National League right fielders at 2.35. 

But his five errors bug him. "A lot of stupid, stupid mistakes this year," Stanton said of his defense. "Like that ball [booted in the seventh inning Wednesday], it snaked on me a little bit. That's about all my errors -- easy plays like that. I've just got to just learn from it and keep improving."


With the Marlins scheduled to face three right-handers in Cleveland this weekend, manager Ozzie Guillen said he'll likely use Logan Morrison as the team's designated hitter. Morrison, the team's regular starting left fielder, has battled swelling and soreness in his right knee since having it scoped in December.

He's played in 34 of the Marlins 38 games games -- counting Thursday -- but has appeared in eight of those games as a pinch hitter. Morrison hasn't started in more than four consecutive games without a day off or a break from fielding yet this season. 

"It's kind of unpredictable when you play on it every other day or every day," Morrison said of the soreness. "It's frustrating because I want to be in there every day. It's kind of tough to get going. You're feeling good with your swing and then you get a day off."

Guillen said trainers have told him Morrison will be ready to go full-time come "June or July," but "right now we have to monitor him very carefully." 

Ozzie Guillen said he's done with Twitter: "I hate it... I'm not Kim Kardashian... follow LoMo."

ATLANTA -- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said he's done with Twitter.

The outspoken 48-year old explained why before Thursday's game against the Braves.

"I hate Twitter. Everybody who follows me can go [expletive] their pants," Guillen said.

"Don't follow me anymore. It's a stupid thing. I never made any money on that. When you speak Spanish, you speak Spanish. When you speak English [people say] 'You don't know how to spell English.' Get a real job. Get a life. I don't make money out of that. I'm done."

Were people on Twitter sending Guillen nasty messages?

"People are nasty," Guillen said. "I don't need that. I don't need the aggravation. So many nasty people. They don't have nothing better to do.

"I'm not Kim Kardashian. I don't sell anything in my life to have a Twitter. I tweeted yesterday about my friend dying. I hadn't tweeted in three months. I don't tweet anymore. Follow somebody else. Follow LoMo [Marlins left field field Logan Morrison]. It's more fun. LoMo got better stuff than me."

Guillen has 230,926 followers on Twitter. But he's been relatively quiet of late. After getting suspended last month for five games because of comments he made in a Time magazine article related to Fidel Castro, Guillen went more than a month without posting on the social network before returning last week.

Guillen's tweets this week included him wishing bench coach Joey Cora a happy birthday and condolences to the family of former White Sox pitcher Kevin Hickey, who passed away Wednesday.

About four hours before the start of the Marlins-Braves game Thursday, Guillen posted this on his Twitter page: "My last tweet. me ultimo tweet buena suerte."

Last year, Guillen was suspended for two games and fined an undisclosed amount for comments made via Twitter following his ejection and for on-field actions following a game against the Yankees.
It was the first time baseball has penalized a player, coach or manager for use of the social networking site during a game.

Guillen said he plans to maintain his website ozzieguillen.com

"I get paid for the website," he said. "Everything that makes me money I will do it. Free things? Nothing."

(Courtesy of Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post)