Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said Friday that he was giving slumping first baseman Logan Morrison a few days off to get himself right – not long after saying there were seven players who were in the conversation for demotion to the minors.
It didn't sound like Guillen meant Morrison was one of those players.
“He needs to relax, work on things in the cage and in batting practice to see if he can get better,'' Guillen said. “He needs to get back to where he was. This is not a punishment, nothing like that. He needs a break mentally. He'll be playing soon. We cannot win without him hitting well. He's hitting fifth and we need him to be better. This isn't a message.''
After Thursday's loss to the Braves – a series sweep in which Miami was outscored 21-3 – the Marlins brought outfielder Austin Kearns off the disabled list (hamstring) and sent Bryan Petersen to Triple-A New Orleans.
Guillen didn't immediately meet with the media after Thursday's game as he said he was in a meeting to determine who went down. Petersen ended up being the guy, although Guillen said it could have been a number of players who got the demotion.
“It's tough for Petersen because it could be any other players,'' Guillen said before the Marlins opened a three-game set with Tampa Bay at Marlins Stadium on Friday.
“There were like seven names involved in the meeting and we had to pick one. Unfortunately it was Petersen. I think the team is better where we are right now. The front office is working very hard, looking for players not playing well to ship them out. It's a warning. The meeting was 45 minutes for one player. That means there were a few players involved. They better step it up. If they don't know, they need to be aware. They need to look in the mirror and say 'why Petersen and not me'?''
Morrison, who spent time at New Orleans last season, was hitting .250 when he was pulled in from the outfield to replace the demoted Gaby Sanchez at first on May 20. Morrison hasn't had an easy go of it lately, getting just two hits in 24 at bats this month as his average has dropped to .216.
Greg Dobbs replaced Morrison at first on Friday and batted fifth behind Giancarlo Stanton. Miami went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position – leaving 11 stranded – on Thursday as Morrison went 0-for-2 in that situation.
“Every time we lose a game, that's why,'' Guillen said. “We're not getting the big hits. We're not. That's hurt us almost all year long. We have guys on and we can't drive them in. Is it a concern? No. We have to be better.''
-- The Marlins also sent left-handed reliever Dan Jennings to New Orleans and brought up Sandy Rosario from the Zephyrs.
Jennings pitched the ninth inning Thursday, giving up a three-run homer to Michael Bourn with two outs.
“I this this kid should be in the minors to prepare himself for a major league career,'' Guillen said of Jennings, who pitched two innings against the Braves this week. “I think he was excited, but it wasn't proper to bring him up to the big leagues. I'm not saying he wasn't ready, but it was too quick. He should be down there developing.''
-- Guillen, who spent the final season of his 16-year career with the Tampa Bay 'Devil' Rays in 2000, said Rays manager Joe Maddon is one he most respects in the game.
Maddon has helped transform the Rays from cellar dweller to contender, leading Tampa Bay to the playoffs in three of the past four seasons with a trip to the World Series in 2008.
“He's done a lot of good things for his ball club and especially his city,'' Guillen said. “Everything he does seems to work. He's been winning all these years because he's a very smart baseball man. His players respect him, love to play for him.''
-- Saturday night's game will start at 7:15 p.m. and will be broadcast locally on WSVN-7 as Fox Sports will broadcast both Miami-Tampa Bay Saturday night games this season.
The second game will be next week at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
COMING UP --Saturday: Tampa Bay Rays LHP Matt Moore (2-5, 4.45) at Miami Marlins RHP Carlos Zambrano (4-3, 2.81), 7:15 p.m., Marlins Park
--Sunday: Rays RHP James Shields (6-4, 4.27) at Marlins RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-4, 3.19), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park
--Scouting report: Zambrano is coming off a strong performance as he gave up one run on four hits in a win at Philadelphia on Sunday. Miami has won six of Zambrano's past seven starts this season. Zambrano has only faced Tampa Bay once, losing in St. Petersburg in 2008.