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57 posts from July 2012

July 07, 2012

Guillen: Getting Oviedo back will be like 'biggest trade of the year'

ST. LOUIS -- A day after closer Heath Bell came dangerously close to blowing another lead in the ninth inning, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen expressed his delight in the fact it won't be long before former closer Juan Carlos Oviedo is back with the team.

JC Oviedo"Biggest trade of the year," Guillen said when asked Saturday what it would mean to the team when Oviedo finishes serving his eight-week suspension for age and identity fraud on July 22nd.

"I will [treat] that as a big trade we make for the [playoff] run. He's going to help the bullpen. A day like today, he'll take Bell's spot. [Other times] we'll see how Bell's throwing and we'll flip flop each for whatever reason. It's going to be a big lift. Hopefully, he'll throw the ball like he has in the past."

Oviedo, who saved 92 games in three previous seasons for the Marlins when he was known as Leo Nunez, was scheduled to receive his first rehab assignment Saturday with Single A Jupiter. But that's been pushed back to Monday night because of a stiff neck The Herald learned.

Guillen has long said he'd keep Bell, who has converted 19 of 24 save opportunities, as his closer when Nunez returned. But it's clear after Saturday's comments Oviedo could put some heat on Bell, who signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Marlins in the offseason, but has struggled.

Guillen said he might go see Oviedo pitch for Jupiter while the Marlins are off. The Hammerheads are scheduled to play in Fort Myers Monday night. Oviedo is expected to rejoin the Marlins on July 23rd.

> With Bell having pitched on four consecutive days, Guillen said he's giving him the day off Saturday. Guillen said right-hander Steve Cishek or left-handers Mike Dunn and Randy Choate could pitch the ninth today. Guillen said he would prefer to give Cishek the day off.

> A night after making the game-saving defensive play in the Marlins 3-2 win over the Cardinals, Omar Infante is also getting the day off to rest. That means 24-year old rookie Donovan Solano, who grew up in the Cardinals farm system, will get his first career start against his former team. Solano went 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter against the Cardinals when they faced the Marlins last month in Miami.

> Although his team has won 7 of 9 and has closed to within a game of .500, Guillen said he's disappointed with the Marlins' first half. 

"We're finishing a little strong," Guillen said. "But am I disappointed? Yes. I'm disappointed. I should be. We're a better club than we're playing. I didn't manage this club for .500. I think we're a better club than .500. We not playing up to the caliber we should be playing. A little inconsistent, a little weird first half, you can call it that.

"[But] I'm pretty sure having Carlos Lee here [for the second half] is going to help. He's a guy who is going to lead and a guy they're going to look up to, a guy who has been in this situation before. I don't know why I feel that way. I hope it happens. I'm not going to say Carlos is going to carry this ballclub, or put people under his wing. But having him in the middle of the lineup, having his presence in the clubhouse is going to help those guys."

> Guillen said when Emilio Bonifacio returns to the Marlins after the All-Star Break, it's likely he'll return to the bottom third of the order. "I think I'm going to keep him low so we can get more speed in the bottom," Guillen said. "I think we're a little bit too slow in the bottom of the lineup."

Bonifacio has played in three games for Jupiter since returning from thumb surgery and is 1-for-7 with two walks, two strikeouts and two stolen bases.

> As far as outfielder Justin Ruggiano is concerned, Guillen continues to insist he will continue to get playing time when Bonifacio returns.

"If he continues to swing the bat like that and I bench him I shouldn't have a job. Fire me," Guillen said. "I'll try to find him a spot to play. Boni can play a little bit of second base, can play center field. We can move him around. We got to start thinking about [Giancarlo] Stanton and [Logan Morrison]. It's time to give them a couple days rest, too."

Ruggiano, who entered Saturday's game on a nine-game hitting streak and with a .411 average, five homers and 15 RBI since June 1, said he'll do whatever the team asks of him.

“I’m not going to be a selfish teammate,” Ruggiano said. “I want whatever is best for the team. It’s [Guillen]’s call and I’ll obviously support whatever Ozzie wants to do.”

> After seeing his average dip to .224 on June 26, Morrison has been swinging as hot a bat as anyone for the Marlins. He came into Saturday's game having hit in nine consecutive games (.444) with four homers and 11 RBI.

Morrison, who has played with an ailing right knee all season, was hit by a pitch in his calf and by another pitch on his ankle Friday. He also said he injured his right hand trying to make a diving catch on a sinking liner by Carlos Beltran in the fifth inning.

"I think I hyperextended a finger or something like that. But I'll be fine," Morrison said.

Guillen praised Morrison’s grit Friday. “Lomo is crazy or he loves baseball that much,” Guillen said. “He’s been playing in pain the whole season.”

As for his hitting, Guillen credited hitting coach Eduardo Perez for Morrison's improvement.

"I think Lomo has been more aggressive, pulled the ball a little bit more," Guillen said. "Now he doesn't have the mentality of a leadoff hitter. That's what I thought he was -- Lomo was a No. 6, 7 hitter who acted like leadoff hitter. He was trying to hit the ball to left field, looking for a great count to hit, looking for a perfect pitch. Now, I think Eduardo has tried to get him to swing the bat as a No. 6, No. 7 guy. He's 200 pounds. Drive the ball. He's doing it right now."

SATURDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (41-42): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 3. Carlos Lee 1B, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Logan Morrison RF, 6. Justin Ruggiano CF, 7. Donovan Solano 2B, 8. Brett Hayes C, 9. Carlos Zambrano RHP.

> Cardinals (44-40): 1. Rafael Furcal SS, 2. John Jay CF, 3. Matt Holliday LF, 4. Carlos Beltran RF, 5. Allen Craig 1B, 6. David Freese 3B, 7. Skip Schumaker 2B, 8. Tony Cruz C, 9. Kyle Lohse RHP. 

Clevelander at Marlins Park looking for a pool boy

Think you can serve as a little eye candy for the ladies?

The Clevelander at Marlins Park might be interested in your services.

Men 21 years or older can submit a photo of themselves (The Clevelander people want you to keep it tasteful!) and the reason why they’ll be the best pool boy Marlins fans have ever seen to poolboy@clevelander.com. The deadline for submissions is Thursday. The five finalists selected will then attend a judging at the Marlins-Nationals game at 7:10 p.m. next Saturday.

"Pool boy hopefuls should know their way around the water, and feel comfortable in a swimsuit, interacting with guests, Clevelander dancers and pool goers as well as serving as eye candy and party starter all in one package!," the release from The Clevelander states.

The pool boy will then work and be stationed in the famous pool side chair at Clevelander Marlins Park during select Marlins home games starting with the home stand against the San Diego Padres on July 27th.

July 06, 2012

Guillen doesn't want to hear any complaints from players about the heat in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- The Marlins matched a couple team records for playing in the heat Friday night when the game-time temperature reading inside Busch Stadium read 103 degrees.

According to radio play-by-play man Glenn Geffner, the only other time the Marlins played in temperatures as hot was when they lost to the Diamondbacks 2-0 in Phoenix back on June 14, 1999. 

This is also just the second time the Marlins have played three straight games in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees according to Geffner. That record should go up in flames Saturday along with the prior. Saturday's game is scheduled for a 4:10 p.m. first pitch. The forecast calls for temperatures around 107 degrees.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, though, doesn't want to hear any complaints about the heat.

"I’ve got four people working my house, making $5 an hour and still working," Guillen said. "I think we make a little bit more than them, and people pay to watch us play. Just think about that. I love this weather. That’s why we play baseball this time of year, not in November or December.

"Whoever doesn't like this weather, I don’t wanna here any of my players complaining about this weather. That’s negative. That's a losing energy. You have to play with this weather, like or not. That’s the way we have to look at it. A lot of people do worse stuff and make a living and make way less than we do. And they don't complain."

Guillen by the way wiped pre-game batting practice off the team's schedule for this series because he doesn't want them to overextend themselves. 

Reliever Mike Dunn said playing in 100-plus degree temperatures isn't a big deal to him. He grew up playing in Las Vegas.

"It's not like we're coming from someplace where it was 70 degrees and nice," Dunn said. "We just came from Milwaukee where it was hot as hell, too."

Stanton says he'll return Saturday, plans to play in Home Run Derby and All-Star Game

ST. LOUIS -- After testing his right knee out for about 40 minutes in 105 degree heat Friday afternoon at Busch Stadium, Giancarlo Stanton said he feels good enough that he expects to be back in the Marlins lineup Saturday and plans on participating in both the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game next week.

The 22-year old slugger, who hasn't played since he felt his knee lock up during Monday’s game at Milwaukee, said he will eventually need surgery to remove the "loose bodies" in his knee. But for now, he is looking to manage his knee with treatment.

As long as the Marlins remain in the playoff hunt, and he doesn’t feel he will create any further damage, Stanton said he will hold off on a procedure.

“I’ve had knee problems before, so I’m not new to the fact of managing it,” Stanton said. “It’s just new to this feeling. I know my body well. So, it’s just a matter of what’s it going to do, and tell me.”

In his pre-game workout Friday under the supervision of team trainers and assistant Gary Thurman, Stanton ran along the outfield wall and then played catch. He then tracked down fly balls and grounders hit to him by Thurman, before firing them back in to pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who served as his catcher. Later, Stanton ran the bases.

The feeling in his knee, he said, is “weird.” But as long as it is just weird and not restricting, Stanton said he will continue to play.

"The muscles around it, my knee are not used to something bouncing around in there," he said. "It's been a little pissed off, not moving the way it's supposed to. But after getting warmed up and stuff, it was fine.

"What we don't want to happen is for it to get stuck in some place it shouldn't, and make ligament damage. [But] the risk of that isn't very high. It would lock up and tell me to stop before that. So, go from there."

Stanton said he has to monitor the way he plays closely. "I’ve got to read my body,” he said. “If I’m changing the way I run or hit or anything, then that is going to lead to other problems and change the way I play on the field.”

If that is the case, he could end up having surgery before the season ends.

Stanton said he was told surgery could mean him missing two to eight weeks. 

“It’s a big gap, but it all depends to the reaction to it,” he said. “I didn’t have a lot of swelling or bruising. So that means it would be however my knee reacts to being cut open.”

Stanton said the chunk of "loose bodies" -- bone/cartilage -- is big enough that he can actually push it up or down with his fingers when it slides over to the side of his knee.

Asked about getting back in the Marlins lineup for a day game with temperatures expected to be around 106, Stanton laughed.

"After what I did out there [Friday]," he said. "That's a piece of cake."

> Cardinals All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, a Marlins killer this season, will not face Miami this weekend. He's returned home on bereavement. 

FRIDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (40-42): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 3. Carlos Lee 1B, 4. Logan Morrison LF, 5. Justin Ruggiano CF, 6. Greg Dobbs RF, 7. Omar Infante 2B, 8. John Buck C, 9. Ricky Nolasco RHP.

> Cardinals (44-39): 1. Rafael Furcal SS, 2. John Jay CF, 3. Matt Holliday LF, 4. Carlos Beltran RF, 5. Allen Craig 1B, 6. David Freese 3B, 7. Daniel Descalso 2B, 7. Tony Cruz C, 9. Jake Westbrook RHP.

July 05, 2012

Stanton to test knee Friday, but not play

    MILWAUKEE -- Ozzie Guillen said Giancarlo Stanton will not play Friday when the Marlins open a 3-game series in St. Louis. Whether he plays the other two days of that series and, beyond that, participate in next week's Home Run Derby and All-Star Game remains to be seen.

    Stanton took batting practice in the indoor cages on Thursday, and he said he'll take part in all of the pre-game rituals -- taking batting practice, shagging in the outfield -- on Friday. But Stanton also said that if he does not play on both Saturday and Sunday in St. Louis, he probably won't take part in any All-Star festivities.

     "Tomorrow's the test," Stanton said.

     Stanton said that if his knee doesn't feel right, it's unlikely he would compete in just the Home Run Derby on Monday and not play in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

     "It all depends on how hitting out there, and not just in the cage, feels, especially trying to get it over the fence all the time," he said. "I definitely don't want to go there and have to come out after five or 10 swings."

     Stanton said the MRI on his knee revealed a "loose body" of either bone or cartilage of about 6 mm.

     "The description of it is like the tip of your pinky," he said.

     Stanton, the Marlins' only All-Star representative, said he wouldn't necessarily go to Kansas City and make an appearance even if he is unable to take part in the Derby or Game. He said there's a chance that he could return to South Florida to have the loose body removed arthroscopically, instead.

     "If I have to go down (to Miami) and get it out, then no," Stanton said.    

 

Carlos Lee talks about becoming a Marlin (w/VIDEO)

   MILWAUKEE -- The newest Marlin -- Carlos Lee -- spent the morning settling in, adjusting to his new surroundings and shaking hands and exchanging greetings with his new teammates. He'll wear 45. Lee said he vetoed the Dodgers trade (they were one of the 14 teams on his limited no-trade list) because family members voiced objections to moving to L.A.

   "Basically, I couldn't get everybody to agree to it," Lee said. "My wife just got here for the summer and going to L.A.....even the kids were complaining."

   The Marlins were not one of the teams on Lee's no-trade list, so he had no say in the matter when the Astros dealt him for Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen.

   "There was a reason why I didn't block going to Miami," Lee said, a native of Panama. "It's one of the teams that I want to play for. Thinking about me, and thinking about the family at the same time, and what is best for my career, I think Miami was a good choice."

   Lee, who went 3 for 15 with a double and two RBI when the Astros visited Miami earlier in the season, called Marlins Park a good ballpark for certain hitters.

   "It's a good hitting park if you're a line drive hitter," Lee said. "If you're a home run hitter, it's kind of (tough). It's a pretty big park."

   General manager Michael Hill said ever since the Marlins began talking to the Astros about Lee, Dominguez was always central to the deal. It was Rasmussen the Marlins reluctantly included in the trade. Despite that, Hill said the Marlins front office continues to believe Dominguez will evolve into a productive major league player.

    "You never want to give up pitching, let alone left-handed pitching," Hill said. "But understanding what was at stake and you have to give to get, we made ourselves comfortable ultimately with it, and you make the deal."

    -- Giancarlo Stanton tested his injured right knee in the indoor cages on Thursday morning, but his status remain unchanged. He hopes to play in the weekend series in St. Louis. But if he is unable to do so, it is unlikely he'll play in the All-Star Game on Tuesday or compete in Monday's Home Run Derby in Kansas City. A MRI revealed a "loose body" in the knee, and Stanton said he'll likely need surgery to remove it at some point in time. Hill said if it's decided that Stanton can't participate in either the ASG or HRD, he'll still go to K.C. as the Marlins' only representative. "It's collaborative," Hill said of how the decision will end up being made. "We'll listen to our athlete, communicate and see how he feels."

    -- Emilio Bonifacio remains on target for a July 13 return after making his first rehab appearance last night for Single A Jupiter. Bonifacio went 0 for 2 but hit the ball hard in one of his at bats.

    -- Juan Carlos Oviedo is scheduled to make his first rehab appearance on Saturday for Jupiter. He'll be eligible to join the Marlins roster on July 23.

    "I hear he's throwing very well," Hill said.

    Here's Lee talking about his trade to the Marlins:

Carlos Lee playing first, batting third

   MILWAUKEE -- The lineup was posted a moment ago, and Carlos Lee is indeed here. Manager Ozzie Guillen has him batting in the three hole and playing first.

   Heading down in a moment to talk to the newest Marlin but, to get the discussion going, here's the lineup:

   1. Jose Reyes, ss

   2. Hanlely Ramirez, 3b

   3. Carlos Lee, 1b

   4. Logan Morrision, lf

   5. Justin Ruggiano, rf

   6. Omar Infante, 2b

   7. Scott Cousins, cf

   8. John Buck, c

   9. Mark Buehrle

July 04, 2012

Marlins acquire Carlos Lee from Astros

    MILWAUKEE -- The Marlins have acquired first baseman/outfielder Carlos Lee from the Houston Astros for a pair of minor-leaguers, third baseman Matt Dominguez and left-handed pitcher Rob Rasmussen, a source said. The news was first reported by ESPN.com's Buster Olney.

    Lee was removed by the Astros from Wednesday's game.

    Lee is hitting .286 with five home runs and fills an obvious need for the Marlins, who have received disappointing results so far from Gaby Sanchez. The 36-year-old Lee, who played for Ozzie Guillen in 2004 with the Chicago White Sox, has been a steady offensive performer during his 14 big-league seasons.

    Lee, a free agent after this season, recently vetoed a trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers but, according to Olney, "has indicated a willingness to play" for the Marlins.

    Even though the Astros have used him exclusively at first base this season, Lee has played left field in the past and could also fit there for the Marlins, who would like to move Logan Morrison to first base. Morrison is dealing with a sore knee that has limited his outfield range and was not in Wednesday's lineup, as a result.

    The slick-fieldling Dominguez, the Marlins' first-round pick (12th overall) in 2007, has been underwhelming offensively. The Astros are picking up the remainder of Lee's $18.5 million salary.

Stanton has MRI on knee, could miss All-Star Game

   MILWAUKEE -- Giancarlo Stanton says he will miss the rest of the Milwaukee series due to a sore right knee and, if he is unable to return to the linup for the weekend series in St. Louis, might not participate in either the Home Run Derby or All-Star Game.

    Stanton and the Marlins are awaiting the results of a MRI, which was performed Tuesday after he was scratched from the lineup. Stanton wasn't in Wednesday's lineup and said he would not play on Thursday, as well, when the Marlins close out their series against the Brewers.

    Depending on the results of the MRI, he said his goal is to play Friday when the Marlins open a series in St. Louis. If he is unable to play in that series, he said it's unlikely he would take part in All-Star festivities. Stanton is the Marlins' only representative to the All-Star team.

    "That would depend on how hitting felt," Stanton said of being in the All-Star Game if he doesn't play in St. Louis. "But it would make more sense (not to play in the All-Star Game). I'll (aim) for this weekend.  Have got to let some swelling and stuff go down, stiffness and whatnot."

    Said Marlins general manager Michael Hill: "Obviously you want him to play for us before he goes play in an exhibition game. It wouldn't be smart (otherwise). We have a long season. If we want to get ourselves back into it, he's a big part of it and you want to make sure he's able to do that."

    Hill said team doctors in South Florida will examine the MRI images, perhaps as soon as today.

    Stanton said he apparently injured his knee somehow in the eighth inning of Monday's game in Milwaukee while standing in right field and flexing his legs and arms in preparation for a possible throw to the plate.

    "I was getting my legs and arms ready, just to throw somebody out, anticipating it, and bending my legs it kind of just locked up on me," Stanton said.

    Stanton said he is going day-to-day to see how the knee responds to treatment.

    "It's one day at a time is pretty important right now to kind of evaluate everything, make sure all is good to go," Stanton said.

     ________________________

     Stanton isn't the only Marlins outfielder dealing with a sore knee. Left fielder Logan Morrison is also dealing with a sore left knee and, with left-hander Randy Wolf going for the Brewers, isn't in the lineup.

     "Lomo's knee is not too good," Guillen said. "He's banged up. I almost took him out of the game yesterday. I was two seconds away from taking him out because it was very uncomfortable watching him play. But he wanted to stay in."

     ________________________

     Closer Heath Bell said he appreciated Guillen for standing up for him in a post-game rant inside the Marlins' clubhouse following Tuesday's 13-12 loss. Bell gave up two-run walkoff homer to Aramis Ramirez in the 10th inning.

     "Ozzie's sticking up for his players, plain and simple," Bell said. "Did it make me feel any better? No. But I totally respect and appreciate what he said. But I blew the game plain and simple. I take full responsiblity and it was my fault that we lost the game because my teammates put us in a good position to win and I threw one bad pitch. I'm the reason that we lost the game. But that's the nature of the beast."

     Guillen said he was trying to show Bell's teammates, the Marlins' front office and the media that Bell was not solely to blame for Tuesday's loss.

     "I was upset because a lot of people were looking at Bell like (he was) a ghost," Guillen said. "Bell gave up one hit and two runs, and all those other (expletive) gave up 16 (hits) and 10 runs, and we're going to blame Bell for that? That's easy to kick the guy in his (expletive) when he's down. I'm not protecting the guy. But it's unfair."

     Guillen said he would become extremely upset if he saw or heard any of Bell's teammates criticize the closer.

     "They better not," Guillen said. "If I see teammates criticize him, they're not going to be on this ballclub anymore. I'm going to make sure I make their life miserable."

     ________________________

         Lineups:

     Marlins: 1. Jose Reyes, ss; 2. Donovan Solano, lf; 3. Hanley Ramirez, 3b; 4. Justin Ruggiano, cf; 5. Omar Infante, 2b; 6. Austin Kearns, rf; 7. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 8. Brett Hayes, c; 9. Josh Johnson, rhp.

     Brewers: 1. Norichika Aoki, rf; 2. Nyjer Morgan, cf; 3. Ryan Braun, lf; 4. Aramis Ramirez, 3b; 5. Corey Hart, 1b; 6. Rickie Weeks, 2b; 7. George Kottaras, c; 8. Cesar Izturis, ss; 9. Randy Wolf, lhp.

     Umpires: HP -- Dan Bellino; 1B -- D.J. Reyburn; 2B -- Derryl Cousins; 3B -- Ron Kulpa.

The Heath Bell File

    MILWAUKEE -- Heath Bell was charged with his fifth blown save -- and what a doozy it was -- in yesterday's epic 13-12 loss to the Brewers. There was the comeback, the Bell meltdown, and finally Ozzie Guillen's cherry-on-top clubhouse rant to close out a wild one at Miller Park.

     The loss was the fourth one in recent weeks -- and second in as many days -- in which the Marlins appeared to have a relatively solid handle on the outcome, only for it to all slip away somehow (Boston at Fenway, the Cardinals' 9th-inning comeback in Miami and Monday's defeat after building a 5-2 lead on Zack Greinke).

     Bell has had a hand in two of those, but his failures so far this season (today's 81st game takes us to the exact halfway point) extend far beyond his "blown saves." Check out the diary of his downfalls:

    -- April 14 vs. Houston -- Marlins are leading 4-1 in the 9th, but Bell gives up four runs in a 5-4 loss. Blown Save.

    -- April 26 at New York -- Marlins are leading 2-1 in the 9th, but Bell gives up two runs in a 3-2 loss. Blown Save.

    -- May 2 at San Francisco -- Marlins are leading 2-0 in the 9th, but Bell is lifted for Steve Cishek after the Giants score twice to tie it and send game to extra innings. Marlins won 3-2 in the 10th. Not a blown save since Cishek inherited the save situation from Bell.

    -- May 4 at San Diego -- Marlins are leading 8-7 in the 9th, but Bell gives up the tying run. Marlins eventually win 9-8 in the 12th. Blown Save.

    -- May 13 vs. New York Mets -- Marlins are tied 2-2 with Mets in the 9th, but Bell gives up two runs as Mets take the lead. Marlins score six in the bottom of the 9th to pull out victory. Bell, as the pitcher of record, is credited with the win.

    -- May 25 vs. San Francisco -- Marlins take a 7-4 lead into the 9th. But after Giants rally for two runs to trim the lead, Bell is lifted and Cishek is brought in to preserve a 7-6 win.

    -- May 26 vs. San Francisco -- Marins take a 5-2 lead into the 9th. But Bell is lifted for the second straight night when he gives up a run. Choate brought in to preserve 5-3 win.

    -- June 25 vs. St. Louis -- Marlins lead 6-2 in the 9th. But Bell gives up four runs and Cardinals win 8-7 in the 10th. Not a blown save since Bell did not enter in a save situation.

    -- July 3 at Milwaukee -- After overcoming a 9-2 deficit and taking an 12-11 lead in the 10th, Bell gives up a two-run homer to Aramis Ramirez and Marlins lose 13-12. Blown Save.