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The D-Train reaches the end of the line

      The word out of Baltimore is that Dontrelle Willis, who burst onto the scene with the Marlins in 2003, became a fan favorite with his quirky delivery and infectious smile, and flamed out as a pitcher right after he was traded, has decided to retire.

        Willis"I think Dontrelle Willis was the reason why the Marlins won (the World Series) in 2003," said Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, who was the team's third base coach the season Willis came up from the minors as a rookie and made an instant splash. "Obviously it takes 25 guys to win the World Series. But I think this kid when he arrived to Miami, he took the pitching staff to the next level. For two or three months, he was unhittable. And then Beckett and those guys started to pick it up."

       Said Josh Johnson, who was on the '06 and '07 teams with Willis: "He loved playing the game, so it comes as kind of a shock. He was impressive, could throw any pitch at any time. He is always rooting for every guy. Never played favorites. He was always cheering for everybody, wanted everybody to do well, just a good -hearted person."

       When Willis and Miguel Cabrera left the Marlins in the controversial trade with the Tigers following the '07 season, he ranked as the franchise's all-time wins leader, a record that was eclipsed earlier this season by Ricky Nolasco. But he was never the pitcher with anyone else that he was with the Marlins. Willis lost his ability to throw strikes and never regained it.

       The Willis that Guillen remembered with the Marlins wasn't the same pitcher he saw on the mound for Detroit when he was managing the White Sox.

       "He was bad," Guillen said. "The few times he pitched against us, I thought he was hurt, and I called him to see what it was. He couldn't throw strikes and when you're not throwing strikes, you announce your retirement pretty quick. It's not just him. It's everybody. A lot of people say it was the mechanics. Well, he had the same mechanics all his life. He just couldn't find the plate."

       ____________________________

       Guillen said that Emilio Bonifacio, Edward Mujica and Juan Carlos Oviedo are all expected to begin rehab assignments later this week. Guillen said Bonifacio remains on schedule to rejoin the Marlins the first weekend after the All-Star break.

       _____________________________

       With the Home Run Derby less than a week away, Giancarlo Stanton got a feel for what it might be like when he took some practice cuts in early B.P. on Monday on Miller Park. The batting cage was rolled back (there is no shell for the Home Run Derby), and he departed from his customary practice of hitting to right by pulling most every pitch thrown to him by Joe Espada.

        Stanton hit a ball off the centerfield scoreboard, crushed three off the glass-enclosed restaurant on the second level, and launched one ball over the left field bleachers and clear out of the ballpark.

        "If I start trying too hard, it's going to be top-spin rollovers," Stanton said. "If I don't try to do too much, that's the only thing that's going to hurt me. But you've got to get a little bit of the feel. You just can't go the way I take B.P. and then change everything up for that day. So you've got to get a little practice when you do something like that."

       ____________________________

       The Marlins have a tough assignment tonight. Not only are they facing a team that's beaten them the last eight times they've met, but are facing Zack Greinke, who has ever lost (15-0) at Miller Park. Greinke is only the fourth pitcher since 1900 to win each of his first 15 home decisions with a team. The others: Johnny Allen (16 straight with the Yankees, 1932-33), LaMarr Hoyt (16 straight with the White Sox, 1980-82) and Kenny Rogers (15 straight with Oakland, 1998-99).

      ____________________________

       Lineups:

       Marlins: 1. Reyes, ss; 2. Ramirez, 3b; 3. Stanton, rf; 4. Morrison, lf; 5. Ruggiano, cf; 6. Dobbs, 1b; 7. Infante, 2b; 8. Buck, c; 9. Zambrano, p.

       Brewers: 1. Gomez, cf; 2. Morgan, rf; 3. Braun, lf; 4. Ramirez, 3b; 5. Hart, 1b; 6. Weeks, 2b; 7. Maldonado, c; 8. Izturis, ss; 9. Greinke.

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

Comments

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$$$$$$$

Dont feel too sorry for Dontrelle. He made over 40 million in his short career. Wonder how much he'll have left in 5 years. Best of luck to the D-Train

rc

the D-Train was fun and exciting to watch back when he was pitching at his best, and he was a good hitting pitcher too

best of luck to him

juan v

He was defenitly a fan favorite in florida I hope he retires a marlin and throws out a first pitch someday.

flagstafffishfan

Got to meet DTrain at a Canes game at The Orange Bowl. He was by himself and nobody noticed him. I struck up a conversation about his 2003 run and how much fun it was as a baseball fan to watch a player like him play the game. He was a gentleman and wouldn't accept my offer to buy him a beer...lol....He was FUN to watch. He played hard and enjoyed the game. He'll always be a Marlin. I think about the 03 team and look at this mess on the field tonight. I wish I could stick Ozzie back at 3rd base to coach cuz he isn't a Trader Jack.

laurelbowie

Preston Wilson saying tonight that Dontrelle, at 30, still has a chance to remake himself as a relief pitcher, and he seemed to think it was a very real possibility. I'm just reporting what Wilson said, so don't jump on me.

Alex

Another awesome Ozzie & Hanley production tonight! This game was a perfect microcosm of what this season is becoming: an exercise in ugly and stupid baseball. Ugly as in Hanley's error-fest. In the past week Hanley has made about 5 errors. He must want out of here which is great, because Marlins fans (the ones with any sense, anyway) want him gone. Yesterday he's "styling" after hitting his first HR in over 100 plate appearances and today he is busy airmailing the ball into the seats and blowing the game for Zambrano. Big Z deserved much better than this.

And if you want Stupid, this game gave us plenty of that as well. Reyes getting picked off first base again when the game started. He is a lackadaisical player who seemingly doesn't even care when makes a stupid play or an error. He laughs afterwards. All the little stupid plays and sloppy errors and dumb brain farts are proof of one thing: this team is poorly managed and poorly coached. This is Bad News Bears stuff, like Reyes forgetting he's supposed to cover 2nd base. All of that is on Ozzie's ticket.

But that's not all that Ozzie did tonight! That idiot had Zambrano pitch to a lefty pinch hitter with all those lefties in the bullpen. And 1st base was open too! But no, he lets Zambrano pitch to Ishikawa and that was the ball game right there. We all knew the Marlins would lose; we saw this movie before! But Ozzie wasn't finished! He let Webb pitch in the 8th when he had Cishek and LeBlanc and even the new improved Dunn, and Webb promptly put the final nail in our coffin. Way to Go Ozzie! Uh, sorry to be so "negative" but I got this thing about telling THE TRUTH, LOL!

Alex

As the season goes on I'm starting to see exactly why Chicago fans were laughing like crazy when we signed Ozzie - He's a MORON! Seriously, he's as bad as Fat Fredi. I'd take Edwin over Ozzie. Ozzie had to be forced to play Ruggiano; he didn't want to! He was happy just platooning the kid and keeping him on the bench, but Ruggiano forced him to play him.

Meanwhile I have been saying that Ruggiano should play every day for weeks; so have a bunch of us. But Ozzie knows better! Except he doesn't. He didn't start playing Ruggiano until he had NO CHOICE. He is proving to be a clueless clown, as bad as Fredi. Edwin was better than Ozzie!

Alex

Hey, I finally figured out why Loria hired Ozzie! He wanted to get someone even more stupid than himself! That way when Ozzie has everyone hating HIM, they will have no hate left over for Loria! Brilliant!

Flav C

flaggs - mess on the field is a very light term to describe it.
The upside: The offense did a good job, scoring 5 runs. Both Hanley and Reyes scored their runs when on base and Ruggiano had another amazing performance. It is kind of awkward to realize the best player of this team (along with Stanton) is not part of the off-season shopping spree; its a guy that neither the Rays nor the Astros wanted on their roster.

The downside: Defense was poor as poor can be. Hanley was a mess. While one third baseman single-handedly gave away the game, the other third baseman made two plays that guaranteed the win by the home-team.

Big Z with another gutsy effort but I wonder how much longer he can sustain all those walks. Tonight two of the batters he walked ended up scoring.

Also, I didn't understand Ozzie bringing Webb for a second inning of work.

I wonder how much longer the Marlins will continue to ride the "Hanley" wagon. He is no longer a slugger, therefore it is not recommendable to have him batting 3rd or 4th. His bat avg and his OBP are very low for a #2 batter. Hanley never was a good defensive player, but he used to compensate his errors and bad fielding with good at-bats. Not anymore. Hanley is not the kind of player he used to be and he won't be that player anymore. He isn't that exciting player, with speed, great at bats. Not anymore. He is not the player we can count on for clutch at-bats or game-changing moments. This is no longer his team. All the promises the Marlins made to "build a team around Hanley" were just promises. If they want to build a team around someone, it has to be around Giancarlo. And Hanley is not the type of force you want to have around.

Trade him. Trade him face value for Quentin and a minor league prospect. Move Solano to 3rd, or even Boni. Both player have some experience at 3rd and can't possibly be better or worse than Hanley.

Move Quentin to LF, move LoMo to 1B, Ruggiano as your everyday CF. Now you have a decent defensive team and a decent lineup: #1 Reyes, #2 LoMo, #3 Stanton, #4 Ruggiano, #5 Quentin, #6 Infante, #7 Boni, #8 Buck, and the pitcher.

I don't hate Hanley. I actually I have supported him all the time and took some heat for it. But it reaches a point where the team has to realize that no player is bigger than the organization.

laurelbowie

Too many times this year, we've watched in frustration as sub-.500 teams have taught the Marlins how baseball should be played. Tonight was particularly nasty because the Fish had a very good pitcher on the ropes and just disintegrated before our eyes.
I'm sure we were all stunned when Ozzie left a teetering Zambrano in to pitch to Ishikawa when he had a bullpen full of lefties. If anybody has a good explanation for that, I would definitely like to hear it.

Flav C

LB -- Ozzie will have a good $#@#$ explanation for this #$%@$# apparent hiccup.

laurelbowie

Flav C,
Perfectly said. Maybe by tomorrow I'll have the stomach to listen to his excuses, but not tonight.

flagstafffishfan

Agree with all the above posts. I love your idea Flav with trading Hanley and bringing in Quentin and a decent minor leaguer seems fair. Our defense would look much better in both the outfield and infield. Sad part is we have no idea if the Marlins are shopping him or not. I too don't hate Hanley but it's clear that it's time for a change and to part ways.

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