Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria denied a Yahoo! report Friday he personally mandated the lineup card change that flip-flopped starting pitchers Jose Fernandez and Ricky Nolasco before a doubleheader Tuesday in chilly Minnesota and did not sit well with the clubhouse.
“I had nothing to do with the decision,” Loria told FOXSports.com on Friday. “I was informed of the decision by the baseball department. I told them it was their call.
“I don’t make decisions on who to pitch and when, how to go about it — that’s not my role. Sometimes they call me and tell me what they’re doing. But I don’t call them up and say, ‘This is what is going to happen.’ That’s not true.”
Loria told FoxSports he was discussing his primary business -- art -- at the time he received a call about the pitching changes from general manager Michael Hill. “I was engaged in discussions in the world about pictures, as in paintings, not pitchers, guys who can or can’t paint the strike zone,” he said.
Citing three unnamed sources, Yahoo! reported Loria insisted Fernandez, the team's prized 20-year-old rookie, pitch in the first half of the doubleheader at frigid Target Field instead of the scheduled Nolasco because the day game was expected to be warmer. The temperature at Fernandez's first pitch (38 degrees) was actually colder than at the beginning of Nolasco's start (42 degrees).
For doubleheaders, it is normal protocol to allow the pitcher with the most seniority to have his choice of games. Nolasco is the team's all-time wins leader and its opening day starter. Fernandez had made only three big-league starts going in to Tuesday.
Nolasco's agent Matt Sosnick told The Miami Herald Thursday: “I know it wasn’t the manager’s decision, and [front-office executives] Larry Beinfest and Mike Hill have too much integrity to make that type of call. Whoever made the choice would have to have so little social and emotional awareness that would totally have a lack of understanding of how it would affect Ricky and the manager.”
Marlins manager Mike Redmond, who was reportedly embarrassed by the decision made above his head, was asked about the new reports on Friday.
"We were all on the call," Redmond said. "It was an organizational decision. I'll leave it at that."