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2 posts from May 7, 2013

May 07, 2013

Green happy to be back; Hechavarria moves into leadoff spot for a night

SAN DIEGO -- Nick Green knows life as a utility infielder can be wacky, filled with trips up and down from the minors and to the free agency wire.

So what he endured this past week -- getting designated for assignment last Thursday because shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was returning from the disabled list, clearing waivers, and then returning to the Marlins Tuesday because second baseman Donovan Solano was heading to the DL -- wasn't anything he hasn't seen before.

"I had something similar happen to me when I was in New York [back in 2006]," Green recalled Tuesday in the Marlins clubhouse. "First [Derek] Jeter was hurt and I was up for a week. A few days later [Miguel] Cairo got hurt. When he came back -- literally the same day -- [Robinson] Cano got hurt. So I ended up staying up. It wasn't that the whole team was going down, but my position was. So it helped me stay up with the team. That's as much as I've seen as far as that."

What has caught Green by surprise is how many players the Marlins have sent to the 60-day disabled list. Tuesday it was right-hander Henderson Alvarez who was shipped there to make room on the 40-man roster after he recently took a step back with his rehab from shoulder tightness. Manager Mike Redmond said it's unlikely Henderson would have been ready anyway by the All-Star Break.

"It's really crazy to see how many guys are on the DL," Green said. "What we have [five] guys on the 60-day [and another five on the 15]? When all those guys come back it's going to be interesting [to see what happens]."

Green said what was unusual about being sent designated this time was that he actually was hitting pretty well (.321, 1 HR, 3 RBI in 8 games).

"Most of the times I've been sent down before I haven't done real well so you always understand that," he said. "I guess it was more of a numbers game than anything else [this time]. I can't complain about it. You can be disappointed, but I'm not going to bitch to anybody it."


Hechavarria, whose diving grab Monday ranked sixth in the ESPN Top 10 SportsCenter plays of the day, will be batting leadoff Tuesday night for the first time in his big league career as Redmond gives Juan Pierre a night off against Padres left-hander Eric Stults.

Hechavarria, who is hitting .235 with a double, two triples and a home run since his return from the DL, said he hit lead-off plenty of times in his minor league career and back home in Cuba. So it isn't a big deal to him.

"He's been swinging the bat well. I've liked his at-bats," Redmond said. "We talked in spring training about him being a top of the order guy. It's a great situation. JP has the night off. Let's get [Hechavarria] out there at the top of the order. One thing hitting him eight -- we don't really get to see his speed. And he can really run. Hopefully he'll get on base tonight, run around and have some fun."

> Redmond said his plan is to give catcher Rob Brantly a couple days off to rest his sliced right index finger, which hasn't been healing right. Brantly likely won't start again until Friday, but will be available for pinch-hitting Redmond said.

"It's still been pretty tender," Redmond said."I can tell on his throws. I want to get that thing healed up."

> Expect third baseman Placido Polanco to get the day off Wednesday. Playing short-handed of late Redmond said he's been meaning to get Polanco a day off but just hasn't been able to.


> Marlins (10-23): 1. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 2. Matt Diaz LF, 3. Placido Polanco 3B, 4. Justin Ruggiano CF, 5. Marcell Ozuna RF, 6. Greg Dobbs 1B, 7. Miguel Olivo C, 8. Chris Valaika 2B, 9. Alex Sanabia RHP.

> Padres (14-18): 1. Everth Cabrera SS, 2. Chris Denorfia LF, 3. Chase Headley 3B, 4. Yonder Alonso 1B, 5. Jedd Gyorko 2B, 6. Will Venable RF, 7. Nick Hundley C, 8. Alexi Amarista CF, 9. Eric Stults LHP.

Pierre turning things around at the plate and on the base paths, tied for MLB-lead in steals

He may be 35 years old, but the way Juan Pierre has been playing lately it looks like he may have turned back the clock a little.

After opening the season with just three steals in four attempts over his first 18 games, Pierre has turned on the jets, going 9-for-9 in thefts and propelling himself into a tie for the Major League lead with Jacoby Ellsbury over his last dozen games.

Pierre’s hot streak on the base paths has coincided with a hot streak at the plate. After batting just .194 (14 for 72) with a .227 on-base percentage through April 23rd, he's is batting .310 (13 for 42) with a .383 on-base percentage of his last 12 games. The work at the plate has helped raise his season average to .237.

Pierre has also cut down on strikeouts lately. He's whiffed just once over his last dozen games after fanning 11 times in his first 18 games.

> As expected, the Marlins announced today that second baseman Donovan Solano has been placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to Monday) with a strained left intercostal. The team selected the contract of veteran infielder Nick Green, 34, from Triple-A New Orleans to replace Solano.

To make room for Green on the 40-man roster, pitcher Henderson Alvarez has been transferred to the 60-day DL. Green had been designated for assignment by the Marlins on May 2 and outrighted to New Orleans on Sunday after clearing waivers. Alvarez, who recently had a setback in his return from shoulder issues, has begun throwing again Mike Redmond said Monday. 


Tuesday night's start for Marlins right-hander Alex Sanabia will be a special one. Sanabia grew up about 15 minutes south of Petco Park and said he's collected about 31 tickets for family and friends to come watch him pitch. 

"My last game here I was in high school," Sanabia said. "We sat in the Western Metal Supply Company [seats in left field] with my high school girlfriend and her parents. In my head I was going I'm going to pitch here one day. Freaking seven years later it's a dream come true. I'm getting goose bumps just saying it."

Sanabia has stayed in the Marlins' team hotel, but has made sure to head home for meals since the team has been in town.

"I went over to my mom's to have breakfast [Monday]," Sanabia said. "Can't miss the home cooking. She made Chilaquiles. It's a deep-fried tortilla with tomato sauce, cheese and sour cream. I'm coming back Tuesday. Got to take advantage."

Sanabia said he began calculating whether or not he would make a start in his hometown about three to four games into the season. A Mariners fan growing up, Sanabia said he never really rooted for the Padres. He bought a No. 28 Sanabia jersey for his mom, nephew and friend who will be at Tuesday's game and expects to have a large cheering section on his side.

"When I came here with the Marlins in 2010 I didn't think it was three years before I would be back," Sanabia said. "I pitched at Dodger Stadium since then, had my parents, brother and friends there. But it's not going to compare to tomorrow. I'm even a little nervous, but not too much."

> By going hitless with runners in scoring position in Monday's 5-0 loss to the Padres, the Marlins have now gone without a hit with runners in scoring position 11 times this season. That's a third of their games. They are hitting .222 as a team with runners in scoring position -- 24th out of 30 MLB teams.

> The two errors Monday were the fifth and sixth of the road trip and moved the Marlins past the Washington Nationals and into a tie with the Cubs for the most errors in baseball at 27 this season.