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36 posts from May 2013

May 21, 2013

Did Alex Sanabia spit on baseball?

     Did Alex Sanabia slobber all over the baseball last night after giving up a home run to the Phillies' Domonic Brown? Based on the video from the Phillies broadcast (click here to watch it), it sure looks like it.

     The video appears to show Sanabia spitting on the ball (about the 15 second mark on the video), then rubbing it with his hands after Brown's second-inning homer. Umpires obviously didn't notice it. Otherwise, they likely would have asked for the ball and warned the pitcher -- at the minimum.


     (Here's the applicable rule: 8.02 (a) (2) The pitcher shall not expectorate on the ball, either hand or glove.)

     According to MLB, the rule "gives the umpire the discretion to either eject the pitcher immediately if he thinks he is attempting to alter the characteristics of a pitched ball or warn the pitcher against doing this if he does not see any intent to do anything sinister with the baseball."

     According to a source I spoke with, crew chief and first base umpire Joe West was apparently alert to Sanabia and eyeballing him with extra scrutiny throughout Monday's game.

     "He was staring holes through him," the source said of West.

     The source said that, at one point in the sixth inning, West became suspicious and ordered Sanabia to throw out a ball he was holding. Sanabia obliged and tossed it into the Marlins dugout before being given a replacement.

     While Sanabia ended a five-game losing streak with the victory, it wasn't like his pitches were dancing and weaving all over the place, fooling the Phillies hitters. He struck out only two batters of the remaining 15 he retired.

     Since Sanabia's alleged spitting episode went undetected by the media, he wasn't asked about it after the game. You can bet he'll be asked to talk about it when the clubhouse opens this afternoon.

May 20, 2013

Redmond: Steve Cishek to share closer's role for now

      Chad Qualls -- not Steve Cishek -- would have taken over in the ninth inning Monday even if it had been a save situation, and manager Mike Redmond acknowledged afterward that the role will be shared, at least for now.

       "We're going to use everybody," Redmond said.

       Redmond made it clear that Cishek hasn't lost the job entirely. But he also indicated that he also plans on using Qualls and Mike Dunn in the ninth. Dunn closed out Sunday's win when Cishek faltered in the ninth.

        "We're going to use Cishek," Redmond said. "He's still going to close games. Quallsy might close some games. Dunn might close some games. They're all going to contribute."

        Cishek has been struggling in the role this season, and his lack of success against left-handed hitters has been pronounced. Redmond said he believes part of the problem is that, due to a lack of save chances, Cishek just hasn't been able to pitch enough and develop a rhythm.

         "We haven't had that many save opportunities and we need those guys to pitch," Redmond said. "We need Cishek to go down there and log some innings."

         Redmond also said that Qualls was going to pitch Monday no matter what because he hadn't pitched in five days and needed work. He was warming up when the Marlins were hitting in the eighth with a 2-1 lead.

Marlins place Matt Diaz on DL, call up OF Jordan Brown

      The Marlins have placed Matt Diaz on the disabled list with a bruised left knee and called up outfielder Jordan Brown from Triple A New Orleans to take his spot on the roster.

      Diaz hasn't played a whole lot since receiving his call-up, going just 3 for 18 overall. But Diaz was 2 for 7 with a RBI as a pinnch-hitter.

      Brown, 29, appeared briefly in the majors with Cleveland in 2010, hitting .230. With New Orleans this season, he was hitting .261 with one home run in 119 at bats.

      In other news, the Triple A Zephyrs activated third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, who had been on the DL.

May 18, 2013

Marlins lose first 9-inning MLB game in 50 years decided on 1st pitch HR

       Leave it to the Marlins to find a new -- and very rare -- way to lose. They dropped a 1-0 decision to Arizona on Saturday on Gerardo Parra's home run off Tom Koehler on the very first pitch of the game.

       That doesn't happen often.

       Heck, according to Stats LLC, it hasn't happened in any MLB game since 1993 and, wouldn't you know it, the Marlins were involved in that one, too. The Marlins are "celebrating" their 20th anniversary season this year, so why not replay the memories?

      In September of the Marlins' inaugural season, Pittsburgh's Carlos Garcia went yard on Chris Hammond's first pitch at Joe Robbie Stadium, and the 1-0 score held up.

       But there was just one tiny extra detail to that particular game. It was called after six innings due to rain.

        PeteroseThe last 9-inning game to result in a 1-0 score in which the only run came on a first-pitch homer? Stats LLC's records for that particular stat only go back to 1988 and, according to their information, Saturday's game was the ONLY such 9-inning game decided that way over the past 25 years.

      [11:59 p.m. update: ESPN is reporting that, according to Elias Sports Bureau, the last time a 1-0, 9-inning game was decided on a home run hit on the first pitch of the game was 1963. Rookie Pete Rose of the Reds hit the homer off Jay Hook of the New York Mets]. Hook

       "At least I made history," Koehler said self-mockingly.

      Needless to say, Koehler wasn't happy with the first ball to leave his hands, a middle-of-the-plate fastball to Parra, a notorious first-pich swinger.

      "He's a 40-percent first-pitch swinger, which is pretty high, even for a leadoff hitter," Koehler said. "I was trying to throw a first-pitch strike, but I don't think you could put it on a tee any better. He swings first pitch and he got exactly what he was looking for and took care of it. It turned out to be the deciding run of the game."

May 17, 2013

Jon Rauch sent packing; Marlins call up Duane Below

      The Marlins designated reliever Jon Rauch for assignment following Friday's loss and called up left-handed pitcher Duane Below from Triple A New Orleans.

       Rauch entered Friday's game in the eighth inning, but  failed to retire any of the four batters he faced in the ninth before being taken out for Ryan Webb. In 15 appearances for the Marlins, Rauch went 1-2 with a 7.56 ERA. Rauch was charged with two runs in the 9-2 loss.

       Below, a left-hander, was claimed not long ago by the Marlins from the Detroit Tigers, where he spent parts of two seasons, going 2-3 with a 4.06 ERA in 41 appearances, including three starts.

       Below had been starting at New Orleans, where he was 2-2 with 3.38 ERA in four starts.

May 15, 2013

11 hits + 0 runs = New Marlins Record

      The Marlins hit another new low, collecting 11 hits yet failing to score in their 4-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Never before in Marlins history has that happened. In fact, the previous team record for most hits in a game without a run being scored was nine.

1 2013-05-15 MIA CIN L 0-4 39 36 0 11
2 2008-04-12 FLA HOU L 0-5 41 35 0 9
3 2007-06-03 FLA MIL L 0-3 37 36 0 9
4 2002-09-06 FLA PIT L 0-11 34 31 0 9

     The last time any major league team had exactly 11 hits but came up empty was on July 17, 2010, when Washington had 11 hits in a shutout loss to the.....Marlins. Those were the days, my friend. The big-league record for most hits without managing to score: 15 by the 1918 Boston Braves, according to records kept by baseballreference.com

      In addition to the 11 hits, the Marlins also had three other batters reach, two on walks and another on a hit batsman. But they left 12 on base by going 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

Lineup is a Ditto for First Time

      Maybe it's the new digitial display board inside the Marlins clubhouse. Maybe manager Mike Redmond and his staff haven't yet figured out how to play with the lineup using the device, which is hung from a wall just inside the clubhouse door, the same spot where the handwritten lineup card was traditionally displayed for players to see.

      Or maybe Redmond just became tired of changing it night after night, game after game. Tonight, for the first time all season, the Marlins will roll out the same lineup that was used the previous game.

      "I sit in there everyday for an hour and try to figure out what I'm going to do," Redmond said. "A lot of it's been the same guys. It's just been different (lineup) positions. I've tried to mix guys around, tried to get them going, and it hasn't really mattered. I think at this point we just go with guys we think fit the best and just let 'er rip. Tomorrow it could be totally different."

      In fact, Redmond said Thursday's lineup would be different. Catcher Jeff Mathis, just back from the disabled list, will receive his first start behind the plate. But for one day, anyway, the lineup was the same as the one before it, with rookies Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna batting third and fourth, respectively.

      The Marlins trotted out a major league leading 38 different lineups in their first 39 games.

      Tonight's lineups:

      Marlins: 1. Pierre, lf; 2. Polanco, 3b; 3. Dietrich, 2b; 4. Ozuna, rf; 5. Ruggiano, cf; 6. Dobbs, 1b; 7. Hechavarria, ss; 8. Brantly, c; 9. Sanabia, p.

      Reds: 1. Choo, cf; 2. Izturis, ss; 3. Votto, 1b; 4. Phillips, 2b; 5. Bruce, rf; 6. Paul, lf; 7. Hannahan, 3b; 8. Mesoraco, c; 9. Leake, p.

      Umpires: HP -- Tichenor; 1B -- Scott; 2B -- Miller; 3B -- Bucknor.


      Redmond said Logan Morrison (right knee) will likely play a couple of more games at extended spring before heading out on a minor-league rehab assignment next week. Morrison has started playing some first base up in Jupiter.


      No major developments with Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) who played a little catch on Wednesday but hasn't started jogging yet.

      "I'm sure I'll be able to hit way sooner than I'll be able to run," Stanton said.

      Stanton said he doubts he'll miss as much time with his hamstring injury as first baseman Casey Kotchman has so far with his. Kotchman has been out since the second game of the season but should start his minor-league rehab assignment within the coming week.


      Christian Yelich went 3 for 6 with a pair of homers and a double on Wednesday for Double A Jacksonville.


May 14, 2013

Mathis abandons La-Z-Boy, rejoins Marlins

Being a catcher, Jeff Mathis is used to pain. He's had his face and wrists broken over the course of his catching career. But nothing quite prepared Mathis for the pain he experienced after having his collarbone broken by a Matt Holliday foul ball on the second day of spring training.

"There was a week and a half where I couldn't get out of the recliner because of the pain," the 30-year-old Mathis said. "I made my way to the field for maybe 30 or 45 minutes a day. But then it was straight back to the recliner because any movement, like moving my left hand, hurt."

MathisAfter nearly three months of healing and getting back into baseball shape, Mathis is out of the recliner and back in the fold for the Marlins, who brought him off the disabled list on Tuesday before opening a 3-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.

"Hopefully it's the start of guys coming off the DL and good things to come down the road," said manager Mike Redmond. "That was a big blow to lose him the first game of spring training. He would have been back there catching a lot to this point had he not got hurt."

The injury to Mathis, which occurred in the third inning of the first spring training game on Feb. 23, was the start of an injury avalanche for the Marlins. They now have 10 players on the DL, but a few are inching closer to returning. First baseman Casey Kotchman, for example, was fielding ground balls during batting practice Tuesday and testing his injured hamstring in running drills. He'll likely begin playing minor-league rehab games in the coming days.

With a career .198 average in the majors, Mathis has relied on his defensive and pitch-calling ability to keep him in the majors for nine seasons with the Angels, Blue Jays and now the Marlins. He came over in the trade with Toronto to offset the loss of John Buck, who was among the five players the Marlins sent to the Blue Jays.

Adding Mathis now gives the Marlins three catchers on the roster. Rob Brantly was behind the plate Tuesday and Redmond said Mathis would likely start at least one of the three games in the series with the Reds.

"(Miguel) Olivo we can use off the bench," Redmond said. "Without (Austin) Kearns being here, it gives us a right-handed bat off the bench."


Even though they are not obligated to pay Kearns while he is on the restricted list, the Marlins are doing so anyway, according to sources. Kearns left the team to attend to family medical issues in Kentucky. Kearns is making $700,000 this season.


Derek Dietrich and Marcell Ozuna, who figured to be playing at Double A Jacksonville at this point, instead found themselves in the middle of tonight's lineup for the Marlins, with Dietrich batting third and Ozuna in the clean-up spot.

"We've used many combinations this year," Redmond said. "But we're looking for guys to produce, and it seems like all these different combinations we've used seem to produce about the same thing. So we'll go with a couple of young guys in the middle of the order that I know will go up there and swing the bat, and we'll see what happens. I'm not scared. I have confidence in them."


The cooling system that moved through South Florida last night means the roof and outfield glass panels will be open tonight.


The lineups:

Marlins: 1. Pierre, lf; 2. Polanco, 3b; 3. Dietrich, 2b; 4. Ozuna, rf; 5. Ruggiano, cf; 6. Dobbs, 1b; 7. Hechavarria, ss; 8. Brantly, c; 9. Nolasco, p.

Reds: 1. Choo, cf; 2. Cozart, ss; 3. Votto, 1b; 4. Phillips, 2b; 5. Paul, lf; 6. Frazier, 3b; 7. Lutz, rf; 8. Hannigan, c; 9. Bailey, p.

Umpires: HP -- Bucknor; 1B -- Tichenor; 2B -- Scott; 3B -- Miller.

May 12, 2013

Skipworth sent back down Triple A New Orleans in anticipation of Mathis' arrival Tuesday

LOS ANGELES -- Barring a freak injury or step back on Monday, catcher Jeff Mathis will probably make his Marlins debut Tuesday when the team returns back to Miami to open a nine-game homestand against the Reds.

As expected, sent former first round pick Kyle Skipworth back down to Triple A New Orleans after Sunday's game to make room for Mathis, who was acquired in the big Blue Jays trade in the off-season.

Mathis has been red-hot in the minors. He homered Sunday in his first game for New Orleans. Before that, he was 7-for-25 (.280) with a homer and 10 RBI in seven games between Single A Jupiter and Double A Jacksonville. 

> After Sunday's loss, which dropped the Marlins to 11-27, a lot of talk in the clubhouse was about Marcell Ozuna's rocket throw to get the speedy Carl Crawford out at third base in the first inning. 

"It was a great throw. We're talking Vladimir Guerrero type arm," manager Mike Redmond said. "I think Carl was surprised he got to that ball and got that throw off that quick."

Justin Ruggiano said he's been impressed with Ozuna. In the 12 games he's played with the Marlins he has three outfield assists and might have had a couple more if not for being a tad late on a pair of bullet throws in San Diego.

"I think our outfield has been playing well all year," Ruggiano said. "Ozuna stepping in and doing what he's doing right now offensively and defensively is a great plus. He's got a great arm and plays his spot very well. It's nice when you have one unit out there working together and covering the ground that we're covering. It makes for a good outfield and a good defense. We need that for our team to be successful."

> Ruggiano's solo home run to left Sunday extended his team lead. He has seven home runs this season -- all of them have come on the road. He came in tied with Chase Utley for fifth in the National League in total bases on the road with 39.

Mother's Day lineups - Marlins at Dodgers

LOS ANGELES -- Happy Mother's Day.

There is pink everywhere on the field today -- including the ball, first time that's happened in baseball. Aside from the stitching, there’s a small MLB logo in the middle of a pink ribbon, which is the international symbol of breast cancer awareness.


> Marlins (11-26): 1. Juan Pierre LF, 2. Placido Polanco 3B, 3. Justin Ruggiano CF, 4. Marcell Ozuna RF, 5. Miguel Olivo C, 6. Nick Green 1B, 7. Derek Dietrich 2B, 8. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 9. Tom Koehler RHP.

> Dodgers (14-21): 1. Carl Crawford LF, 2. Dee Gordon SS, 3. Matt Kemp CF, 4. Andre Ethier RF, 5. Scott Van Slyke 1B, 6. Skip Schumaker 2B, 7. Tim Federowicz C, 8. Nick Punto 3B, 9. Chris Capuano LHP.