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36 posts from May 2013

May 05, 2013

Sunday Briefing: Marlins

   PHILADELPHIA -- As expected, the Marlins placed Austin Kearns on the bereavement list this morning one day after the reserve outfielder returned to Kentucky to attend to a family matter. The Marlins called up catcher Kyle Skipworth from Triple A New Orleans to fill his spot on the roster. Kearns can remain on the list for up to seven days.

   Besides Skipworth, the Marlins only had one other uninjured position player on their 40-man roster they could have chosen: outfielder Kyle Jensen.

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   Second baseman Donovan Solano could soon be headed to the disabled list if the soreness in his left side doesn't subisde by Monday. Solano, who was a late scratch from Saturday's lineup, said Sunday the injury was continuing to bother him.

   For the second straight game, Chris Valaika started at second. Valaika helped to preserve Saturday's combined 1-hitter by Jose Fernandez et al by making several difficult defensive stops.

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   Infielder Nick Green cleared waivers Sunday and was outrighted to Triple A New Orleans. Green was designated for assignment earlier in the week.

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   Manager Mike Redmond is 42 today.

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   Despite being a day game after a night game, catcher Miguel Olivo was back behind the plate Sunday because a cut on Rob Brantly's finger re-opened last night.

Miguel Olivo extends olive branch to the Phillie Phanatic

     PHILADELPHIA -- Fun-loving Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo, who has been tormenting the Phillie Phanatic for years, met the mascot without his costume during batting practice on Sunday, putting to rest years of good-natured 'acrimony' between the two.

     "You're the best," Olivo said after hugging the Phanatic, sans his outfit, in front of the Marlins dugout.

     Said the Phanatic: "Are you going to steal my keys today?"

     Olivo's favorite prank: stealing the keys to the Phanatic's ATV, sending the furry green mascot into an animated panic.

      2013-05-05 13.03.33"That's his gig," said Tom Burgoyne, the Phanatic's spokesman and 'best friend.' "He loves stealing the Phanatic's keys. He had the Phanatic kissing one of his teammates. In order to get the keys back, I had to kiss one of the teammates, and the Phanatic was disgusted by it. But he had to do it because the game was getting started and he had to get off the field."

     Olivo has tried all sort of tricks to swipe the Phantic's keys. While with the Colorado Rockies in 2010, Olivo put the Phanatic in a headlock and tried to remove the mascot's head while a teammate grabbed the keys and took off.

     Olivo said the Phanatic kept yelling, "Don't pull it off! Don't pull it off!"

     The hijinks continued this series when, with rookie pitcher Jose Fernandez lending a helping hand, Olivo managed to get the Phanatic's keys again on Friday. Before Saturday's game, Olivo stood on the top step of the Marlins dugout and waved for the Phanatic to come over. The Phanatic shook his head side to side and refused to leave his ATV before hopping aboard, revving the engine, and zooming off.

      "Every year I come here and mess with him," Olivo said. "That's why he not leave the (ATV)."

      Olivo said there's no better mascot in the majors.

      "Yesterday, when he danced the 'La Bamba,' I was in the dugout dying laughing," Olivo said. "My stomach hurt so hard I almost threw up. I just laugh like crazy. I've never seen a mascot make me laugh so much. He's number one."

       Burgoyne said Olivo is one of the Phanatic's biggest tormenters. Others have included Joe Carter and Tommy Lasorda.

       "The Phanatic, I think it's one of the things that sets him apart from some of the other mascots in that for all these years -- this is his 36th season -- that rapport with the players has been a big part of it," Burgoyne said.

       Burgoyne said Olivo isn't the first Marlin to give the Phanatic a hard time.

       "Chuckie Carr, he was a party waiting to happen," Burgoyne said of Carr, a member of the original 1993 Marlins. "He would come with the whipped cream. He pied the Phanatic on one occasion. Of course, Mark Kotsay is a guy who's been around the block. But when he was with the Marlins, the Phanatic stole one of his jerseys and put it on a dummy and did the whole thing. And Kotsay came out and ended up getting into it with the Phanatic right in the middle of the game, the fifth inning."

2013-05-05 12-1.26.18

May 04, 2013

Solano scratched; Kearns returns home

        PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins will be short two players tonight when they try to snap a three-game losing streak.

        Austin Kearns has returned home to Kentucky to attend to a family matter. Manager Mike Redmond said Kearns could miss the next few days and will likely be placed on the bereavement list on Sunday.

        In addition, second baseman Donovan Solano was scratched from the lineup due to tightness in his left side. With Juan Pierre sitting tonight due to the presence of Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, Chris Valaika will lead off and play second.

        Here's the Marlins' lineup:

        1. Valaika, 2b; 2. Polanco, 3b; 3. Ruggiano, cf; 4. Diaz lf; 5. Ozuna, rf; 6. Dobbs, 1b; 7. Olivo, c; 8. Hechavarria, ss; 9. Fernandez, p.

        On a side note, there are indications first baseman Logan Morrison could be out even longer than expected. Sources said he might not be ready to return until mid- to late-June.

May 02, 2013

Henderson Alvarez has "setback"; Marlins-killer Matt Diaz joins club

    PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins' mega-trade with Toronto is starting to look cursed -- for both teams. On the same day the Blue Jays placed Josh Johnson on the disabled list with arm problems, Marlins manager Mike Redmond said pitcher Henderson Alvarez suffered a "setback" in his recovery from right shoulder inflammation and has stopped throwing.

     "He was a little sore after his last outing and so they're just going to shut him down, give him a couple of extra days break, and then start him throwing again," Redmond said. "I assume they'll start long-tossing again, start the progression again."

      Of the seven players that the Marlins received in the trade, four -- Alvarez, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, catcher Jeff Mathis and outfielder Jake Marisnick -- have spent time on the disabled list. And Johnson joins shortstop Jose Reyes on the DL for Toronto.

      Hechavarria came off the DL on Thursday and was back in the lineup for the Marlins as they opened a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park against the Phillies. Redmond said Mathis (broken collarbone) was scheduled to play five innings in his first rehab game tonight with Single A Jupiter.

      In addition, injured pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (right shoulder inflammation) has just started throwing again, but is "still a ways off," Redmond said.

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      After punishing the Marlins for so long, Matt Diaz said it made sense to contact the club once he became a free agent and was looking for work. The Marlins selected Diaz on Thursday and added him to the roster.

      "That was one of the first calls we made because you know they think you're good because you have good numbers against them," Diaz said.

       Diaz has a career average of .360 against the Marlins while hitting about a fifth (10) of his 45 home runs against them, mostly when he was with Atlanta. He's also been a far better hitter against left-handed pitching (.324 with 31 HR against LHP versus .258 with 14 HR against RHP in about the same number of at bats).

        "The Marlins early in my career had two lefties, Dontrelle (Willis) and (Scott) Olsen, so I got to play most of the time (when they were pitching)," Diaz said.

        Diaz, who is from Lakeland and went to Florida State University, said his success against the Marlins reached a point where his wife was once denied entrance to the parking lot at Sun Life Stadium after being recognized by the attendant.

        "My wife tried to park at the old stadium and they said, 'Nope, we're not letting uyou in. He kills us,'" Diaz said. "They let her in ultimately."

        Diaz's natural position is left field, but has just recently begun seeing action at first base while with Triple A New Orleans. Redmond said he'll use Diaz primarily against left-handers.

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        LINEUPS:

        Marlins: 1. Juan Pierre, lf; 2. Donovan Solano, 2b; 3. Placido Polanco, 3b; 4. Greg Dobbs, 1b; 5. Justin Ruggiano, cf; 6. Rob Brantly, c; 7. Marcell Ozuna, rf; 8. Adeiny Hechavarria, ss; 9. Alex Sanabia, p.

        Phillies: 1. Jimmy Rollins, ss; 2. Chase Utley, 2b; 3. Michael Young, 3b; 4. Ryan Howard, 1b; 5. Delmon Young, rf; 6. Domonic Brown, lf; 7. John Mayberry Jr. cf; 8. Erik Kratz, c; 9. Kyle Kendrick, rhp.

        UMPIRES: HP -- Eric Cooper; 1B -- Paul Schrieber; 2B -- Chad Fairchild; 3B -- Jeff Kellogg.

May 01, 2013

Veteran Green expected to be designated for assignment when Marlins recall Hechavarria off disabled list

Assuming all goes well in his final minor league assignment, the Marlins will be getting their starting shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria back for the start of their 10-game road trip Thursday in Philadelphia and waving good-bye to 34-year old veteran Nick Green to make room.

Although the Marlins didn't make any formal roster move announcements after Wednesday afternoon's 7-6 loss to the Mets, Green said he was packing his stuff and preparing to head home.

Out of options, Green, who doubled twice Wednesday and raised his average to .321 (1 HR, 3 RBI) in the eight games he's played in for Miami this season, will be designated for assignment once Hechavarria is recalled. If he clears waivers, he can either accept a reassignment to the minors with the Marlins or try to sign with another team through free agency. It sounded Wednesday like Green was leaning toward the latter.

"It’s disappointing," Green said of potentially severing ties with the Marlins. "Everybody wants to be in the big leagues and you got to try to do the best you can when you get a chance. That’s all I could do."

Ozuna gets ball of first hit autographed by teammates, calls it 'first step in my big league career'

Marcell Ozuna isn't sure how long he's going to be up in the big leagues, but he's enjoyed the ride so far and he's going to try his best to make sure it doesn't end.

The 22-year old Dominican outfielder, brought up from Double A Jacksonville to help fill the shoes of the injured Giancarlo Stanton (expected to be out around a month with a hamstring), already has his first memento. It's the ball he collected his first big league hit on in Tuesday's win over the Mets. Ozuna pulled it out of his locker Wednesday morning and showed it to reporters. Everyone on the team had signed it for him.

"It's going to go on my wall at home," said Ozuna, who singled off Mets starter Jeremy Hefner in the fifth inning Tuesday. "It was a big moment."

Ozuna, who spent last season at Single A Jupiter (.266 with 24 home runs and 95 RBI) and was tearing it up in Double A Jacksonville since joining the Suns' lineup (.333 with 5 home runs and 15 RBI in 42 at bats), said he was a bit nervous in his first game, but added "now I feel like a big leaguer."

Ozuna said his parents and sister back home in the Dominican watched Tuesday's game at home. Ozuna said his father, sister and former little league manager are flying up to Philadelphia to see Ozuna play in person for the first time Thursday. He's requested six tickets in all for family and friends.

"My mom was real happy, she was crying. My sister too," he said. "They said 'Do you feel like a big leaguer now? I said 'I do.'"

Ozuna said he was surprised the Marlins called him up so quickly, especially with a few veterans who appeared ready at the Triple A level. He said at first he didn't believe it when Suns manager Andy Barkett called him at 1:10 a.m. Tuesday to break the news he was being called up.

"He said 'Open a beer. You're a celebrity. You got your call up,'" Ozuna said. "I said 'Really?' He said, 'Why else do you think I'm calling you at 1 a.m.?"

WEDNESDAY'S LINEUPS

> Mets (10-15): 1. Ruben Tejada SS, 2. Daniel Murphy 2B, 3. David Wright 3B, 4. John Buck C, 5. Lucas Duda LF, 6. Marlon Byrd RF, 7. Ike Davis 1B, 8. Juan Lagares CF, 9. Dillon Gee RHP.

> Marlins (8-19): 1. Juan Pierre LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Greg Dobbs 1B, 4. Justin Ruggiano CF, 5. Marcell Ozuna RF, 6. Chris Valaika 3B, 7. Miguel Olivo C, 8. Nick Green 2B, 9. Wade LeBlanc LHP.