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28 posts from August 2013

August 31, 2013

Mike Redmond wears Waffle House love on his chest

ATLANTA -- The last time the Marlins were in Atlanta, manager Mike Redmond was dissing the Waffle House restaurant chain. On Saturday, he was wearing a Waffle House T-shirt -- courtesy of the company's president and CEO -- to make amends for his comments.

"I figured I'd show them a little love," said Redmond, who wore the gray T-shirt in the dugout during his pre-game chat with media. "I was a little critical of them. I wanted to show them I'm giving them another chance."

A Waffle House had just opened inside Turner Field when the Marlins were in Atlanta back in early July.

"I heard about the Waffle House," Redmond said at the time. "I think that's crazy. Have you ever been to a Waffle House? Wow. I can't believe it's in the ballpark."

Redmond added that he had eaten at Waffle House "a couple of times and it didn't treat me well."

After receiving a "care package" containing a couple of T-shirts and caps from the company big-wigs, Redmond was singing a different tune on Saturday.

"We're moving on," Redmond said.



As expected, the Marlins are pushing back Jose Fernandez's next start by a couple of days so that he'll make at least one more appearance in Miami, if not two.

The Marlins are expected to call up several players over the next few days and one of them -- a yet-to-be announced pitcher -- will make Wednesday's start at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

Fernandez is 12 innings shy of his 170-inning limit. Redmond said Fernandez will not be permitted to go beyond 170 innings. But he could make two more starts. If he goes six innings in his Sept. 5 outing against the Nationals at Marlins Park, he'll likely receive one last start on Sept. 11 against the Braves.


Teams will be allowed to expand their rosters on Sunday, and Chris Coghlan will be the first to join the Marlins. Coghlan is on rehab assignment at Triple A New Orleans.

Redmond said two more players will join the club on Monday when it opens a series in Chicago, and "a few more" will be added later on.


August 30, 2013

Jose Fernandez receives scolding for head-first slide

ATLANTA -- Remember how Dontrelle Willis used to slide head first and how upset it made his Marlins managers? After Jose Fernandez did the same thing Friday at Turner Field, manager Mike Redmond told the rookie pitcher not to do it again. [Here's the link to the video.]

Fernandez legged out a triple in the third inning in which he slid head-first into third base and scored the Marlins' only run in a 2-1 loss to the Braves. While Redmond applauded Fernandez's grit and determination, which was on full display against the Braves, he wasn't happy about the pitcher's sliding technique.

"I wouldn't haven't been disappointed if he stopped at second," Redmond said. "And I definitely wouldn't have been disappointed if he slid feet first instead of head first. I remember having a conversation with Dontrelle Willis, telling him 'Please, Dontrelle, don't ever do that again.' Dontrelle did it into home plate. Jose did it into third. And I hope we don't ever see that again."

Fernandez acknowleded his mistake.

"That's the way I play the game," Fernandez said. "I know it's not smart. I'll just try to learn from that. One play, that can end my career. It would be nice to grow up with this team and I would love to keep pitching, so that's something I can't let happen again. It's just the moment in the game."

Redmond said he admires the fire Fernandez brings to the game.

"I love the energy," Redmond said. "He brings a spark to our team when we need one. He's a special kid. He gives us everything he's got everytime he goes out there, and it's fun to watch."


Fernandez went six innings in what was a gritty performance, albeit a losing one. Afterward, he might have tipped his hand when he said he expected to face the Braves again when Atlanta visits South Florida on Sept. 9-12. If so, that would mean Fernandez will make two more starts, not one, before being shut down for the season.

Fernandez has now thrown 158 2/3 innings -- 12 innings shy of the 170-inning limit established for him by the team.


Fernandez provided more evidence of how he tries to make the game fun. Freddie Freeman homered off Fernandez in the first inning on a first-pitch change-up. When Freeman doubled off the wall in center his next at bat, the pitcher turned to him standing at second and smiled.

"I said 'How can I get you out?'" Fernandez said. "And he laughed."

When Freeman stepped to the plate in the sixth, Fernandez told him jokingly to "go back to the dugout." Fernandez struck out Freeman that time.


Fredi Gonzalez: 'Replay' umpire Frank Pulli was "ahead of his time"

ATLANTA -- Frank Pulli, the former major league umpire who stepped outside the rules by turning to instant replay to settle a disputed call in a memorable 1999 Marlins game at Pro Player Stadium, has died at the age of 78.

"You know what? He was ahead of his time," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez.

FrediThe date was May 31, 1999, and Gonzalez had been designated to manage the Marlins briefly in the absence of John Boles, who missed several days due to a neck injury. Never in his wildest imagination did Gonzalez think he would be thrust into one of the most controversial plays in baseball history.

It all started when Cliff Floyd's fly ball in the fifth inning against the Cardinals struck part of the teal scoreboard in left. Floyd pulled up at second with what was ruled initially to be a double. But the Marlins argued it should have been a home run and, at first, the umpires agreed and credited Floyd with a round-tripper. But Pulli finally decided to take matters into his own hands, examined the replay, and changed the call back to a double. Pulli

Gonzalez went to Pulli and said the Marlins were playing the game under protest.

"I remember a couple of things," Gonzalez recalled. "I remember me saying to pitching coach Rich) Dubee, 'I think I'm going to protest this game' and he said, 'I think you're on your own on that one.' And I remember the way Frank Pulli handled it when I lodged the protest. He was a gentleman. He said 'Sure, no problem. You can do that.'"

While the home run call was ultimately upheld, Pulli was admonished by the league office for overstepping the rules by turning to instant replay. Now, of course, replay is permitted on boundary calls like the one that created such an uproar 14 years ago.


The Marlins'  A.J. Ramos is tied with Cody Allen of the Indians for second-most strikeouts in the majors among rookie relievers. Trevor Rosenthal of the Cardinals leads the way with 87.

"I've thrown a lot of innings (68 2/3) so I've had ample opportunities to strike out people, and I guess I've taken full advantage of that," Ramos said.

Ramos is proudest of his consistency. He's been one of the Marlins' most dependable relievers.

"That's one of the main things, try to be consistent with what I do, try to be the same guy every time," he said.

Ramos can credit first baseman Logan Morrison for one of his whiffs. After Morrison bailed out on a foul ball for what would have been the third out in Washington on Wednesday when he heard a fan yell "I got it! I got it!," Ramos promptly whiffed the hitter, Ryan Zimmerman, on the next pitch.

"Sometimes when you're out there, you're like 'Catch it, please,' because you're struggling,'" Ramos said. "But that time I thought, 'If he misses it or it goes foul, that's fine.' I thought I could get him with the next pitch."


One day after being struck in the back by a line drive while stretching in foul territory during batting practice, Marlins reliever Ryan Webb said he was good to go and could pitch if needed. Webb had to be led off the field after being smoked in the back by a Nationals hitter during batting practice. Since he had been used in long relief the previous night, going 3 1/3 innings following a rain delay, he wouldn't have been available to pitch anyway on Thursday.


In case you missed it, the Marlins were eliminated from the N.L. East race on Thursday.

August 29, 2013

LoMo: "I got 'got' by a Nationals fan"

Logan Morrison is the main subject in a pair of videos from last night's game that have gone viral, one involving a crazy play at third when he was caught in a rundown and the other when he bailed out on a foul ball, which dropped to the ground untouched.

First, the foul ball: 

Morrison said he was the victim of a fan, who yelled out "I got it! I got it!" as he was moving into foul territory to make the catch. Given that rain delay and late hour combined to thin out the crowd, the fan's voice was loud and crystal clear.

"I got 'got' by a Nationals fan," Morrison said. "I heard, 'I got it! I got it! I got it!' The way the stands are right there, it sounds like they're right behind me. I didn't see who did it, and I didn't look either. It works about once in a million."

As for the play at third base in the sixth inning, Morrison said he felt he made the right decision when he became caught in a rundown and ended up sliding into third base at the same time as teammate Donovan Solano. While it looked comical and the product of a bonehead decision on someone's part, it really wasn't according to manager Mike Redmond

"The play was the right play," Redmond said.

Morrison was at third and Solano was at first with no outs when Adeiny Hechavarria grounded to Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Morrison, who was going on contact, hesitated a bit, then became caught in a rundown between third and home. Morrison said his job at that point was to remain in the rundown for as long as possible to enable Solano to reach third.

"There's no outs, so if you have the opportunity to sacrifice one out instead of two outs, that's what you do," Morrison said. "So I tried to stay in the rundown so we'd stay in the same situation with runners on first and third. I stayed in the rundown until he could get to third base. I feel that was the play."


Due to Wednesday's rain delay that forced the Marlins' bullpen to cover 6 1/3 innings, the Marlins called down to the minors for reinforcements. Arquimedes Caminero, who pitched one inning in Wednesday's 4-3 loss and gave up a game-tying home run to Jayson Werth, was optioned to Triple A New Orleans. In return, the Marlins called up right-hander Sam Dyson from New Orleans.

Dyson has been starting all season at both Double A Jacksonville and NOLA, but will be used in long relief with the Marlins. The Marlins claimed him off waivers in late January from the Toronto Blue Jays. The 25-year-old native of Tampa made his big-league debut last season with the Blue Jays, making two relief appearances and allowing three runs in a third of an inning at Yankee Stadium, bloating his ERA to 40.50.

"He gives us kind of the long man that we didn't have before," Redmond said.


Another day, another lineup for the Marlins. With left-hander Gio Gonzalez going for the Nationals, Morrison and Christian Yelich are sitting, Solano moves to the leadoff spot, and Justin Ruggiano is batting clean-up.

"We're just going to keep mixing and matching until we find one that works," Redmond said. "We've been trying since April 1."

Here's tonight's lineup: 1. Solano 4; 2. Ed Lucas 3; 3. Giancarlo Stanton 9; 4. Ruggiano 7; 5. Placido Polanco 5; 6. Hechavarria 6; 7. Jake Marisnick 8; 8. Jeff Mathis 2; Tom Koehler 1.


Redmond said that Henderson Alvarez, whose outing was cut short by Wednesday's rain delay after only 1 2/3 innings, might start before his next regular turn in the rotation.


-- The Marlins have now scored two runs or fewer in 63 of their 131 games.

-- The past 31 Marlins to reach base via a walk have failed to score. The team record is 40 straight fruitless walks, set during the 2003 season.

-- Stanton, who homered to center Wednesday, is now hitting .354 with 12 home runs for his career at Nationals Park. That's the most home runs there by any opposing player. The Phillies' Ryan Howard is next on the list with 11 home runs.

-- Ruggiano has gone 13 for 28 (.464) since ending his 0 for 42 drought.

-- Ryan Webb was in the wrong place at the wrong time Thursday as he was stretching in foul territory while the Nationals were taking batting practice. Webb was struck in the back by a line drive and appeared to be in considerable pain while being led inside to the training room. After working three innings in long relief Wednesday, Webb wasn't available Thursday.

August 28, 2013

Wasted walks; Yelich on Strasburg; Qualls critiques C.J. Wilson stumble; Lineup shuffle

WASHINGTON -- Just about every lineup manager Mike Redmond has tried this season has failed to produce. So why not another one?

"What do we have to lose?" Redmond said of the new lineup he'll throw at Stephen Strasburg tonight at Nationals Park, where the weather is overcast but -- for the moment at least -- rain-free.

Redmond is moving Christian Yelich into the three hole, with Justin Ruggiano taking over in the leadoff spot. Here's a look at the complete lineup: 1. Ruggiano 7; 2. Ed Lucas 5; 3. Yelich 7; 4. Giancarlo Stanton 9; Logan Morrison 3; Donovan Solano 4; Adeiny Hechavarria 6; Jeff Mathis 2; Henderson Alvarez 1.

"It's the same guys, just a little bit different order," Redmond said. "But sometimes that makes a difference. Sometimes it gives guys something else to focus on, a new spot in the order, and maybe this will be the ticket."


This stat is staggering. Of the last 30 Marlins hitters to reach via a walk, not one has succeeded in scoring. The last to walk and score was Yelich in the seventh inning on Aug. 19 -- eight games ago.

The trend continued Tuesday when three Marlins reached on walks and all failed to score.


Even though he's never faced Strasburg in the majors, Yelich has a history with the Nationals' flamethrower. Yelich faced him in 2011 when Strasburg was on a rehab assignment at Single A Hagerstown, working his way back from Tommy John surgery.

The result?

"I faced him in his first rehab start coming off Tommy John, in Low-A (Greensboro)," Yelich said. "I got like a 12-hopper that made it through the hole. It still counts, right? I don't really count that, because it was his first start coming off T.J. But it was fun. It was my first year in professional baseball. I was like 19. It was cool because it was Strasburg. It was kind of a cool day for all of us."


The Marlins and the rest of their N.L. East brethren will be taking on A.L. West foes in interleague play next season. The tentative schedule has the Marlins hitting the road to face Houston, Texas and the Los Angeles Angels while the Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners are expected to visit South Florida. Once again, the Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays will hook up for four games in interleague play.


Redmond said it's possible the Marlins could fit a Sept. 1 call-up into the rotation mix in order to enable Jose Fernandez to make his final start of the season at home. As it now stands, Fernandez would make his next start on Friday in Atlanta and his second -- and likely final start of the season -- in Chicago next week.

"We've thought about that, and we're still talking about that, and we'll probably have a better idea of exactly what we're going to do after his next start," Redmond said. "We'll see how that start goes, and that will kind of give us a little bit better plan of what's going to happen."


Chad Qualls now has company when it comes to pitchers who have tripped and fallen on the field this season. The Angels' C.J. Wilson added his name to the list Monday.

"I guess it's still a dubious honor to have the worst one of the year," Qualls said of his trip-and-fall at Marlins Park earlier in the season. "But those things do happen. I think he (Wilson) played it pretty good. Fortunately for me, I was done with my inning, whereas he was going out to the mount to continue to pitch, so he had to get over it really quick and get guys out."

Here's the video:

August 27, 2013

Matt Harvey injury doesn't alter Marlins' plans for Jose Fernandez

WASHINGTON -- Though he's not technically a rookie, Matt Harvey is the pitcher that is most often compared to Jose Fernandez -- a young talent with a bright future ahead of him. The Mets' Harvey and the Marlins' Fernandez were even on the All-Star team together in July.

And it's the reason why, when the news broke that Harvey has a torn ulnar collateral ligament that could result in Tommy John surgery and cause him to miss  the entire 2014 season, thoughts turned to Fernandez and the Marlins' plans to protect their best arm from a like fate.

This much is certain: the Marlins aren't changing their plans with regard to Fernandez in the aftermath of the Harvey injury. Fernandez will make two -- and perhaps three -- more starts before the Marlins shut him down for the season. The Marlins set a 170-inning limit on the 21-year-old pitcher and are sticking to it. He has already thrown 152 2/3 innings.

"The plan's still the same with that 170-inning mark, right around there," said manager Mike Redmond, adding that there's a better chance Fernandez will make two more starts, as opposed to three, before he is put in storage.

Harvey, unlike Fernandez, pitched collegiately and, at 24 years of age, is older than his counterpart on the Marlins. He totaled 169 1/3 innings last season and has thrown 178 1/3 this season before the injury landed him on the DL.

"Anytime a guy gets hurt you think about all that stuff, their innings limit, and how you use guys," Redmond said. "It's just such a tough thing to predict. I just feel when a guy's going to go, he's going to go. You can sit there and think about how you're best going to protect the player until you're blue in the face. Guys get hurt. It's unfortunate. But it's the way it goes."

Fernandez said he continues to feel "strong" but also understands the Marlins' logic.

Fernandez said he was saddened by the news about Harvey, his division rival and All-Star teammate.

"Stinks," Fernandez said. "He's one of the best pithcers in the game. "When a guy has talent like that -- pretty amazing what he does -- you hate hearing about something like that. For me, it's something that hurts baseball."


The Marlins have moved Chris Coghlan from Jupiter to Triple A New Orleans, where he'll continue to play third base, according to Redmond. The Marlins are expected to call up Coghlan when rosters expand on Sept. 1.


Heaney, Moran highlight Arizona Fall League roster

WASHINGTON -- Two of the Marlins' former first-round draft picks -- left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney and third baseman Colin Moran -- are among seven players from the organization that have been selected to play in the Arizona Fall League.

The others: pitchers Edgar Olmos, Colby Suggs and Nick Wittgren, infielder Derek Dietrich and outfielder Brent Keys.

Heaney, Olmos, Dietrich and Keys are currently at Double A Jacksonville.


Heaney: After dominating at Single A Jupiter, Heaney -- the Marlins' top draft pick in 2012 -- was promoted to Jacksonville. Overall this season, he is 9-3 with a 1.41 ERA.

Moran: The Marlins' top draft pick (6th overall) in June is starting to heat up at Single A Greensboro, where he is hitting .301 with four home runs.

Dietrich: Received a taste of the majors before his demotion in late July. Hitting .258 w/10 HR for Jax.

Keys: Enjoying a healthy and productive season, most of it at Jupiter. Recently promoted to Jax. Hitting .344 overall this season.

Olmos: Had a cup of coffee with the Marlins but has spent most of the season at Jacksonville, where he is 4-2 with a 2.55 ERA.

Wittgren: Spectacular numbers at Jupiter, where he has gone 2-1 with 25 saves and an 0.83 ERA in 48 appearances. Wittgren was a 9th-round pick in 2012 out of Purdue.

Suggs: Was the Marlins' third-round pick out of Arkansas in June. Currently pitching for Jupiter, where he has gone 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA in 12 relief appearances.


The Marlins have activated third baseman Placido Polanco from the 7-day concussion list.

August 26, 2013

Jose Fernandez NL Player of Week (Again); Marlins release 1B Casey Kotchman

WASHINGTON -- For the second time in four weeks, Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez has been named co-N.L. Player of the Week. He shares the award with Cubs starterJeff Samardzija.

Fernandez won both his starts last week, defeating both the Dodgers and Rockies and holding the two teams to only one earned run over 13 combined innings in which he struck out 16.


To say that the Marlins didn't get their money's worth out of veteran first baseman Casey Kotchman would be a gross understatement. Kotchman, who spent almost the entire season on the disabled list with a wide assortment of injuries, was recalled from his rehab assignment on Monday, activated from the DL, and released unceremoniously.

The Marlins signed Kotchman before the season for $700,000. It went downhill -- literally from day one -- from there. Kotchman cut his hand on a pop-up machine on the second day of spring training, pulled a hamstring the second game of the season, and returned to the DL with an oblique strain. He went 0 for 20 this season as a Marlin.

August 22, 2013

Arquimedes Euclides Caminero: A Mathematician's Kind of Ballplayer

ArchimedesFinally. A big-league baseball player mathematicians can call their own. Well, sort of.

Arquimedes Euclides Caminero, the Marlins' 26-year-old rookie reliever, is named for a couple of super-ancient Greek mathematicians: Archimedes and Euclid.


"My father saw the names in an algebra book and liked them," said Caminero, who has put up some good numbers so far with the Marlins after getting called up last week.

Caminero, a native of the Dominican Republic, has made three relief appearances, allowing only two hits while striking out three. Euclid

Caminero said he is the youngest of eight children. His father, who works in construction in the Dominican, flew to South Florida on Wednesday and saw his son pitch in the majors for the first time. Caminero didn't disappoint, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth for the Marlins while striking out the Dodgers' Juan Uribe and Carl Crawford.

Caminero said friends and family back in the Dominican call him "Kiko" while his baseball teammates shorten his last name, as they so often do, and call him "Cami."

But he prefers Arquimedes, even though it takes a bit of practice to pronounce.

"I like my name," he said.

For you budding scholars out there, Euclid is known as the "Father of Geometry" while Archimedes devised a formula ("Archimedes' Principle") that determines the volume of an irregular shaped object using water displacement.

As for me, the only thing I remember from Ms. Lewis' 8th-grade algebra class was a squared + b squared = c squared.

Or maybe that was Mrs. Harmon's high-school geometry class...


August 21, 2013

Lucas on bunting; Jennings on the Puig pitch; Hill on Hechavarria's recent rash of errors & more

Ed Lucas was not at all happy over his failure to come through with a sacrifice bunt in Tuesday's seventh inning with runners at first and second and no outs in what was then a tie game. Lucas not only failed in two attempts to drop down the bunt, but grounded into a double play when he was forced to swing away with two strikes. Lucas was a perfect 4 for 4 with the Marlins on sac bunt attempts before that, and even better -- "99 out of 99," he said -- when you include the minors.

"That's the first one I think I haven't gotten down in a really, really, really long time," he said. "I just got a little anxious, trying to make sure I hit it toward third base, instead of just relaxing. I kind of jabbed at it a little bit. There's really no excuse for that. That's something that makes it hurt all the worse because that's something that's pretty routine for me."

Had the Marlins scored that inning to take the lead, Mike Redmond said he would have brought in A.J. Ramos to pitch the eighth (Chad Qualls is dealing with a sore back and was unavailable.) Instead, the Marlins came up empty, Redmond stayed with Dan Jennings on the mound, and Yasiel Puig hit the lefty's first pitch of the eighth for a go-ahead home run. Which leads us to....


So what was Jenning's take on the pitch he threw to Puig, which hit the top of the wall in left and bounced over for the go-ahead blast?

"I threw him a pitch (fastball) that was down in the zone, and I still stand by the pitch. It was a good pitch," said Jennings, who had not given up a home run all season until Puig took him deep. "There aren't a ton of low-ball hitters in the game. He swings at first pitches. I understand that. But that being his first at bat of the day -- the first pitch he saw -- he was hacking at it. I've gone back over it. I've looked at it. It happens."

Jennings said that when the ball left Puig's bat "and the ballpark being what it is" it might have stayed in, either landing in Christian Yelich's glove for the out or bouncing off the wall for a double.

"I'm wiping my brow and say, 'Phew, I got away with one,'" Jennings said of a scenario that didn't happen.

Jennings was asked if it's "any easier to take when you're happy with the pitch?" The answer: an emphatic no.

"I think it's harder to take, to be honest," he said. "If you throw a bad pitch and they hit it, that's what they're supposed to do."


Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was charged with two errors Tuesday, bringing his season total to 13. But his defense of late has been especially poor, a sharp departure from earlier in the season when it seemed like he was making every play that came to him.

Hechavarria was charged with seven errors over his first 112 games. Over the past 12: a whopping six. So who is the real Hechavarria defensively?

"The guy we saw earlier," said Hechavarria's staunchest supporter, Marlins infield coach Perry Hill. "He's trying to make plays to get us out of jams. I mean, you don't want him to become passive and take away his aggressiveness. That's what makes him so good."


The Marlins' interest in Cuban defector Jose Daniel Abreu is "very real," according to one source. The question is whether the Marlins have the financial muscle to sign the slugging first baseman. Bidding for Abreu, who recently defected from Cuba and is now in Haiti, could be intense, and it might take upwards of $60-$80 million to land him.

Here's video on Abreu from the World Baseball Classic: