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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: