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23 posts from September 2013

September 28, 2013

Donovan Solano OK after taking fastball to the head

Frightening moment in the 10th inning of tonight's 2-1 victory by the Marlins when Donovan Solano was struck in the back of the helmet with an Evan Reed fastball. But after walking off the field under his own power and receiving medical attention from the Marlins training staff and a physician, Solano said he was feeling fine and hoped to play in the season finale Sunday.

"I know it hit my head, but I feel normal," Solano said.

Reed is a former pitcher in the Marlins' farm system, obtained from Texas in the Jorge Cantu in 2010 and claimed off waivers in April by the Tigers. He was all over the place in Saturday's 10th inning. After issuing a one-out walk to Justin Ruggiano, he hit Solano with a 95-mph fastball and then walked Christian Yelich to load the bases for Giancarlo Stanton with one out.

Stanton, after watching Solano take a pitch to the noggin, said he pulled his helmet down around his head extra snug before stepping into the batter's box to face Reed.

"He was throwing heaters, so you knew you were going to get a heater," Stanton said. "He wasn't locating."

Stanton then delivered a game-winning single. It was the first walkoff victory for the Marlins since July 13, and it was Stanton's first walkoff hit this season.

September 26, 2013

Greg Dobbs returning to Marlins in 2014

In case you missed it, as reported by our own Barry Jackson....

The Marlins are re-signing infielder/pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs, who was due to become a free agent. He said a deal was struck between his agent and owner Jeffrey Loria. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports in a follow-up tweet, Dobbs will receive a salary of $1.7 million on the one-year extension that was agreed upon in June.

Dobbs, whose two-year, $3 million contract is expiring, is batting .229 this season but hit .275 and .285 in his previous two years with the Marlins.

Dobbs’ signing leaves Placido Polanco, pitcher Chad Qualls (who got the win Wednesday) and outfielders Juan Pierre and Austin Kearns as the Marlins’ free agents. Kearns has missed most of the season because of family health issues. Dobbs, catcher Jeff Mathis (due $1.5 million in 2014) and pitcher Jacob Turner ($1 million team option) are now under contract for next season, and everyone else is under team control for 2014.

The arbitration eligible Marlins are outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who could see his salary jump from $537,000 to between $6 million and $8 million, first baseman Logan Morrison, infielder/outfielder Chris Coghlan, outfielder Justin Ruggiano and pitchers Ryan Webb, Mike Dunn and Kevin Slowey.

• Jose Fernandez, who hasn’t pitched in two weeks because the Marlins imposed a pitch limit on him, admits he has been bored. Told Fernandez would be appearing for an inning on Fox Sports Florida’s broadcast Wednesday, Mike Redmond said: “That’s great. It’ll give him something to do.”

September 25, 2013

First Jose Fernandez. Now Carlos Gomez. Braves offended again.

If you thought Jose Fernandez hot-dogged his home run against the Braves, wait til you see how the Milwaukee Brewers' Carlos Gomez acted on his blast in Atlanta earlier tonight. Not sure what it is, but the Braves are turning into a magnet for this sort of thing.

Fernandez apologized after his episode with the Braves. Let's see if Gomez does the same.

(By the way, check out that crowd in Atlanta tonight. Did the Braves lose 100 games or something?)

September 24, 2013

Ozuna, Slowey will head into off-season healthy

Marlins manager Mike Redmond had good news to share before Tuesday's game: pitcher Kevin Slowey (right forearm tightness) and outfielder Marcell Ozuna (ligament tear and fracture in his left thumb) resumed baseball activities this week and will head into the off-season healthy.

"Slowey threw a bullpen today and said things went well," Redmond said. "He threw 25 pitches. So that's good news for him. Obviously he's not going to pitch this season, but for him personally his frame of mind going into the off-season knowing he's going to be healthy that's good for him.

"I didn't mention [Ozuna] yesterday, but he's been swinging the bat the last couple of days. He looks great, has himself in good shape. It looks like his hand is feeling good. He swung the bat good. It's just a timing thing. I think for him too going into the off-season knowing he's feeling good is definitely a good sign. Now he can prepare himself for spring training and get himself ready to compete and win a job."

Slowey, who turns 30 next May, is arbitration eligible this off-season. He went 3-6 with a 4.11 ERA and could be a solid option at long reliever. Ozuna, who turns 23 in November, will likely end up competing with Jake Marisnick to be Miami's third outfielder alongside Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton.

"Every time I show him the lineup card he reminds me he's not on that card," Redmond said of Ozuna. "I tell him 'You will be, don't worry.' He's a good kid, one of those that makes you smile. I know how hungry he is and I'm excited for spring training to see these guys come in and compete. I know there is going to be some great battles for positions and it should make for an interesting spring."

Beinfest tells 790TheTicket rumors about losing his job are grating on him

President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest, who reportedly could be on his way out after the season along with team President David Samson, told TheTicketMiami Tuesday morning the rumors about losing his job are getting to him.

"I think when you sign up for the job and your team doesn't play well you're open to scrutiny and your job status is in jeopardy," Beinfest said during his weekly appearance on the Hochman and Zaslow Show. "I think the tumultuous part and unsettling part is reading about it and living it everyday. You know I'm a person just like anybody else. I have a wife and kids and all that good stuff. It can definitely grate on you.

"But you have to try to take a step back and go with the old 'Worry about things you can control.' Do the best job you possibly can and continue to do so until the card reader doesn't let you in the building anymore. And that's exactly what's going on. In a perfect world would I want this to happen two years in a row? Absolutely not. Has it been fun for me? Nope. You just deal with it."

Beinfest, who has served under owner Jeffrey Loria for 13 years dating back to their days with the Montreal Expos, is under contract through the 2015 season. He was rumored to be on the hot seat last season, too, but ended up keeping his job. It was reported Beinfest went to Loria weeks ago to discuss his future with the organization, but was given no guarantees.

Multiple sources said that in making his decisions, Loria often heeds the advice and suggestions of others, everyone from player agents to assistant general manager Dan Jennings, without receiving any input from Beinfest and general manager Michael Hill. Jennings has long been one of Loria’s favorites, and there is rampant speculation he will take over in the front office in the event of a change in leadership. It was reported this week Jennings has already begun the process of looking for a staff to replace Beinfest and Hill.

"Boy if I listen to everybody and read the papers it sounds like I'm a goner," Beinfest said. "But that's what it sounded like a year ago. Again, it would be unfair for me to say I haven't given it a thought. But my expectation is that I've done a good job, there's a bright future here and that I'm going to be a part of it. If that's not the case then that's out of my hands.

Asked if he had gone to Loria for an assurance about his future, Beinfest said: "I'd like to keep everything internal. That's probably the most professional thing given the number of things that are out there externally. So I'll leave it at that. But it does grate on you everyday and you have to deal with it. But at the same time you have to do your job. I know I didn't answer the question but that's the way it goes.

"Am I disappointed? Absolutely. Nobody wants to read about their job status and possibly losing their livelihood. But that's the way it goes in a public business."

Asked if Loria has been involved in the process of running the team more lately than in the past, Beinfest answered: " I don't know that that's necessarily the case. I'll just say Jeffrey has always been involved. He made that very clear when he hired me 14 years ago when I was an assistant GM in Montreal. That he wanted to know what was going on and that he was going to be involved in the baseball operations.

"He has the keys to the car and if he wants to help drive it, that's just the way it goes. For me, he's always been involved. Again, a lot of things are out there. I'm not going to respond to them. And it's all sensitive stuff. Let's face it. I don't think has been pleasant for Jeffrey or for the organization the last couple of weeks, reading all these things. We have an attendance challenge building and a hundred loss team and there's a lot of things to worry about here and I'm not sure I'm necessarily at the top of the list."

For the complete interview visit TheTicketMiami.

September 21, 2013

Leyland calls Tigers end-of-season visit to Miami "point blank silly"; LoMo talks about what went wrong

WASHINGTON -- You'd figure the Tigers wouldn't have too much to complain about, given their high position in the standings. But Tigers manager Jim Leyland, ever the crusty one, lambasted the schedule-makers for having Detroit end its season in a National League ballpark, and Miami in particular. They'll be in town next weekend.

Check out the Detroit News story on what Leyland had to say by clicking here.

Leyland pulled few punches.

Leyland"I think it's totally unfair for an American League team to finish in a National League city for the last three games of a season," Leyland said. "I'm not trying to open a can of works, or upset the people who make out the schedule, but I think it's ridiculous to send an American League team. By (finishing in an NL city), you risk a pitcher getting hit by a pitch, pulling a muscle in batting practice or running the bases. It's silly, Point blank silly."

Leyland also bemoaned the fact he won't be able to use a designated hitter, Victor Martinez in the Tigers' case.


In case you missed it in the print edition, here's a note I had on Logan Morrison talking about his season:

 Logan Morrison cited several factors for what has been a mostly disappointing season: his continuing recovery from two knee operations in two years, inconsistent mechanics at the plate, inconsistent playing time, and the large dimensions at Marlins Park.

“I think, honestly, what it is is not playing for a long time and then coming back and trying to be consistent, and just not really knowing how to do that, forgetting how and trying to remember,” Morrison said.

Morrison, who missed the first two months of the season while working his way back from a second surgery to his right knee, has hit only .229 since the All-Star break and his six home runs are tied for the fewest among major league first basemen with at least 300 plate appearances. Morrison has hit only one home run all season at home -- albeit a tape-measure blast -- compared to five on the road.

“It’s definitely a factor,” Morrison said of the Marlins’ huge ballpark. “And that translates into the average not being there, too. You drive balls to the wall and they get caught. Not only is it not a homer, it’s not a hit.”

Morrison is not alone among Marlins players who would like to see the team bring the fences in.

“I think that would make it fair,” Morrison said. “But it’s not my decision.”

Morrison said he is looking forward to his first surgery-free offseason since 2010-11.

“I hope it makes all the difference,” Morrison said. “Actually being able to build strength in my legs instead of having to rehab and get my other leg as strong as my non-surgical leg, and having a nice relaxed offseason without adding scars would be good.”

He’ll also begin the salary arbitration process for the first time following the season, too.

September 19, 2013

Judge for yourself: Did Adeiny Hechavarria make play of the year for Marlins?

PHILADELPHIA -- You had to see it to believe it, to truly fathom it. When Adeiny Hechavarria went vertical to make his sensational leaping catch at Citizens Bank Park in Wednesday's sixth inning, I missed it. I had left my seat briefly and when I returned, I asked others to describe the play. None could do it justice.

But here is what Marlins infield coach Perry Hill had to say about it afterward: "I have never seen a baseball player jump that high on a baseball field, ever. I've been around a while, too. I mean, that's just instinct, number one, and God-given ability to jump that high. I mean, that just shows you how good an athlete he is, too."

Third baseman Ed Lucas was the closest Marlin to Hechavarria when he made the stunning catch on Cody Asche's line drive and said he wasn't sure that what he had just seen had actually happened.

"I was trying to make eye contact with anyone in the stadium just to verify what I just saw," Lucas said. "Because I really didn't think that little body could get that high off the ground. It's pretty impressive. I'm a little jealous, I'm not going to lie to you. In fact, I always feel bad when I end up at shortstop. I say, 'I told you guys don't expect me to make the plays he's making over there, because I don't think anyone else in the world can make those.'"

Manager Mike Redmond played with two of the majors' most athletic shortstops in former Marlins Alex Gonzalez and Edgar Renteria and said Hechavarria now belongs on the same throne.

"I've played with Edgar Renteria and Alex Gonzalez, and this kid is maybe more athletic than those two guys," Redmond said. "I think the amazing thing is his ease to the balls, and how he just kind of floats and glides to these balls and makes these plays look relatively easy. I don't know how high he jumped, but it looked like he was three feet in the air. It was unbelievable. I didn't think, when that ball was hit, that he had a chance for it."

The play was so spectacular that hard-to-please, yet admiring Phillies fans applauded it not once, but twice after seeing it replayed on the ballpark scoreboard.

As jaw-dropping as Hechavarria's play was in the sixth, it was his defensive gem in the eighth that saved the game for the Marlins. With the score tied 3-3 and a man on third for the Phillies, Roger Bernadina hit a screaming one-hopper into the hole. Hechavarria dove, made a backhanded grab on the ball and fired to first to end the inning and prevent the go-ahead run from scoring. The Marlins ended up winning the game in the 10th.

Check out both of Hechavarria's monster plays:

September 17, 2013

Fast turnarounds not the norm for 100-loss teams

PHILADELPHIA -- Barring some unexpected surge of success over these final days, the Marlins will hit the 100-loss mark for the second time in franchise history, joining the wretched 1998 team that lost 108. The Marlins (55-95) must go 8-4 or better over their final 12 games to avoid the bad century mark, and if you've been watching them lately, you know that's not going to happen. (As a side note: the Marlins will clinch their third consecutive outright last-place finish with either a loss tonight or a Mets victory).

But getting back to the 100-loss thing....If you're under the assumption that things can only get better for the Marlins after this awful season, think again. Since 1993, the year the Marlins entered the big leagues, a total of 24 teams have suffered through 100-loss seasons. Five of those teams actually lost more games the following year. Only two managed to produce a winning season the following year, and neither of them (the 2009 Seattle Mariners and 2003 Kansas City Royals) won enough to make the playoffs.

The most sobering bit of information of all if you're a Marlins fan hoping for brighter days ahead: the 100-loss teams from 1993-2012 averaged 95 losses the following season. That's not good. Not good at all.


That it remains unknown precisely how many games the Marlins will end up losing this season, this much is certain: for the fourth straight season, they will lose more games this year than they did the previous year.

Year               Record

2009              87-75

2010              80-82

2011              72-90

2012              69-93

2013              ?????? (currently 95 losses)

September 13, 2013

Dwight "Doc" Gooden: "Sky's the limit" for Jose Fernandez

NEW YORK -- Dwight "Doc" Gooden, whose outstanding rookie season as a 19-year-old with the New York Mets in 1984 is considered one of the benchmarks for young pitchers, said Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez has what it takes to become one of baseball's great ones.

"If he stays healthy, the sky's the limit for him," Gooden said Friday during a book signing at Citi Field. "He has great stuff. He's only going to get better, and that's the scary part."

20130913_172435-2Gooden won the '84 Rookie of the Year award after going 17-9 with a 2.60 ERA and striking out a league-leading 276 batters in only 218 innings. Fernandez, who is considered a frontrunner for the N.L. Rookie of the Year award this season, has a better ERA (2.19) but not nearly the number of strikeouts (187 in 172 2/3 innings).

Gooden said there's a lot to like about Fernandez, who he has seen pitch on several occasions. For one, Gooden joked that he likes the fact that Fernandez lived in Tampa -- Gooden's hometown -- after defecting from Cuba, and that he wears the same uniform number -- No. 16 -- the former Mets' star wore in his playing days.

"I like that," Gooden said, smiling.

But, most of all, Gooden said he likes Fernandez's presence on the mound.

"I think the thing that sticks out more than anything is his mound presence," Gooden said. "I mean, here's a guy, he pitches like he's been there for a long time. He's not afraid of hitters. He likes pitching inside. He has a lot of confidence. I don't think he's cocky. I think it's a lot of confidence. So that's what really sticks out to me."

Advice for Fernandez?

"On the field, continue to work hard, remember what got you there," Gooden said. "Stick around the veterans. Always try to be a student of the game. There's always something you can improve on. You know you've had a great year, but there's always something you can challenge yourself to improve on. As far as off the field, understand that a lot of people approach you. A lot of them might not have your best interests. Just be aware of that."

Overall, Gooden said Fernandez is simply "fun to watch. He has a lot of energy."

"I think he's going to put up great numbers for years to come," Gooden said.

September 12, 2013

Redmond says it's time to move on and focus should be on Jose Fernandez's bid for Rookie of the Year

A day after saying his young ace "ruined the night" for hot-dogging his first career home run in his last start of the season, Marlins manager Mike Redmond said Thursday it's time to move on and the focus should be on Jose Fernandez's bid to earn National League Rookie of the Year honors. 

"He's a young kid and he's going to be one of the top pitchers in this league for a long time. You want your pitchers and players to be judged for the way they pitch and the way they compete, not the theatrics," Redmond said.

"Unfortunately for him what gets overshadowed by last night is the year that he's had and how dominant he's really gone out there and pitched. We should be talking about him for rookie of the year. For me he is. We should be talking about how great a year he had as a pitcher and rookie of the year instead of what we are."

Redmond took some criticism from the public and a few MLB analysts for being too harsh on his best player.

"Everybody has their opinion and if you're only watching two clips of that game than I can see how they can say whatever they want," Redmond said. "But if you're around here and this clubhouse every single day... I think the important thing is we're a young team, 30 games under, we're teaching guys to respect the game and play the game the right way. That's a teaching moment, learning moment for Jose. I know he understands where I'm coming from and where his teammates are coming from and that's it."

Fernandez, who apologized profusely after the game Wednesday for embarrassing his teammates and coaches, admitted he was a little too amped up. After the benches cleared and play returned to normal, he said several of his teammates took him into the batting cage area underneath the stadium to talk to him.

"For sure, I can promise 120 percent that will never ever happen again," Fernandez said. "No matter what happens in the game, I'll never show anybody up. To me that's embarrassing."

Closer Steve Cishek said the situation was also addressed in the clubhouse after the game.

"He's a competitor and you want to play around anyone that is like that," Cishek said. "Every single game he's gone out there he's been fiery, yelling at himself, whatever it is to get himself going. He's fun to watch. Like I said before, he's good kid, but let one get away from him, got a little too excited. It happens. He's going to learn from it, we're going to learn from it and we're all going to move on."

Cishek there is no doubt in his mind Fernandez should be the rookie of the year.

"I'm not disappointed. He was unbelievable this year," Cishek said. "If you've ever seen him throw a bullpen we knew he was going to be good. But we never expected, I don't anybody knew it was going to be ridiculous like this. He was outstanding all year. It's no surprise he finished it well or that he capped it off with a homer. It's all he tries to do in pitcher's [batting practice] anyway.

"Everyone is not going to be puppy dogs out there and he has that little extra gear. But like I said he's young. You see a lot of young guys lose it out there. But like I said before I guarantee you he'll learn from this and it will be forgotten about."

> With Nathan Eovaldi getting scratched from his scheduled start Thursday and his back still tight, the Marlins are moving their rotation around before opening a four-game series Friday against the Mets.

Left-hander Brad Hand (1-9, 4.54 ERA in his career) will make his first start of the season Friday. Right-handers Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner will pitch in Saturday's double-header. New York native Tom Koehler will pitch Sunday. The Marlins still haven't decided who will start Monday when the team heads to Philadelphia. 


> Braves (87-58): 1. Elliot Johnson LF, 2. Justin Upton RF, 3. Freddie Freeman 1B, 4. Evan Gattis C, 5. Chris Johnson 3B, 6. Andrelton Simmons SS, 7. Dan Uggla 2B, 8. B.J. Upton CF, 9. Freddy Garcia RHP.

> Marlins (54-9): 1. Chris Coghlan LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Christian Yelich CF, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Logan Morrison 1B, 6. Ed Lucas 3B, 7. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 8. Rob Brantly C, 9. Brian Flynn LHP.