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2 posts from March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014

Giancarlo Stanton breaks out the tape measure with mammoth blast (w/video)

PORT ST. LUCIE -- The Marlins pounded out 19 hits in an 11-1 victory Monday over the New York Mets. But the hit that had everyone talking was Giancarlo Stanton's second homer of the season, a mammoth shot to left-center that nearly landed on one of the Mets' practice fields. Mets announcers were in disbelief, saying they had never seen one hit there before.

Stanton nearly homered earlier in the at bat when his long fly ball down the left field line was just foul.

But after fouling off the next two pitches, he went deep off Mets left-hander Jack Leathersich.

"I just wanted to hit the ball hard coming from that," Stanton said of the earlier foul ball. "A lot of times -- I've done it and I've seen other players do it -- you hit a ball like that foul and then you call it a day for the rest of the at bat. I (didn't) want to say, 'I hit a home run foul. Good for me.' That doesn't mean anything. That was more what I was thinking."

Check out the home run for yourself:

The Marlins had managed to make it through the first few weeks of spring training relatively injury-free. But that stretch of good fortune ended Monday when Jeff Baker left the game with a strained left hamstring while Rafael Furcal came out a while later with a strained left hamstring.

Manager Mike Redmond said he doesn't think either injury is serious, but cautioned that he'll know more Tuesday. Baker was scheduled to go to Fort Myers to face the Red Sox, but those plans were altered by Monday's injury.

Counterpunch: Marlins sending "representative" lineup to face BoSox

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Giancarlo Stanton and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be staying behind in Jupiter. But when the Marlins travel to Fort Myers on Tuesday to take on the Red Sox, they won't be playing the payback game with Boston, which sent over a lineup largely devoid of major league talent to Jupiter last week.

Manager Mike Redmond is sending three of his projected starters -- Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Casey McGehee -- to face the Red Sox. They'll be joined on the bus by likely backups Brian Bogusevic, Jeff Baker, Greg Dobbs, Ed Lucas and Donovan Solano.

"What you're doing is for the fans, give them a look at the players who are going to play down in MIami," Redmond said in response to last week's controversy in which the Red Sox had only one projected regular -- centerfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. -- in its lineup against the Marlins. "That's why you bring guys. If there weren't those rules, then nobody would bring anybody on a 3-hour bus ride, right? Nobody wants to take a 3-hour bus ride in spring training. But that's the way it goes. It's always been like that. Guys understand that."

Brian Flynn is scheduled to start against the Red Sox.


Chris Valaika and Justin Ruggiano, two of the former Marlins who were involved in verbal altercations with former hitting coach Tino Martinez, told the Chicago Sun-Times said they're happy to be out of Miami and with the Cubs.

"After all the things that went on, I wanted to go somewhere else," said Valaika, one of several players that Martinez allegedly abused verbally.

Martinez resigned immediately after reports of the abuse allegations surfaced. But the story didn't end there for Valaika. When the front office decided to promote the utility infielder last September, the move was vetoed by Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who had hand-picked Martinez for the job and was bitter about resignation.

"It was unfortunate," Valaika said in his first comments about the end-of-season episode. ""It was just tough at the end of the year. Once the end of the year came, I made the decision I wanted to be elsewhere."

Valaika was signed by the Cubs as a free agent.

As for Ruggiano, who was traded by the Marlins to the Cubs for Brian Bogusevic, the outfielder said he has since spoken with Martinez and patched up any differences they might have had.

"I have no idea about whether that situation played into the fact that we're over here now," Ruggiano told the Sun-Times, "but I dealt with that situation last year, and the awkwardness that it created for the clubhouse, it's something that can put a strain amongst the guys. That's something I don't really want to revisit."