Marlins option 2B Derek Dietrich back down to Triple A to work on his defense; could Furcal be on his way up?
Second baseman Derek Dietrich has been optioned back to Triple A New Orleans, the Marlins announced after Tuesday's 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Despite starting 36 games at second base this season and producing some pop at the plate against right-handers (.256, 5 HRs, 16 RBI), Dietrich has had plenty of defensive struggles. He's committed seven errors at second, tied with the Braves' Dan Uggla for the most in baseball.
"We're just in a situation where we want to make sure he plays," manager Mike Redmond said. "There's some defensive things we obviously want him to work out. It doesn't do him any good to [sit]. He needs to play.
"He's still a young guy. We love him. We love what he can do. He just needs to be a little more consistent. I think he understands that. We know he'll go down there and work hard not just on his defense, but all aspects of his game. This guy is a big leaguer. It's all about consistency up here in the big leagues. But I know he'll go down there and do what he needs to do to get here as soon as possible."
Redmond said the team will announce a corresponding move on Wednesday.
Could veteran Rafael Furcal be on his way up to join the Marlins in Tampa? There's definitely a chance. Redmond said Monday Furcal is supposed to go to Double A Jacksonville on Thursday. But he's played well thus far in five minor league games for Single A Jupiter and left after playing only seven innings Tuesday night. He was 2-for-3 with a run scored in that game.
> Count Redmond as somebody very thankful third baseman Casey McGehee wasn't hurt in Tuesday's win. McGehee was standing in the on-deck circle when Giancarlo Stanton broke his bat on a lineout to short in the fourth inning. The barrel of the bat hit McGehee in the ribs.
"Man that was scary," Redmond said. "I think that kind of hit him in the ribs and elbow. I saw the bat break. A lot of times you watch the ball, but my eyes never left the bat. It was coming at me, but clipped Casey. Thankfully he was alright. If that was a foot up he's in trouble. It was scary."
Jarrod Saltalamacchia still isn't feeling right and it is looking more and more likely he's going to spend more than a week on the disabled list.
The Marlins' catcher took a foul tip to his face mask in Saturday's loss to the Braves and is still suffering from post-concussion symptoms, manager Mike Redmond said Tuesday. Redmond said Saltalamacchia, who is currently on the 7-day concussion disabled list, can't resume baseball activities until he is symptom free for three to four days.
"It could go to the 15-day disabled list, but I don't know for sure," Redmond said. "He needs to make sure he's symptom free. When I say that I mean headache free, dizzy free... as of right now he's still resting."
GREGG'S CALL-UP TIME TABLE UNCLEAR
Redmond said Tuesday he isn't sure how quickly the Marlins will be able to insert Kevin Gregg into the bullpen, but the 35-year old reliever, signed to a minor league deal on Tuesday, has told the team he does not think it will take long for him to be ready.
Redmond said Gregg was expected to throw a bullpen in Jupiter Tuesday and that the reliever would likely begin to "pitch competitively in a couple days."
"I think it's great, exciting to add another piece," Redmond said. "The plan is for him to go out and pitch whether it be in Jupiter or somewhere else in the minor leagues. I know he's been throwing, but he hasn't been throwing competitively against hitters. We'll just kind of monitor how long that will take [to get ready]. But we're excited to have him and see how he continues to progress."
Getting the ball to closer Steve Cishek with a lead has been a struggle this season. Gregg's signing is obviously intended to help address that. Redmond said Gregg, who saved 33 games for the Cubs last year, could also end up closing games on the nights Cishek needs a break.
Asked if he thinks Gregg's signing can help put some relievers into more defined roles, Redmond responded: "Roles are nice, but you pitch yourself into roles. If you pitch well we'll find roles for you. The better you pitch the later you end up pitching right? That's just kind of the way it goes."
"Really we've been looking for guys to step up and take advantage of the late inning opportunities and we'll just keep continuing to plug these guys in there," Redmond continued. "I know they can get outs. I've seen them get outs. I've seen them get out of big situations. I was pumped for AJ yesterday to get those big outs. We'll keep plugging those guys in there because we need them. I know they can do the job. We just got to keep getting them in those situations. That's big for those guys to know we all believe in them and need them."
Catcher Jeff Mathis spent parts of two seasons with the Angels as Gregg's teammate in 2005 and 2006 and believes his experience will help the pen.
"He's been around, closed, been in different roles. Just a good veteran presence that could definitely get us some outs in the bullpen," Mathis said. "If I remember correctly he throws three, four pitches. I remember him having really good command of three of them. That's a really good weapon to have three of them you can throw for strikes. If you're closing out ball games for somebody then you have pretty good stuff. His track record speaks for itself. He's been a good pitcher. Hopefully he can come in here and help us."
RAMOS HAPPY FOR TEXAS TECH
Count Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos as one of the few college baseball fans in South Florida Monday to hear that Texas Tech had eliminated the hometown Miami Hurricanes from the NCAA Tournament.
Ramos grew up in Lubbock, Texas and played for Texas Tech for three seasons before the Marlins drafted him in the 21st round in 2009.
"I talked to a couple players, called them texted them," said Ramos, who works out at Texas Tech in the off-season. "I told them how proud I was of them and how it fun it is to follow them and stuff. They're pretty excited. I'm just excited for them man. It's just amazing what they're doing. I'm just proud."
Ramos is also a huge San Antonio Spurs fan. But if he had his choice he said he would prefer to see the Red Raiders win a national title than see the Spurs knock off the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
"The Spurs don't pay me," Ramos said. "But I do bleed Red Raider blood."
> Rays (23-35): 1. Kevin Kiermaier CF, 2. Ben Zobrist 2B, 3. David DeJesus LF, 4. Evan Longoria 3B, 5. James Loney 1B, 6. Matt Joyce RF, 7. Yunel Escobar SS, 8. Yadier Molina C, 9. Chris Archer RHP.
> Marlins (29-28): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Henderson Alvarez RHP.
Giancarlo Stanton is receiving more support in his bid to start in next month's All-Star Game.
In the second round of voting results released Tuesday, Stanton moved up from fourth to third in the National League outfield voting, putting him in position to start alongside the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig and Colorado's Charlie Blackmon when the game is played in Minneapolis.
"That's great. I'm pumped for him," manager Mike Redmond said. "I think everyone realizes how exciting a player this guy is and how much he brings to not only our team, but all of baseball. For him to be recognized the way he is among the fans -- it's a testament to not only him but how good a player he is."
Stanton's 863,307 votes rank sixth overall in the National League behind Troy Tulowitzki (1,419,718), Yadier Molina (1,210,579), Chase Utley (974,196), Puig (935,276) and Blackmon (883,186). Stanton leads the National League in homers (16) and RBI (51).
No other Marlins rank among the leaders at their respective positions.
> It's official: Keving Gregg is a Marlin again.
Gregg, who ranks fourth on the Marlins' all-time save list with 61, agreed to a minor-league deal with the Marlins on Monday pending a physical. He passed the physical and the Marlins announced the signing officially on Tuesday afternoon.
He's expected to provide setup help for closer Steve Cishek.