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All-Star invite or not, McGehee said he's not just changing his approach at the plate

The deadline for fans to vote for the All-Star Game is 11:59 p.m. tonight, and barring some ballot-stuffing that hasn't been seen before Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee is going to need the support of his peers in the player vote to earn a trip to the midsummer classic.

Statistically, McGehee has as strong an argument as any Marlin not named Giancarlo Stanton to earn an invite to Minneapolis July 15. He entered the series finale against the Phillies Thursday third in the National League in hits (100), tied for seventh in RBI (49) and hitting a NL-best .398 with runners in scoring position. 

The last Marlin to have at least 100 hits 84 games into the season was Hanley Ramirez back in 2009. Ramirez, selected by the fans as a starter that season, also had 14 homers at the break.

And that's a number not lost on McGehee. He knows if he had more than one home run through his first 84 games he'd probably would have been much more on the radar of fans.

"That's the cool number kids, anybody voting likes to see. I get it from that standpoint," McGehee said. "But my job isn't to make All-Star teams. My job is to try to help this team win. Like any sport, there are guys that try to do the small things to help their team and make a big difference.

"For me to be back in the big leagues is rewarding enough as it is. If in December when I signed you had asked anybody if I'd be having this conversation -- myself included -- I wouldn't have taken the bet. Just to be in the conversation it means a lot to me. I couldn't ask for a better start to the season.  Make it or not [to the All-Star Game], it's not going to change my approach and what I try to accomplish the second half of the season."

How many more homers does McGehee think he would have if he wasn't playing the majority of his games in spacious Marlins Park? Eight or nine, he said.

"I think there are some ballparks where they would get out and other where they were borderline homers, but it's not where we're playing," McGehee continued. "Honestly I have no complaints about the ballpark because I love playing here. For my game it works well for me. It's fast. The outfield is big. Infield is pretty fast. So you get rewarded for hitting the ball hard. That's all you can do as a hitter anyway. Sometimes you go in places like Philly and the outfielders are bunched up on each other and the spacing gets small real quick. There's definitely positives to hitting in a ballpark like this."

McGehee said hitting few homers in the first half of the season are nothing new for him. He said in the minors it happened to him all the time. "I'd go into the All-Star Break with two and I'd finish up with 10 or 12 or whatever," he said.

"I know people like to talk about it and these guys like to give me a hard time about it especially since I've had years where I hit 23 or whatever it was. But to have only one at this point, it really doesn't bother me," McGehee said. "Me and [hitting coach] Frank [Menechino] talked about not trying to hit home runs -- especially in this ballpark. That's one thing I feel like I've done a good job, being consistent not trying to come off my approach even on the road. I think that's helped me to this point being a little more consistent. The trick is going to be trying to continue that."

What has made McGehee happy are moments like the one in the fifth inning Tuesday. With a runner on second, the score tied at 2 and first base open with one out, the Phillies elected to pitch Giancarlo Stanton instead of intentionally walking him to face McGehee. Stanton, who leads the National League with 15 intentional walks, drove in the go-ahead run. 

"It makes me feel like I've helped him a little bit," McGehee said. "By no means do I deserve any of the credit for what he's done. But just the more opportunities he gets the better off we are as a team. To me, that's gratifying enough."

BABY WATCH CONTINUES

The baby watch continued well into the afternoon Thursday for Tom Koehler and his wife Ashley, manager Mike Redmond said. 

"I remember when my wife had our first. We sat there forever and she ended up having a c-section," Redmond said. "So they're in the process of it, but still a ways away. I would expect it to happen today. It's just a matter of what time."

Redmond said Koehler, who went on the paternity list after tossing six scoreless innings and picking up the win against the Phillies Wednesday, is still in line to pitch for the Marlins Monday in Arizona.

Redmond said the reason he pulled Koehler after six innings and 91 pitches Wednesday because "I wanted him to finish that game on a positive note."

"I think the last couple times we've asked him to do more it's been a struggle for him," Redmond said. "They had three or four lefties coming up and it was a good fit for Dunn. I like that matchup better than if we have him go out there and grind it out if he walks a guy or gives up a hit."

> Reliever Carter Capps, who has been on the disabled list since May 27 with a right elbow sprain, will start throwing again in the next couple days, Redmond said.

> The Marlins were able to outright outfielder Brent Keys back to Double A Jacksonville after they designated him for assignment Monday to make room on the 40-man roster after trading for left-hander Donnie Joseph.

THURSDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (41-43): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas SS, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Marcell Ozuna CF, 8. Donovan Solano 2B, 9. Brad Hand LHP.

> Phillies (36-48): 1. Ben Revere CF, 2. Jimmy Rollins SS, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 4. Ryan Howard 1B, 5. Marlon Byrd RF, 6. Cesar Hernandez 3B, 7. Aaron Altherr LF, 8. Cameron Rupp C, 9. Kyle Kendrick RHP.

Comments

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Who's on first

So the marlins has tons of 2b players in the roster. All absolutely crappy, should be back in A- league to learn the basics of fielding a ground ball. Dietrich, Solano, Baker, etc...get rid of them all. Bring Mark Canha up and stop this circus on 2b once and for all.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Earlier this season, when this team was at its most efficient overall and playing well and winning, Derek Dietrich was playing 2B regularly and was also hitting well. Then, after a string of games in which SEVERAL players committed a bevy of errors, they decided to shake things up by making an example of Dietrich and sending him to the minors as a punitive measure. I felt at the time that it was an arrogant and impetuous move that had the fat pig owner written all over it. There's an old adage that says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It's a rule of thumb which is usually violated by those who are clueless in what they are doing.

Unfortunate injuries like Fernandez' are a part of the game and inevitable. But not being able to leave well enough alone is a part of mismanagement and stupidity and constitutes a clear a lack of knowledge about this game.

Who's on first

Dietrich was not fielding well, not before, not now, not ever. He is hitting his exact career average. This guy has some power and zero plate discipline. Blaming the front office for every single problem in this team is the easy way out. There are solutions down at triple A level. Somebody just need to have the guts to get rid of "has-beens" (Baker) and "never-will-bes" (Solano, Dietrich) and bring up guys who have been excelling for quite a while. Canha has power, much better plate discipline than any of these crappy players, and can easily play 2b, 1b, shortstop, and left field if needed. Again, t he marlins got swindled when traded a bonafide shortstop to the Rays in return for a guy the Rays knew wasn't going anywhere. You want to blame the front office for something, blame them for that.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

Pat Riley once said that it's an easy tendency to focus on the weaknesses of a player. The fact of the matter is that the Marlins were playing well and the team didn't leave that alone. Dietrich was HITTING well and hasn't been the same player since. Hitting is all about timing.

And if top management, meaning Gargoyle Face Loria and his lap dog Samson, aren't responsible when they pull ALL the strings, then who is? Their front men, Hill and Jennings? Redmond? The players? Let's get real.

Stan M

Last year, Dietrich's OBP was .275. So far this year it is .326. Admittedly that is not great. But it is a significant improvement from one year to the next for a young player who is still learning his trade. Solano had a bad game. He made one costly error and also a bonehead play. The only way that throw to home makes sense is if Solano was confused and thought that the bases were loaded and he was going for a force out. Dietrich is young and there is talent there. Whether he takes the next step remains to be seen. If you want to throw blame around, and there is nothing wrong with doing so, look to Jones and Salty and their consistent unproductive outs game after game. The difference between them and Dietrich is that they are what they are and there is little possibility that they will improve.

Stan M

Until that damn 5th inning, I was impressed with Hands. He could have had better command, but even on TV one could see his pitches move. I'd give him another start or two, unless a trade is made.

There has been speculation throughout baseball about whether or not Stanton will be traded. What has been largely ignored is that Cishek is making a good salary and is due for a huge raise. His recent up and down performance just might give Loria the excuse to dump his salary. He would have value on the trade market. In my opinion, unless the Marlins show significant improvement over the next month or so, he will be pitching elsewhere next year. As far as the Marlins showing improvement, it should be noted that this team has played 13 more home games than road games. Those extra 13 road games that this team must endure do not equate to a situation where improvement is probable.

Dionysus Thelxinoe

You're probably right about Cishek, unfortunately.

With Stanton, I expect that it will reach a point (likely after the season) where it becomes apparent that he's going to hit the open market after his walk year. And when the Gargoyle-face pig owner comes to that realization, I expect that the bidding will begin.

Who's on first

The truth is, moving forward to 2015, the Marlins can't have Saltalamacchia, Jones, Ozuna, Jones, Dietrich, Stanton, all in the same lineup. It is simply too many strikeouts waiting to happen, too many holes to fill. If they can make a pitch to trade for Matt Adams from the Cards (1b), they would get a good -young-under-team-control firstbase man, who hits for very good average. Find what the Cards are in need of and make a move. Again, it is about to making this team with a better lineup. And Ozuna, Salty, Dietrich, etc...all those guys have more strikeouts than hits. They can't all be in the same lineup.

Lou Vales

I have NEVER seen worse situational hitting than exhibited by the Marlins(OBVIOUS exception of McGehee) in late game clutch situations. There is ONLY 1 guy I want hitting in the bottom of the 9th with the tying or winning run on 2B. There are more holes in this lineup than dikes in fairy tales. IF they actually wanted REAL talent back and not the Zack Cox impersonators, Cishek would really bring something back. The Tigers are desperate and are trying to get Benoit back at a guaranteed salary they scoffed at in the Spring.

Lou Vales

26,000,000.00 for 3 years of Benoit(not really a closer) OR Cishek for a larger arbitration number. FAT BOY, you Cardiac Event Waiting To Happen Moron, call Detroit. Get a Major League ready 2B, a young lefty starter and and a highly rated Catcher.

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