ATLANTA – Fantasy football season has officially made its way back into the Marlins clubhouse.
The team held its annual fantasy draft Thursday night inside their hotel and "it was pretty mellow compared to years past," reliever Mike Dunn said.
Pitcher Jarred Cosart, who joined the Marlins at the trade deadline, drew the first pick and took Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. It's a decision he was still getting razzed over Friday before the Marlins kicked off an important three-game series against the Braves.
Other participants in this year's Marlins fantasy league include infielder Ed Lucas, outfielders Reed Johnson and Christian Yelich, third baseman Casey McGehee, catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jeff Mathis and pitchers Tom Koehler and Brad Hand.
"Last night was funny because everybody was locked into computers and trying to figure things out," said Dunn, who took Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning with his first round pick, sixth overall. "It gets intense. Salty flew his brother in for the series, but he really brought him in a day early to help him with the draft."
Dunn said this was the fourth year he’s participated in the fantasy draft. Reliever Chris Hatcher has joined him to become co-owner of Dunn's team. They’re called the Git-R-Dunns.
Dunn said outfielder Justin Ruggiano, now with the Cubs, won last year’s title and reliever Chad Qualls, now with the Astros, finished second.
"It's different every year especially when you got different guys playing and you don't know how they're going to draft," Dunn said. "Last year I had a bunch of good players on my bench and people were pissed because I wasn't trading them. Ruggiano wanted to make trades as soon as the draft was done.”
Saltalamacchia said he took Lions receiver Calvin Johnson with his first pick. He still hasn't decided on a team name.
"It's always a good for guys to get together and do something outside of dinner or coming to the ballpark," Saltalamacchia said. "Plus it keeps us in touch in the off-season. This is definitely not the rowdiest draft I've been to. It was calm and quiet. But it was still a lot of fun to do a little trash talking."
A HELPFUL ADJUSTMENT
Credit pitching coach Chuck Hernandez with helping Cosart, Saturday's starter, find his groove again. The two know each other from their days in Philadelphia when Hernandez spent half a year with Cosart in the Gulf Coast League.
Cosart was 1-2 with an 8.02 ERA in July when he was still with the Astros. He's 2-1 with a 2.08 in four starts since joining the Marlins.
"He's had a few little things, mechanically, that have really helped me get back into the strike zone on a more consistent basis," Cosart said. "Just little stuff with my upper half, staying more compact, stuff like that. Keeping things simple. I think that did wonders for me."
JENNINGS, CAPPS ON MEND
Manager Mike Redmond said the plan for the Marlins is to bring back relievers Dan Jennings and Carter Capps once rosters expand on Monday.
Capps has pitched two-thirds of a scoreless inning twice in the past week in the Florida Gulf Coast League, and is scheduled to pitch in Single A Jupiter Saturday. Jennings, who appears closer to a return than Capps, made his fourth appearance for Jupiter Friday night.
> Redmond said the Marlins are hoping to have reliever Bryan Morris back when the team returns home from their nine-day road trip on Monday. Morris left Tuesday's game against the Angels with a strained groin and with rosters expanding there is no need for the Marlins to put Morris on the disabled list should he need it.