Marlins ace Jose Fernandez likely a month away from facing hitters

KISSIMMEE -- Jose Fernandez's return from Tommy John surgery hasn't hit any speed bumps yet and if things continue to progress as they have he'll likely begin facing live hitters in about a month.

"There are X amount of bullpens to throw and I think he has like eight left [before he faces live hitters]," Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez said Friday shortly before the Marlins and Astros were rained out.

"We're doing two a week, so that's a month," Hernandez continued. "Once he gets past batting practice and stuff, then you could have road bumps because you've repped up a lot, pounded  [the arm], the intensity goes up. That's why it's not an exact science to it [as far as any exact date when he'll be back with the team]. But we have a general plan, that's big, formulated."

The Marlins have said all along the earliest Fernandez could be back is mid-June. But they're obviously going to be smart. Hernandez said Fernandez has been smart with his rehab to this point.

"Overall, he's doing it well," Hernandez said of Fernandez's rehab. "He's not overdoing it. He's getting to the point, we're getting at that stage of rehab you have to start stressing it and moving it a little bit. It's part of the way it works. The build up to this point he's done it perfectly. I watch him throw and I get amazed because I see how different they come back compared to 15, 20 years ago. Now there's such a success rate the kid's think 'It's fixed, now I'm supposed to throw two miles an hour harder.

"But he's doing great."

 

February 18, 2015

Marlins closer Steve Cishek talks fatherhood, recycling and baseball

On Tuesday I got a chance to catch up with Marlins closer Steve Cishek, who was filming a commercial and public service announcement on recycling at the local waste management center in Pembroke Pines. Billy the Marlin was on hand for the commercial, too.

Cishek, signed to a one-year, $6.65 million deal for 2015 and with two years of team control left, said this off-season felt a lot like the one in 2012 when the Marlins went bonkers spending money to upgrade the roster before the opening of the new stadium.

This year, though, feels different Cishek said because the Marlins went after the right kind of guys, and they signed the cornerstone of the franchise, All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, to a record 13-year, $325 million deal. Cishek, who has made Jupiter his off-season home, said he's excited and ready for the official start of camp on Friday when pitchers and catchers report. 

 "This off season I really wanted to rest up," said Cishek, who finished 4-5 with a 3.17 ERA and a career-high 39 saves in 2014. "I always usually take the first three weeks off and then get right in to the weight room. Last year was a grind for me. I started off throwing a lot in the beginning to middle of the year and got into a rut, kind of ran out of gas for a second. Then, I picked it back up. This off-season I wanted to make sure I got in the proper work to handle the workload and be able to perform well from start to finish."

Although the Marlins could end up adding more arms to the bullpen before the start of the season, Cishek said Tuesday "our bullpen is great as it is."

"I watching some of the guys throw bullpens today and I was like 'Man, you got some strong arms,'" Cishek said. "Sam Dyson came in today and was throwing cheddar. There are some guys who are sleepers. Dyson is one of them. He's got tremendous stuff. Obviously, [Bryan] Morris, just watching them throw bullpens has been ridiculous. Dunn just signed a two-year deal. He's been phenomenal for us. He throws gas, is a lefty. I'm like the underhand pitcher in that bullpen. You've got guys throwing heat and I'm just flipping it in there."

Cishek family photo from JanuaryCishek, who turns 29 on June 18th, became a father shortly after the season when his wife Marissa gave birth to daughter Emmie. 

"She's been an absolute blessing in our life," Cishek said. "I've learned a lot about myself through her -- like how selfish I can be. A baby is very demanding of your time and energy. And not that I didn't appreciate her before, but it gave me a huge appreciation for my wife who during the season is going to have to take care of her on her own when we [the Marlins] are on the road. Not only is it going to be tough for me to leave her and my baby it's going to be tough on her."

Cishek said he's become an expert at changing diapers. "I had to jump in there early on and just went right at it," he said. "Basically I was picking the nurses brain as soon as the baby was delivered."

April 25, 2014

Marlins looking for "somebody to step up and get some big outs" in the eighth inning

NEW YORK -- When it comes to solving his bullpen's late-inning woes this season, Mike Redmond made it  clear Friday the Marlins are just looking for "somebody to step up and get some big outs."

"We've been in a lot of games, been in a lot of close games, but unfortunately we've given up some big hits late in those games to lose," Redmond said. "It really coms down to trying to find those guys that are going to be able to pitch those late inning games. We're really going to try everybody to see what's going to work and see whose going to take those late innings. It's really up for grabs."

While closer Steve Cishek has remained a consistent force in the ninth inning with a franchise-record 33 consecutive saves entering Friday's game, the eighth inning has been a nightmare for the Marlins.

The team's eighth inning ERA entering Friday was 7.36 and opponents were hitting .304 against them in the frame. A year ago, Chad Qualls, Mike Dunn, and A.J. Ramos did a much better job handling the bulk of the eighth inning work as the Marlins combined for a 2.28 ERA and opponents hit just .202 against them.

This year, Qualls is the closer in Houston. Dunn (eight appearances, 11.37 ERA), Ramos (six appearances, 1.93 ERA) and left-hander Dan Jennings (four appearances, 0.00 ERA) have handled the eighth for the Marlins for the most part through the team's first 22 games. Carlos Marmol pitched once in the eighth and gave up a game-winning grand slam to the Nats' Jayson Werth on April 9th.

Right-hander Carter Capps, acquired in the Logan Morrison trade with Seattle, could be a solution, Redmond said.

"We got to get him out there and let him pitch," Redmond said. "I'd love to say maybe he can be the guy to do that with Marmol and Dunn and AJ. But we've got to get him out there in a game and see what he can do.

"Sometimes it just takes them a nice 1-2-3 inning to settle in and then take off. That's what we're hoping for."

> Redmond joked he's happy Major League Baseball decided to wait until Friday to adjust its transfer rule, which occurs when a fielder loses possession of a ball while trying to transfer it from his glove to his throwing hand.

The Marlins won two replay challenges because of the transfer rule over the past week -- April 18 in a win over the Mariners and Monday in a loss to the Braves.

The adjustment to the rule is that it will now be an out whenever a player has complete control over the ball in his glove, and if he drops the ball after opening his glove, it will still be ruled an out. There is no requirement to successfully remove the ball from the glove for it to be an out.

"I think those two plays, the Fish might have sent them over the edge," Redmond said. "... we'll see how it's interpreted going forward. So we'll all be watching to see what a catch is. I think I have an idea of what it is. But we'll see."

> Redmond said right-hander Jacob Turner, who pitched four innings in Single A Jupiter Wednesday, will pitch again Monday and throw between 75-80 pitches.

"The reports I heard from his first outing was that he was fine," Redmond said. "He gave up a couple runs, but he threw a lot of fastballs and everything was good healthwise. He's only been out a couple weeks so he hasn't lost a ton of throwing time. He's still in pretty good shape."

> Utility infielder Ed Lucas, on the disabled list for the past month with a fractured left hand, began his rehab assignment Friday night, batting second and starting at shortstop for the Hammerheads. Redmond said Lucas was going to play every position in the infield.

> Redmond said the Marlins still haven't decided when second baseman Rafael Furcal will be called up from his rehab assignment. Redmond said the team initially wanted Furcal to use up all three weeks of rehab work. Furcal had a pair of doubles and "played good defense," Redmond said, on Thursday night.

> Where does Redmond, a former catcher, stand on the pine tar debate stirred up by the recent suspension of Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda?

"I was thinking about grabbing a little pine tar the other day because the pencil was slipping out of my hands and I wanted to write some stuff down in the cold weather. Maybe that extra grip will help," Redmond joked.

"It didn't surprise me. A lot of guys use sun screen, whatever. You see pitchers all the time going to their wrist out on the mound. You don't see position players out there grabbing their wrist during the game. Come on. That's stuff has been going on for a long time. I think we all know that. But at the same time too you can't take the pine tar rag and just rub it on the side of your face.

"I've seen guys lick the pine tar rag. I'd advise against that. I'm not condoning that at all."

April 23, 2014

Marlins recall Carter Capps from Triple A to take Caminero's spot in bullpen

ATLANTA -- Carter Capps, the player the Marlins acquired in the Logan Morrison trade with Seattle, was recalled from Triple A New Orleans Wednesday morning to replace Arquimedes Caminero's vacated spot in the bullpen.

Capps struggled early on this spring as the Marlins were adjusting his delivery, adding a bit of a turn to it to provide more balance. He was sent down to the minors at the start of the season to work on it. 

He did well, going 0-1 with a 1.64 ERA in seven appearances for New Orleans. He had 17 strikeouts and just six walks in 11 innings of relief work. 

Capps has a power arm. According to Fangraphs, his average career fastball velocity is 96.4 miles per hour.

"I'm trying to get a little more use out of my legs, like I used to pitch," Capps said back in March. "When I went to Seattle, I changed some things around. I'm trying to get back to pitching the way I used to pitch."

March 25, 2014

Caminero, Capps among trio of Marlins pitchers sent down; Wigginton released

Despite pitching his tail off this spring, Arquimedes Caminero was among a trio of pitchers informed Tuesday morning they will be starting the season in the minors.

Caminero posted a 2.00 ERA and two saves over seven appearances and nine innings of work. He had a 0.44 WHIP (9 strikeouts, 1 walk, 3 hits) and opponents hit just .100 against him. But he'll be starting the season down in Triple A New Orleans along with right-handers Carter Capps and Chaz Roe, who also received notice Tuesday they were being reassigned to the minors.

"It's just the way things worked out," a disappointed Caminero said. "It's the business."

Mike Hill, President of Baseball Operations, said it was a tough decision to make and even tougher to deliver.

"Extremely tough calls, but I think what we discussed internally is that it's a good thing for us -- that we have these type of decisions," Hill said. "Sending all three of them down we feel like we're sending down major league capable pitching -- in the case of all three of them. Caminero came through our system, made tremendous strides, had a tremendous spring training. To look him in the eye and tell him he's going down was a difficult conversation."

Caminero is in his final option year and can obviously be brought up whenever the Marlins need him. He made 13 appearances toward the end of the 2013 season and posted a 2.77 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He'll likely serve as the closer or pitch in late innings in Triple A. That's a role that the Marlins eventually see Caminero doing down the road, and something he wouldn't be doing if he made this year's big league team out of the gate.

"When the need rises we know we have a major league ready reliever to come back," Hill said. "He's definitely going to pitch meaningful innings down there and get him experience with that. He has a well above average fastball with a split finger that has made tremendous strides. So it will be an opportunity for him to pitch in the back end, which he wouldn't necessarily be doing here. So that's another part of it."

Capps, acquired in the trade with Seattle for Logan Morrison, was less of a surprise demotion than Caminero. He struggled a bit this spring -- he's been working on his mechanics -- and posted a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings of work and a 1.00 WHIP. 

"[Pitching coach] Chuck [Hernandez has] worked hard on his mechanics, trying to get him consistent," manager Mike Redmond said. "This guy just hasn't been pitching that long. He's got a big arm and this guy too can pitch late in games. It's just a matter of him finding the consistency in his mechanics which enables him to throw more strikes."

Roe had an awful 12.38 ERA and opponents hit .385 off him.

The moves mean there is now space in the bullpen for hard-throwing right-hander and non-roster invitee Henry Rodriguez (1-0, 6.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 14 Ks) or maybe a combination of left-hander Brad Hand and right-hander Kevin Slowey, who could serve as long relievers. There are 14 pitchers left in camp. The Marlins are taking a dozen into the season with them.

Redmond looks like he's pegged Slowey for the long reliever role and now it's just a matter of who else -- Hand or Rodriguez -- will be joining Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos, Carlos Marmol and Dan Jennings in the bullpen.

"Slowey's consistent. We know what we're getting with him," Redmond said. "He's the perfect long guy. He really is. He can go out there throw four, five innings. He can throw one inning. He can do a lot of different things. He's been around long enough he's a guy you can sit down there for a few days and not pitch him and put him into any situation. He's definitely equipped for that role."

> It looks like veteran outfielder Reed Johnson is going to have a spot on the roster when the Marlins break camp. Johnson had a deadline of Tuesday at noon to make the team or be released. He's been sensational this spring (.410, 1 HR, 6 RBI in 39 at-bats).

"It should be just a formality at this point," Hill said. "He's had a great spring. Just along the same thing of bringing in specific veterans who have that championship pedigree, championship experience. He's come as advertised -- a great teammate. You see him on the bench. That's where I think the veterans make a huge impact -- when the game is going on and they can pick out moments and grab a guy like Yelich, Ozuna and Marisnick and tell them did you see that? Did you see this? That's where those guys gain valuable experience and that's where his knowledge has been great for us."

> The Marlins released non-roster invitee Ty Wigginton. He hit .147 this spring in 23 at-bats. The Marlins are now down to 34 players in big league camp overall.

"He's a pro," Hill said of Wigginton. "When you have a conversation with him you tell him we were hopeful something might open up for you, but to this point we stayed fairly healthy and there's not going to be an opportunity. But you're a pro and the professionalism you've brought to our clubhouse is the type of change we wanted to bring. We wanted to bring the qualities you embodied. We thanked him for the time he's been with us and what he's done for our young players in what it means to be a pro and approach your job day in and day out."

TUESDAY'S LINEUP

> Marlins: 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Derek Dietrich 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Garrett Jones 1B, 5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Casey McGehee 3B, 8. Ed Lucas SS, 9. Jose Fernandez RHP. Other scheduled pitchers: RHP Kevin Slowey, RHP Steve Cishek, RHP A.J. Ramos, RHP Chris Hatcher, LHP Dan Jennings.

> Cardinals: 1. Kolten Wong 2B, 2. Daniel Descalso 3B,  3. Matt Holliday LF, 4. Matt Adams 1B, 5. Yadier Molina C, 6. Shane Robinson RF, 7. Peter Bourjos CF, 8. Pete Kozma SS, 9. Lance Lynn RHP.

March 06, 2014

Hard-throwing relievers Marmol, Rodriguez to make spring debuts this weekend after resolving visa issues

JUPITER -- With their visa issues finally behind them, the Marlins will get a chance to see hard-throwing relievers Henry Rodriguez and Carlos Marmol in their first Grapefruit League action of the spring this weekend.

Manager Mike Redmond said Marmol, who returned from the Dominican Republic late Wednesday after spending four days there waiting to receive his working visa, will pitch Sunday when the Tigers visit Roger Dean Stadium.

Rodriguez, a 26-year old non-roster invitee who pitched in a simulated game here on Wednesday, will pitch Saturday when the Marlins travel up to Kissimmee to face the Braves.

The Marlins spent $1.25 on the 31-year old Marmol for 2014, so his roster spot is basically secured. Rodriguez, who has spent the last five seasons with the A's, Nationals and Cubs, is going to have to really impress and likely need someone to get hurt to land a job. 

Both throw the ball hard, but have had control issues throughout their careers.

According to Fangraphs.com, only three relievers in baseball over the last five years (Bruce Rondon, Joel Zamaya and Kelvin Herra) have averaged more velocity on their fastballs than Rodriguez, who along with the Reds' Aroldis Chapman has averaged 98 miles per hour on his heater.

But Rodriguez's career WHIP of 1.51 tells the story. Last season in 22 combined innings for the Cubs and Nationals, Rodriguez had 20 combined walks and only 12 strikeouts to go with 0-1 record and 4.09 ERA.

"Really the key to him is strikes," Redmond said. "You look at his numbers. He's had some walks and control problems. So really it comes down to being able to locate that fastball in the strike zone.

"I saw him [Wednesday] and he threw some really nice breaking balls for strikes. It's like anything, the key to the bullpen guys is pounding strike zone and limiting walks. If they can do that they're pretty effective. But he's got a big arm and that's going to give us a chance to see what he can do in a game situation. See if he can be one of those guys who can fit in the middle of our bullpen situation."

The Marlins hope to see the Marmol the Dodgers got after acquiring him from the Cubs last season. Marmol, who has averaged 93.6 miles per hour on his heater throughout his career, was 0-0 with a 2.53 ERA, 1.55 WHIP (27 Ks, 19 walks) in 21 relief appearances for L.A. He struggled mightily during his last two years with the Cubs and is 23-32 with a 3.46 ERA, 117 saves in his career.

"I worked a little bit down there trying to get ready," Marmol said. "I'm ready to go, ready to launch."

> Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will get a chance to see his former Red Sox teammates today.

"It's not too far removed so it's not that big of a deal," said Saltalamacchia, who said he's still remained in contact with a few Red Sox pitchers like John Lackey and Jake Peavy

Saltalamacchia spent four years in Boston after being acquired from the Rangers. He said the move reinvented who he was and made him more sure of himself. But the good memories of winning a World Series are just that -- memories. He said he's moved on and is ready to start a World Series run with the Marlins.

"I think you probably ramp it up a little bit more anytime you play your former team," Redmond said.

"But I'm sure it's an exciting day for him to see his teammates, guys he won a World Series with. He gets to talk to them. I think once you accomplish that goal with a group of guys you're always friends for life no matter whether you're playing on a different team or not. I know it will be a fun day for him to see those guys. But at the same time too he's a Marlin now and I know he much he's enjoying that and how much he means to our ballclub. He'll probably want to go out there and swing a little harder today."

> So far this spring Marlins catchers have avoided back-to-back starts behind the plate by design. Redmond said he won't start having his catchers start behind the plate in back-to-back games probably until Monday.

THURSDAY'S LINEUPS

> Red Sox (1-5): 1. Jackie Bradley Jr., 2. Alex Hassan LF, 3. Garin Cecchini 3B, 4. Ryan Lavarnway C, 5. Travis Shaw 1B, 6. Brandon Snyder DH, 7. Bryce Brentz RF, 8. Deven Marrero SS, 9. Heiker Meneses 2B, RHP Allen Webster.

> Marlins (5-2): 1. Rafael Furcal 2B, 2. Christian Yeluch LF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 5. Marcell Ozuna CF, 6. Casey McGehee 3B, 7. Greg Dobbs DH, 8. Ed Lucas 1B, 9. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, RHP Nathan Eovaldi.

August 16, 2013

Hard-throwing Caminero happy to be in big leagues after eight years in minors; Redmond talks replay

Armed with a fastball that can touch 100-miles per hour, Arquimedes Caminero has always been seen as a pitcher with closer-stuff.

The Marlins have just been waiting for the 6-4, 255-pound Dominican-born right-hander to mature and find the strike zone consistently. After eight years in the Marlins' minor-league system, Caminero, 26, finally got the call-up he had been waiting for Friday.

"It means a lot to me," said Caminero, ranked as the Marlins' 20th-best prospect by MLB.com and who replaced reliever Steven Ames (optioned to Triple A New Orleans on Wednesday) in the Marlins' bullpen.

"I've been working a long time for this."

After having Tommy John surgery in 2011, Caminero went 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA and posted 44 strikeouts and 19 walks between Single A Jupiter and Double A Jacksonville for the Marlins in 2012. This season, he was 5-2 with a 3.61 ERA in 42 appearances for Jacksonville, posting 68 strikeouts and 21 walks.

Although he says he doesn't throw as hard as he used to (he said he sits between 96 and 100 miles per hour), Caminero said he feels better and in more control of his fastball.

"I want to get a little bit better with the walks," said Caminero, who also throws a slider and splitter. "[The walk numbers] werenn't very good in April, but it got better. I was working with [Suns pitching coach John] Duffy. Now I feel like I can be here."

Marlins manager Mike Redmond said the reason Caminero was called up now and not in September is because the team wanted to give him an extended look. With Steve Cishek cemented in the closer's role and Chad Qualls and Mike Dunn used as setup men, it's likely Caminero will be used in the sixth and seventh innings.

"This is a guy who has an ability to go in there and pick up some strikeouts which is always nice to have if we get into a situation where we need a strikeout or something," Redmond said. " I try to avoid [putting] guys in tough situations. Saying that, it's happened a couple times because of the situation we've been in. Hopefully get him in there as soon as possible, get comfortable and see what he can do."

REDMOND TALKS INSTANT REPLAY

Although he's happy Major League Baseball announced Friday it is expanding its replay system in 2014 and giving managers a tool they've never had to challenge calls (one challenge through the first six innings, and two from the seventh on), Redmond said he has some concerns and questions that need to be answered.

"I think everyone is in favor of getting the calls right. I think the biggest question is always the pace of the play," Redmond said. "There's a lot of times as a manager when I'm sitting down here, I can't see the ball down the right field line. If that's ball is fair and he calls it foul then I'm going to have to rely on somebody coming down and telling me 'Hey that balls fair or that ball's fair.'

"In football it's great because of you have the head phones and [the coordinator] can see 10 replays by the time [the quarterback] goes up there and snaps the ball. Well in baseball it's a little different.

"I'd love to sit here and say I've got a beat on every single play. Well, I just don't. Sometimes it's hard to see. At the same time too these challenges are going to be big because it could decide the outcome of the game. What if you have more than one play in the first six innings go wrong? What if there is a three? What if there is a five? There's just a lot of questions through this process."

DEL ORBE HAS SUCCESSFUL SURGERY

Ramon Del Orbe, the pitcher for Single A Greensboro who was struck in the right temple and fractured his skull after being hit by a line drive earlier in the week, had surgery on Thursday. According to Marlins vice president of player development Marty Scott, the "surgery went well."

"Relieved pressure and swelling as well as bleeding," Scott told The Miami Herald in a text message. "No timetable for release yet. ICU for another day. Keeping trainer and [Minor League Latin Coordinator] Bobby Ramos with Ramon. At such time of release, they will all travel back together to Greensboro. Ramon will probably need reconstructive surgery at a later date."

May 11, 2013

Cishek recorded first 1-2-3 save of the season Friday

LOS ANGELES -- Closer Steve Cishek has endured his share of struggles this season, but he finally recorded his first 1-2-3 save of the season in Friday night's 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Dodgers.

Cishek got the benefit of a borderline called strike three on the outside corner on pinch-hitter Scott Van Slyke to open the ninth. He then got Carl Crawford to bounce out to first and struckout Nick Punto looking to end the game.

Cishek has had just six chances to pitch with the lead in the ninth this season -- and that's something Redmond said has affected him.

"I think early on he had a few struggles with lefties. He wasn't in a lot of save situations, we were pitching him in tie games, maybe putting him a little out of his role," Redmond said. "At the same time he gave up some hits and home runs. But he's working hard on locating his fastball and getting the ball in on lefties. He's done a nice job making adjustments. That was a nice ninth inning against some good hitters."

Cishek said he's changed his approach in his throwing program a bit. In his 14 appearances this season, he's had a perfectly clean inning just four times. He's given up a walk or a hit every other time and has surrendered a run five times.

"I've been leaving the ball up and that's when I've gotten in trouble," Cishek said. "My main focus has been trying to throw everything hard at the knees and whatever happens, happens."

July 31, 2012

Zambrano doesn't want to be in the bullpen long

ATLANTA -- Carlos Zambrano made it clear Tuesday he doesn't think he's built to be in the Marlins bullpen long term.

"It's not my role, but I have to do it," said Zambrano, who struggled with control over his last nine starts. "There is no other choice. If they put me in the bullpen, they put me in the bullpen. I have to keep doing my job, and keep trying to come back and being in the rotation again.

"The Cubs tried to do that to me, put me in the bullpen. It didn't work. My arm is not built to be in the bullpen, but I have to do it. I'm at a stage in my career where I've been my whole life as a starter. But I have to do it. I will do it until somebody remembers me."

Asked about the trouble he has had issuing walks, Zambrano became a little testy.

"People walk. It's not only me. Obviously, I'm the one people most see here," he said. "What can I do? Be in bullpen. What can I do?"

> Manager Ozzie Guillen said Tuesday the loss of Edward Mujica won't affect the roles of anybody in his bullpen because "nobody has a role here."

"When that phone rings get up," Guillen said of what his relievers will do from now on. "I can't say this guy is my closer, this guy is my setup. We're going to see the matchups and what gives the guys the best opportunity for success."

> Guillen said he's not going to ask a lot of Wednesday's starter Wade LeBlanc. "Give me three good innings. We'll take care of the rest," he said. "We got Zambrano. We got [Chad] Gaudin. Whatever your going to give me, give me good ones. We'll figure it out for the next time."

> Guillen said he's happy Josh Johnson made it through the trade deadline without being shipped off. "I want JJ here. JJ is a gamer," Guillen said. "This kid is going to give you everything he has on the field. And as a manager and a coach you appreciate that. He don't want to come out of games. He wants to help. He's not that superstar ace that I know [right now]. But this kid goes about his business the right way and that's why I love him."

> Guillen said Jose Reyes "got a bad jump, a bad read" off Carlos Lee's single Monday when he was thrown out at the plate by Martin Prado

> Guillen said he still isn't sure who will start along with Johnson when the Marlins face the Nationals in a double-header Friday.

> Guillen said if any of his players were worried about being traded before the deadline "they should look themselves in the mirror and ask 'Who wants you?'"

> Guillen was asked about what the Marlins got in return from the Cardinals for Mujica, third baseman Zach Cox: "I don't know. I'm not that type of manager, baseball who guy goes to computer and finds out. I know he's a pretty high round pick. I think the Marlins before St. Louis drafted him they liked him a lot and they had an opportunity to pick him up. He's an athletic third baseman and has an opportunity to help us here in the future. Hopefully he can help us."

As for incoming outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, Guillen said: "So far in the big leagues he's only played defense. He'll have an opportunity to get some at-bats. We'll figure it out. I'm going to play him in centerfield, get him some at-bats to see how he's doing. Then we make decision how we're going to play. It's all about opportunities. We'll move [Justin] Ruggiano to one of the corners."

July 30, 2012

Zambrano moved to bullpen; LeBlanc to start Wednesday

ATLANTA -- The Marlins on Monday moved struggling starter Carlos Zambrano to the bullpen and inserted Wade LeBlanc -- the team's best pitcher this spring -- into the rotation.

How long that lasts, manager Ozzie Guillen said, depends on how both perform. But LeBlanc will start Wednesday against the Braves.

"I think we need to take a look at LeBlanc for a couple starts," Guillen said before Monday's game against the Braves. "It wasn't an easy move.

"I think Carlos -- I don't want to say deserved more than that, but the first two months of the season was outstanding. The last game was weird. This guy was dealing, a very nice game. Then from one inning to another he lost it. I want to try to give him a lot of chances [in the bullpen]. We're going to see how it works."

Zambrano started the season 4-3 with a 2.81 ERA over his first 11 starts with 56 strikeouts and 29 walks. But over his last nine starts he's been miserable, going 1-6 with a 7.62 ERA. He's walked 38 and struckout just 27 over the span.

Guillen said his plan is to use Zambrano for as many as two innings -- or as a long reliever if need be. The Marlins play a double-header Friday in Washington and while Josh Johnson will start one of those games the other starter has yet to be announced. Guillen said depending on how Zambrano is used, he could start the other game Friday. But the more likely scenario is the Marlins will call up someone from the minors -- possibly recently acquired Jacob Turner, who is scheduled to pitch for Triple A New Orleans on Thursday.

"He was disappointed. He was embarrassed," Guillen said of Zambrano went told he was going to the pen. "[He] feels bad because we brought him here and he’s not doing the way he thinks he can do it. When we make moves is not because was want to, it's because we have to. Carlos took it the right way and I expected that. We’re not going to take you out the rotation because you are pitching well. He was fine. And I told him I will give him the opportunity to pitch."

Zambrano waved off reporters while sitting on a sofa in the Marlins clubhouse.

As for LeBlanc, he's excited about getting an opportunity. The 27-year old left-hander went 2-1 with a 1.31 ERA in six Grapefruit League games (two starts) for the Marlins this spring. But he didn't make the big league roster. He's gone 1-1 with a 1.15 ERA in 11 relief appearances (15 2/3 innings) since being called up on July 1. He was 17-21 with a 4.47 ERA as a starter over four seasons in San Diego.

"As long as I'm up here helping this team do something I'm happy -- whether I'm better suited for the rotation or the bullpen it remains to be seen," LeBlanc said. "I'm aware they got Turner from Detroit and they probably want to see what he can do. So, I'm just going to go out there and try to get as many outs as I can and give this team a chance."

July 16, 2012

Marlins reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo has sprained elbow

According to the Marlins, an MRI has revealed that relief pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo has suffered a UCL sprain in his right elbow.

As of Monday evening the team has not given a timetable for his return.

Oviedo walked off the mound Saturday night in a rehab appearance at Triple A New Orleans after recording only one out because of right elbow discomfort.

Oviedo was back in Miami Sunday and was examined by team doctors. Manager Ozzie Guillen spoke to the media at 4:15 Monday afternoon and said Oviedo's MRI results were being evaluated.

Oviedo is eligible to return from his eight-week suspension for age and identity fraud on July 23.