July 22, 2012

Stanton progressing; Ramirez still out

The Marlins are trying to avoid falling to seven games under .500 for the first time this season.

With the team in dire need of any offensive spark, it got some good news regarding injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton. An update Marlins executive vice president Larry Beinfest got from the team’s training staff said that Stanton is progressing as he continues to work his way back from knee surgery.

Stanton has been hitting balls off the tee and doing some light throwing for three days, and may be ready to take some batting practice at some point during the upcoming homestand.

            Stanton, who had arthroscopic surgery July 9 to remove two loose cartilage fragments from his knee, is expected to miss at least another 2-4 weeks.

As expected, Hanley Ramirez did not start for the third consecutive game. Ramirez, whose hand was almost fully wrapped Sunday, is recovering from an infection on the cut above the knuckles on his right hand that he suffered July 8 in St. Louis when he punched a cooling fan.


Marlins (44-50): Reyes ss, Bonifacio cf; Lee 1b; Morrison lf; Ruggiano rf; Dobbs 3b; Infante 2b; Hayes c; Sanchez p.

Pirates (53-40): Presley lf; Walker 2b; McCutchen cf; Jones rf; McGehee 1b; Alvarez 3b; McKenry c; Mercer ss; Karstens p.

July 21, 2012

Hanley Ramirez out again; Ozzie Guillen thinks he could be out for a while

Hanley Ramirez’s infected right hand kept him out of the Marlins starting lineup for the second consecutive game.

Ramirez told reporters Saturday his status is “day-to-day.” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, however, used a different term to describe the timetable for his return from the injury that stemmed from his punching a cooling fan July 8 during a game in St. Louis.

“Hanley’s not day-to-day,” Guillen said. “It’s more like ‘2 days-by-2 days.’ His hand is a little bit better today, but just a little bit. I don’t see that much difference between yesterday than today.”

Guillen said it would be a “miracle” if Ramirez would return for Sunday’s finale against the Pirates, and said a return during the team’s upcoming six-game home stand is “optimistic.”

I don’t know [when he’ll be back],” Guillen said. “I know he still can’t grab a bat. They have to go by the doctors and trainers and see how he feels. The infection seems like it’s pretty strong. We’ve got to play by ear. If you want to, call it day to day, but to me it’s ‘check every two days.’ Maybe, we can have him pinch run, but that’s it.”

Ramirez pinch ran Friday in the ninth inning and stole a base. On Saturday afternoon, he kept his hands tucked away in a sweatshirt he wore in the team clubhouse.

“I’m just waiting for the swelling to go down,” Ramirez said. “I have probably about 50-60 percent use. I can still move my fingers. I just can’t grab the ball or the bat. Once I can do those things I’ll be back.”

Guillen said Friday he heard the infection was caused by Ramirez not properly taking his medication for the original injury. Ramirez said Saturday he forgot to take it only one day.

“[The infection] happened overnight,” Ramirez said. “It was pretty bad. I had pain and it kept swelling up. I’m taking the same pills. I think I got an alarm now every time so I don’t forget.”

Said Guillen: “Hanley’s a grown man. He should know how to do that, but he didn’t. And now it’s too late. Now, hopefully he will from now on.

“But I think the problem started in St. Louis when he did what he did. Players don’t realize it until after the fact. When [something like] that happens, you are hurting the ball club not just yourself and that’s what we’re dealing with right now.”

July 20, 2012

Hanley Ramirez out for Friday's game vs. Pirates

Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez’s moment of rage nearly two weeks ago in St. Louis caught up to him Friday, forcing him out of the team’s lineup, possibly for multiple games.

            Ramirez left PNC Park early Friday afternoon and visited a doctor in Pittsburgh to treat an infection that developed around the area on his right hand where he cut himself punching a cooling fan in the dugout during a game July 8th in St. Louis.

Ramirez received two stitches above his right ring finger when the injury occurred in the sixth inning of that game. He missed the remainder of that game, but returned immediately after the All-Star break.

“[Ramirez’s hand] looked pretty ugly and it was pretty sensitive,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I was a little worried about it. Hopefully, it will come out soon. You can’t play around with that stuff. We have to prevent it from becoming a big deal. That’s the kind of thing you have to be careful. You have to take the time to cure it and hopefully it’s right away.”

Guillen, however, was miffed by the apparent reason for the infection. Guillen said he heard it formed due to Ramirez not properly taking his prescribed antibiotics.

“How do you forget to take a pill the doctor tells you to take?” Guillen said. “Hopefully the doctor finds exactly the right pills and I will tell him open your mouth, like a baby, and put them in his mouth and make sure he takes his pills every night.”

Greg Dobbs took Ramirez’s place at third base and hit sixth Friday in the Marlins’ lineup. The Marlins said Ramirez returned to the park approximately an hour before the start of the game.

Emilio Bonifacio and Jose Reyes each said Ramirez was showing no ill effects from the injury recently during the series following the All-Star break against the Nationals and Cubs.

“[Emilio Bonifacio] and some of the other guys saw it, and said it was bad,” shortstop Jose Reyes said. “Hanley was good the past few days. He was playing with it fine.”

Ramirez, who has been the subject of trade rumors the past couple of days, has gone 6 for 26 since the All-Star break with two home runs, three RBI and has struck out 11 times.

June 24, 2012

Hanley Ramirez called team meeting Saturday

Throughout his career, Hanley Ramirez hasn't been the type of player to open his mouth and address his teammates.

Hanley RamirezBut with the Marlins stumbling to their 15th loss in their last 17 games on Saturday, the three-time All-Star decided it was time to do something he had never done before. He called a team meeting.

“I don’t like to talk too much. I joke a little bit but I don’t like to speak. But sometimes there’s a time when you have too many things in your heart and you just want to say it,” Ramirez told the Palm Beach Post and Marlins.com Sunday morning.

“We wanted everybody to speak up and say what they think, what we’re doing wrong. We just wanted to hear everybody’s opinions.

The message?

“The past is in the past. We have to start today. It has been tough. You cannot just keep adding loses and losses every day. Clean your mind and let’s start from today,” Ramirez said.

“Everybody is struggling — 25 guys. What do you expect when everybody is struggling? We’ve just got to battle. It’s 25 guys, not just one guy.

“Every day in the big leagues can be a struggle. It’s what we’re going through right now. Some teams will get out of it quick. Some will take a little bit longer. It has been too long for us because the talent we have here [it should] not to be that much longer to be struggling right now."

Manager Ozzie Guillen held a meeting with players last week. Owner Jeffrey Loria met with the team in Boston before Thursday’s game. But all the talking is pointless, ace Josh Johnson said, unless the team starts to perform.

"It's all up to the guys in the room. We're the ones doing it," Johnson said. "Find a way to win a game. Find a way to win a couple games in a row and go from there. Once you start winning again, you like that taste. You want to get that.

"We know we can [win]. We proved it in May. Just don't go out there and put any pressure on yourself, relax and put in all the work you need beforehand. Just let it happen and let it speak for itself."

Guillen said after Saturday's loss it's hard to have on field leaders when everybody is struggling. 

Ramirez, who hit .342 and won the batting title in 2009, is hitting .258 with 11 homers and 38 RBI this season. But this month he's hitting just .213 with three homers and five RBI.

"It’s easy to lead the team when you’re hitting .390 and 100 home runs and pitching shutouts every day. Right now we don’t have anybody. It’s easy to lead the team when you’re a great player, but when you’re down on your knees begging for help, it’s hard to be a leader," Guillen said. "I don’t need leaders. I need good  players. I need them to go out and perform the way they should."


Former Miami Westminster Christian star and Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia said Sunday he's enjoyed his first trip back home as a major leaguer.

"It's kind of crazy hearing people call my name and I look up and it's somebody I played with in high school or someone I knew when I was a little kid playing at Flagami Khoury League. It's cool," said Arencibia, who was taken 21st overall by the Blue Jays in the 2007 Draft (nine picks after the Marlins took third baseman Matt Dominguez).

"My sister has six kids and they've all been here [for the three games]."

Arencibia, who homered twice on Opening Day 2011 as Toronto's new catcher, said he remains close to former teammate and Marlins catcher John Buck, who spent the 2010 season in Toronto and tutored Arencibia when he was first called up.

"He wasn't only an All-Star, he was a first class human being," Arencibia said of Buck. "He was great to me, taught me the ropes and I tell him all the time I'm very grateful. The way he went about his business, prepared for games, talked about setting up hitters, attacking the game plan and stuff -- there is something to be said for that."


> Blue Jays (37-34): 1. Brett Lawrie 3B, 2. Colby Rasmus CF, 3. Jose Bautista RF, 4. Edwin Encarnacion 1B, 5. Yunel Escobar, 6. Rajai Davis LF, 7. Kelly Johnson 2B, 8. J.P. Arencibia, 9. Jesse Chavez RHP.

> Marlins (33-38): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Logan Morrison LF, 5. Greg Dobbs 1B, 6. Omar Infante 2B, 7. Scott Cousins CF, 8. John Buck C, 9. Mark Buehrle LHP.

April 29, 2012

After ending slump and losing streak, Hanley Ramirez feels like he can smile again

Hanley Ramirez was all smiles in the Marlins clubhouse Sunday morning.

Hanley RamirezAfter driving in the winning run Saturday night and putting an end to both an 0-for-26 slump and the Marlins six-game losing streak, Ramirez said he feels like he can finally smile again.

"It's not easy when you're losing," Ramirez said of enjoying the game. "You don't want to be smiling out there. People are going to be thinking you don't care about the game. It's different when you're winning."

If you haven't noticed by now, having fun is important for Ramirez's psyche. After the Marlins were shutout Friday, the first thing manager Ozzie Guillen said he was worried about was that his team wasn't having any fun and putting too much pressure on themselves.

Ramirez, 28, has been around long enough where a losing streak or a slump shouldn't have such an affect on him. But it's apparent it still does.

"Good players stay at the same level all year long. You can't get down when you're not good. You have to be the same guy all the time," Guillen said Saturday when asked if he though Ramirez's game-winning RBI would break him out of his funk.

"Hopefully, he stays like that and gets going."

Ramirez said he plans to start having fun "from the first inning" on Sunday.

"I think everyone is relaxed now," Ramirez said. "It was a good win, good for our confidence. Maybe we'll come back with that confidence and enjoy the game."

As for his 0-for-26 slump, Ramirez said: "What can I say? I've been hitting balls right at people. It's not like I was striking out. I was putting the ball in play. I've just got to keep improving and keeping my swing down."

For the record, Ramirez struckout nine times during his 0-for-26 skid and grounded into a double play once.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Ramirez's game-winner Saturday marked the longest hitless streak that ended in a walk-off since the Phillies Charlie Hayes ended an 0-for-31 streak in a 10-inning victory over the Rockies on July 25, 1995. Ramirez, by the way, now leads the majors with walk-off hits this season with two. He also hit a game-winner April 15 vs. Houston.


Despite still feeling tightness in his sore left hamstring, second baseman Omar Infante is back in the lineup Sunday for the Marlins. "I feel better," Infante said before Sunday's game.

Guillen said Saturday his plan was to give Infante two days off to rest because he "didn't like the way he was moving." But it now appears Infante, the team leader in batting average and home runs, is going to try and play through the pain as much as he can and this could end up being a day-to-day situation whether he's in the lineup or not.

As for the pain, Infante said he feels it most when he tries to stop running and when he swings. Every morning, he says, he comes in for extra therapy and stretching. Between how feels and what Guillen thinks ultimately determines whether or not Infante is in the lineup.


> Marlins (8-12): 1. Emilio Bonifacio CF, 2. Jose Reyes SS, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. LOgan Morrison LF, 5. Omar Infante 2B, 6. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 7. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 8. John Buck C, 9. Josh Johnson P.

> Diamondbacks (10-11): 1. Willie Bloomquist SS, 2. Gerardo Parra CF, 3. Justin Upton RF, 4. Jason Kubel LF, 5. Miguel Montero C, 6. Cody Ransom 3B, 7. Lyle Overbay 1B, 8. Aaron Hill 2B, 9. Wade Miley P.<.p>

April 12, 2012

March 18, 2012

Marlins hitting coach Eduardo Perez: Healthy Hanley Ramirez 'is MVP material', plus players sent down

JUPITER -- By the time Eduardo Perez replaced John Mallee as the Marlins hitting coach last June 8th, Hanley Ramirez was already playing like damaged goods -- sitting on the disabled list with back pain and a mere .210 batting average.

Hanley RamirezThe player Perez is seeing this spring hardly resembles that guy.

"We got three key free agents everybody talks about. I say we got four," Perez said Sunday morning, about three hours before the Marlins were set to take on the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

"My other free agent is Hanley... We got a top notch free agent third baseman. He's MVP material."

Ramirez, who hit a career worst .243 with 10 homers and 45 RBI in an injury-plagued 92-game season last year, has been hammering the ball this spring. Saturday, he smacked his third home run of the spring (second in Grapefruit League action) and is now hitting a team-leading .473 (9 for 19) with four RBI, four walks and three strikeouts in eight games.

In January, Perez expressed his concerns to MLB Network about how the 28-year old Ramirez would handle a position shift to third base and how off-season shoulder surgery might impact his bat. After spending his off-season training in his native Dominican Republic with two-time reigning home run champion Jose Bautista, Ramirez looks like his old-self -- only better.

The key, Perez said, is that Ramirez's back is healthy. Ramirez is also 10 pounds lighter.

"What I can see that's a good sign is that he can guide the ball to right-center, and not lob it into right field. Now, he's driving it into left-center and left field," Perez said. "The [home run] he hit [versus the Twins' Carl Pavano Saturday on a 2-2 pitch] was middle in. The one hit in Port St. Lucie [March 11th vs. Mets] on an 0-2 count was down and in.

"He's getting the head of the bat out. He's throwing his hands out and his hips are being used to perfection. It's a big deal for him. I think he's going to again be one of the top players in the league and maybe the top player in the league.

"It helps that he's seen this organization has done everything to help this team succeed. I think that right there is what really, really drives him. It's a good team on paper. Now, we just have to put it together on the field."


General manager Mike Hill spent Sunday morning playing grim reaper inside the Marlins clubhouse, letting a group of 11 know they were being sent down to the minors.

Those optioned down to Triple A New Orleans: third baseman Matt Dominguez; outfielder Kevin Mattison; pitchers Tom Koehler, Dan JenningsSandy Rosario and Alex Sanabia.

Left-hander Brad Hand and right-hander Evan Reed were optioned to Double A Jacksonville.

Catcher Kyle Skipworth, infielder Jeff Dominguez and right-hander Elih Villanueva were reassigned to minor league camp.

Hand, who has shown signs of improvement with his control by staying consistent with his arm slot, didn't take the news poorly despite making 12 starts for the Marlins last year.

"It was great to get a few starts, get your feet wet and get to know what it takes out there," Hand, 22, said of his stint with the Marlins last year. "I haven't gone more than two innings [this spring]. I'm looking forward to getting stretched out and get ready for the season."


> Marlins vs. Cardinals (Sunday in Jupiter): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Emilio Bonifacio CF, 3. Hanley Ramirez SS, 4. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 5. Omar Infante 2B, 6. Chris Coghlan LF, 7. John Buck C, 8. Bryan Petersen RF, 9. Carlos Zambrano P.

> Marlins vs. Astros (Monday in Jupiter): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Emilio Bonifacio CF, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 5. Omar Infante 2B, 6. Scott Cousins LF, 7. Aaron Rowand RF, 8. Brett Hayes C, 9. Anibal Sanchez.

December 06, 2011

Ramirez told Marlins last month he was against position switch

ESPNdeportesLosAngeles.com has a report out quoting a source that said Hanley Ramirez informed the Marlins on Tuesday that he doesn't want to switch from shortstop to third base.

"Hanley doesn't want to play third base and the Marlins already know about how Hanley feels," the source said. "Rather than ask for a trade, what he did was to inform the team that he doesn't want to play another position other than shortstop."

The truth is the Marlins have been well aware of Ramirez's feelings since before then. Sources told The Miami Herald Ramirez informed the Marlins of how he felt during the general managers meetings last week in Milwaukee.

So is Ramirez asking for a trade? Not yet according to Marlins beat reporters who have spoken to Marlins brass at the winter meetings in Dallas.

Ramirez, a three-time All-Star and a .306 hitter in six full seasons, is expected to have to move third following the acquisition of Jose Reyes, who agreed to a six-year and $106 million deal with the Marlins on Sunday.

The only public comment that Ramirez has made since Reyes' deal was through his Twitter account on Tuesday afternoon. He wrote: "What I can do now is work hard and be prepared for next season because that's all that I can control, I love you all !!!!"

August 02, 2011

Marlins don't expect Hanley Ramirez to be out long

NEW YORK -- Hanley Ramirez appeared to be in a lot of pain when he sprained his left shoulder Tuesday night diving after an Angel Pagan bloop single into left field in the sixth inning. 

But the Marlins, well at least manager Jack McKeon, don't believe Ramirez will be out long. 

"Two or three days," McKeon said when asked for his best guess on the clean-up hitters return. "Day-to-day. You know that old saying day-to-day, TBA. I doubt [he'll be back tomorrow], unless I take him to St. Patrick's and get it blessed, put a little holy water on his shoulder. We might do that."

Ramirez, who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in October 2007, said after Tuesday's come-from-behind win his shoulder popped out during the dive. He also said he felt sore.

"I just have to ice a couple more times and see how I feel tomorrow," Ramirez said. " I fell, it went out, came back in. It's something I haven't dealt with the last two years, after the surgery. Hopefully, it's nothing bad and I can come back quick."

The Marlins, who climbed back to .500 for the first time since they were 32-32 on June 12, went 2-12 the last time Ramirez went on the disabled list and was out with back pain for two weeks in June.

Since McKeon took over and put Ramirez in the cleanup spot June 21, he's hit .304 with six homers and 28 RBI. The Marlins, meanwhile, have gone 23-14 as a team — counting Tuesday’s win.

July 19, 2011

Wes Helms thinks Marlins need to keep McKeon or find fiery manager to keep pushing Hanley Ramirez

Wes Helms said Tuesday he'd like to have an opportunity before the season is over to pull Jack McKeon aside and pick his brain about managing.

The veteran infielder, who has had conversations with owner Jeffrey Loria about becoming a coach in the organization once his playing career is over, said he's been impressed with the tactics McKeon has used to help turn the Marlins around.

Helms said McKeon has pushed all the right buttons -- from asking All-Star Gaby Sanchez to bunt and pulling pitchers in the middle of at-bats (showing winning is above all else) to "knowing when to show tough love" and "pat a guy on the butt."

No example of the latter burns brighter, Helms said, than Hanley Ramirez, who after being slotted into the clean-up spot by McKeon went into Tuesday's game hitting .384 (2nd highest in the majors over the span) with 19 runs scored, six doubles, five home runs and 24 RBI (2nd most in baseball) in 23 games.

On June 19, Ramirez was batting .201 with a .300 on-base percentage. He's now batting .255 with a .347 on-base percentage.

"Hanley is going to be Hanley," Helms said. "There are some things with Hanley we just kind of have to deal with, as far as I guess the showboat stuff. It's not going to change. We've tried to, but it's not. But the way he's approached his at-bats, the way he's approached his defense, the way he's come to the field everyday and not really bothered anybody, standing upon himelf, I've definitely seen a big difference [since McKeon took over]."

Helms said when the Marlins were in Texas last month, he had a conversation with veteran umpire Joe West about Ramirez and his change in attitude.

"Joe West said if this kid plays 162 games with 100 percent heart, he'll be a Hall of Famer. And it's true. He's that good," Helms said.

"Hanley is one of these guys where he'll always need that guy to keep him where he needs to be. Not all of us can self-motivate ourselves. Not all of us have that extra drive by ourselves. Some of us in the game, it's not just him, there's other guys, need that need that extra pat in the butt to get us going. I think Jack and whatever they do for next year, if it's Jack or whatever, that's the decision they have to think about to keep him going. Because when he's going, this team rolls. He is the sparkplug for our team."

The Marlins returned home Tuesday night on pace to finish with their best record in July (17-7 in 2003), and a 13-4 mark since June 29 that is tied with Boston and Texas for the most wins in baseball over that span.

STILL STEAMED: A flight home from New York, a night's rest and a conversation before Tuesday's game with McKeon did nothing to make reliever Randy Choate feel any better about getting pulled Monday night in the middle of an at-bat against the Mets' Lucas Duda.

The Marlins left-handed specialist, who was pulled with a 2-0 count on the left-handed Duda, said he he had "a little bit of track record this year" to remain in the game. Choate came into Tuesday's game having allowed just six hits in 56 at-bats (.107 average) against lefties. The earned run the Mets scored off him Monday was just the third in 20 1/3 innings this season.

"I felt like I deserved the chance," said Choate, who wasn't upset the first time McKeon pulled him in the middle of an at-bat with a 2-1 count against the Angels’ Alberto Callaspo on June 21.

"I think if I had a year of service time or a rookie who was up, I think I would have taken it a little better than a guy whose been around, been here all year and felt like I'd be doing a decent job of what my one specific job was. Because mine is a little more specific than anybody else around here. That's why it's disappointing.

"I just don't want to feel like I have to look over my shoulder if I go two balls and no strikes to a lefty."

When asked about his pregame conversation with Choate, McKeon said: "What's the big deal? We didn't talk about anything, nothing important."

HAPPY HENSLEY: Clay Hensley, the Marlins former setup man who picked up his first win as a starter Monday since he was with the Padres in 2007, said he expects to go deeper in his next scheduled start Saturday against the Mets.

Hensley threw just 84 pitches and went five innings, giving up one hit. "I imagine going up to around the 95 to the 100 pitch mark," Hensley said. "I was actually feeling pretty good as the game went on. I wasn't feeling too weathered. I think I started to feel it a little bit when I was up in the 80s. I felt a lot better than I thought I was going to feel in terms of arm strength."

Hensley, who was in the lead to make the starting rotation coming out of spring training in 2010, believes he will have a strong shot at making the starting rotation in 2012 if he can finish this season strong.

"I'm happy about it man," Hensley said. "It's something I've done in the past. Obviously I was happy coming out of the bullpen, but my hearts always been in the rotation. I'm just glad to have the opportunity again to go out and do it."

> ESPN baseball writer Jerry Crasnick reported Tuesday that the Phillies have talked to the Marlins about acquiring closer Leo Nunez. Crasnick said the Marlins are looking for young starting pitching in return. Nunez, who signed a one-year $3.65 million deal this year, could command upwards of $6 to $7 million next season.