Veteran lefty Chris Narveson, Rule 5 pickup Andre McKirahan impress Marlins in 7-1 win over Canes

He’s only a non-roster invitee and this was only a game against college kids, but Chris Narveson wasn’t complaining after striking out the side in his spring debut Tuesday against the University of Miami.

“I’ll take that,” said Narveson, who is a long shot to make the major league roster after almost three years away from the majors.

Every Marlins pitcher was limited to one inning of work Tuesday. Narveson and Andrew McKirahan, a Rule 5 selection from the Cubs, were the only two Marlins to strike out the side.

McKirahan, 25, is an intriguing young arm. Although the Marlins are only projected to take one left-handed arm with them in the bullpen in Mike Dunn, McKirahan could warrant a spot if he keeps pitching like he did Tuesday. He threw 12 pitches, 10 for strikes and was just flat out nasty.

"You know looking at this division, quite honestly, if you can have it [a second lefty] it's a luxury that helps put everyone else in slots in your bullpen," general manager Dan Jennings said. "It's something we're looking seriously at. This kid, it's a great story to see a kid get an opportunity around in a new place, new eyes. Pretty damn good first impression too."

Jennings said McKirahan "has a tick above average plus fastball with a plus slider" and is "very competitive kid on the mound."

McKirahan has to make the big league club once camp ends or he has to be put on waivers where another team can pick him up. If they don't, the Marlins then have to send him back to the Cubs or work out a trade with Chicago, Jennings said.

"We'll give this kid every opportunity to earn our rights to stay," Jennings said. "With [Pat] Misch and Narveson and our own guys in [Adam] Conley and [Grant] Dayton... Brad Hand... I think our answers [to finding another lefty arm] are here in camp. We've said that the whole time. It should be fun to see how that plays out."

Narveson, 33, is a lefty starter who went 23-17 with a 4.73 ERA for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2010-2011. He missed much of the next two seasons with shoulder and finger injuries before playing for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows of Japan’s Central League in 2014.

He went 4-11 with a 4.53 ERA in Japan -- nothing stellar. But the Marlins were intrigued enough to give him a look this spring as a potential long reliever or Triple A starter. Narveson is grateful to be getting a chance in the big leagues again.

“It obviously hasn’t been a straight path, but it’s been fun,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you don’t always know where things are going to go. Things are going great and then you get hurt. To be able to go out there and pitch for an organization like the Marlins is a lot of fun.”

Before making the decision to play in Japan last season, Narveson reached out to former Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee, who resurrected his career in 2013 with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles before returning to the majors in Miami.

“He said, ‘Go do it, 100 percent,’” Narveson said. “It’s just a great experience. It used to be something where you went there and people forgot about you. Now it’s a universal world with the Internet and all. They don’t necessary know how you’re doing, but now they know, ‘Hey this guy can still pitch.’”

February 25, 2013

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria discusses Stanton, trades, franchise's future (with audio)

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria met with about a dozen sports writers Monday night inside the Diamond Club at Marlins Park in his first interview since the dismantling of the 2012 roster.

Among the many topics covered, Loria discussed the future with All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, why the team traded Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes, and his vision for the franchise moving forward.

Video cameras were not permitted for the interview. But here is the 25-minute audio interview below.

AUDIO OF JEFFREY LORIA INTERVIEW

After Loria finished the interview and exited, Marlins President David Samson spoke for roughly another half hour about the fiscal state of the team and why the 2012 season was a failure.

AUDIO OF DAVID SAMSON INTERVIEW

HERE IS THE COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT FROM LORIA...

- Why not speak earlier... "There is a simple answer to that. It's hard to stop a runaway train. I wanted to decompress, sit back and see what we needed to be doing and I thought the time was finally appropriate to talk and get my message across to the fans, which is what we did Sunday."

- Do you have a grasp of the public anger... "I have a sense of it. I'm sorry we built this amazing ballpark and fans are feeling the way they do. But we did this for a reason. We weren't going anywhere. And I think anybody that is a baseball guy or a baseball person will realize that after two years we had we had to do something. And we had to do something swiftly, quickly and bold. I'd like to turn the clock ahead two years from now and look back at what we did because we had three or four prospects really in our system. We didn't have people we could call up last year. We had no good young players to any great numbers and I will invite any of you and all of you to be in touch with us, me, Larry [Beinfest] and Michael [Hill] to talk about who is one our system. We didn't break up the 1927 Yankees. We broke up a losing ball club that was going nowhere for two straight years. I'm about winning. I like to win. I love winning. I love Miami. I love this ballclub and I love what we've done now. Little painful for a lot of people. But no pain no gain."

- Reyes and Buehrle had just signed long term deals and fans can't understand why they were traded... "We had a pretty bad year last year and signing these free agents didn't work and I decided along with my baseball people -- in spite of what some of you think I don't make unilateral decisions -- I made two or three unilateral decisions in all these years. One to sign Pudge, which the nay-sayers said was going to be a disaster. That didn't turn out so bad. And I made a unilateral decision to see if we can get the best closer in the game at the time last year which was Heath [Bell], who had three straight successive years. I thought that would be great for us in our new ballpark. Didn't turn out so well because he had problems on the field and off the field, his father was dying. It didn't work out for him or the club. I made it my business to really pursue Jose [Reyes]. I love Jose. To this day I love Jose and I think he's one of the great young players. But when I tell you when you see what we've done here, the shortstop we've brought in for the long haul -- Hanley Ramirez called us and told us what an incredible shortstop he is. When Hanley Ramirez calls you and tells you he's a better shortstop than I am you've got a great guy on your hands. It's amusing to listen to. That's what we want to be thinking about. We wanted good defensive players. I've brought in some coaches. I asked Perry Hill to come back. Perry had his surgery and came back. We had nobody teaching anybody anything in the infield last year. But the overall picture and I wish you could all grasp this is that we had nothing going forward. We had another opportunity to have losing seasons for the next couple years. Three, four years it could have been the same stuff because we had nobody to mature and nobody to bring up. We had Jose Fernandez who I encouraged our guys to draft when they did. He was a young Cuban player that we all liked. And when he gets here he will be a household name. We don't have any household names tomorrow. But there will be. You don't win in this business and you aren't successful as a baseball club unless you have an organization of young players that you can call upon. We didn't have that. Larry, Michael talked to me during the year that they can't believe we have all these guys hitting well before their averages. Frankly we stunk. It was a disaster. I talked to our guys and these were the suggestions I got. We got to start again. Want to give me the hits? Give me the hits. The buck stops here. I'm interested in making this successful. We didn't build this building for 10 years to have what's probably going to be this year fewer fans coming. It's a spectacular place. But the baseball people told me we aren't going anywhere. So we had to do something."

- Why include Buehrle and Reyes in the trade... "Buehrle is a very interesting guy. He’s in this mid-30s. Where is he to join us? In this business you have to look ahead. You have to look three, four five years down the road. You make a team four years from now, Buerhle doesn’t fit in. He’s at the end of his career earning $17 million, 18 million, and frankly that doesn’t work down here at that point for us because there are other players we're going to want to keep, want to sign. We have good young pitching, we have really good young pitching."

- Sounds like you are taking a shot at Larry Beinfest's work... "It's not an indictment on Larry. We haven't had great luck from 2002 to 2008 or 2009 with the exception of Giancarlo Stanton, Josh Johnson along and a couple of other guys. But I can give you names of players that just never made it. You draft players. Some of them work out and some of them don't. Hermida didn't work out. Jeff Allison didn't work out. Sinkbeil didn't work out. Volstad didn't work out. Wonderful kid..."

- Is your intention to resign Giancarlo Stanton... "We're hoping that moment will come, absolutely hoping that moment will come. But Giancarlo needs to play this year. He is here for certainly the foreseeable future and we will cross that bridge at the appropriate moment."

- What was your reaction to Stanton's reaction on Twitter... "I love Giancarlo. He's a great young talent and I wish him nothing, but the best. I have nothing but fond admiration for him. He's a young man. If you really look at it, you go to your workplace and suddenly three or four guys are gone, it's a little disturbing. I understand that. But I'm going to wish him a great season. My wife and I saw him in France. I asked him what he was doing last summer. I told him meet me in Paris and we'll have dinner in the Eiffel Tower. We had a great time together. I love him. He's a great talent. I hope he has a successful year.

- Some people believe Stanton will only be here for one more year... "I don't have any comments on that. He'll be here this year and I'm hopeful he'll come here the next year and when we have our opportunity to talk to him, we'll cross that bridge. We will cross that bridge. He's a Marlin. You're jumping the gun. I would love to see him be the young centerpiece on this ballclub. He'd be the young giant on the ballclub. But you can't make promises in this game because strange things happen all the time. I can tell you he is 23 years old now. He's just beginning his career."

- Do you know what the spending for the team will be going forward... "Last year we had a payroll of close to $95-$100 million and lost tens of millions of dollars. We had to turn back the clock for the moment and push the restart button and get these young players in here and look at where we are in another year or so."

- What do you envision in terms of spending... "Well its going to be a function of the revenues we have. We built this ballpark because we thought there would be a lot of fans coming in here down the road. I understand they're disappointed. That's a natural reaction. I'm not going to give you a budget down the road. We didn't do this for fun. We did this because we think we have something special here."

- Will you get back to the point where you were last season, spending a $100 million... "No. We'll never get to $100 million. We don't have the TV contract yet to do that. We will one day."

- Weren't season ticket sales going well in 2012... "Season ticket sales were going in the right direction and then the season started. We all know the perfect storm that came."

- What did this first season at Marlins Park tell you about Miami's loyalty to baseball... "I'm a firm believer Miami loves its baseball, but nobody wants to watch losing baseball. It's a community that has a background and a history of loving baseball. The latin community loves it, all over the world, wherever there are baseball players whether they are dominican, puerto rican or cuban. It's why we spent 10 years building this beautiful building. We'll get back to where we want to get to. And it was very hard last year. You come into a ballgame and Heath's blowing ballgames day after day, kind of depressing. Other things happened and we needed to fix the chemistry and we needed to fix the core of this team. I know you don't understand it some of you. You can't win in this game if you don't have good young players around you."

- Why did you sign Buehrle and Reyes... "We signed them because we thought it was going to work. I saw him as being here for five years as I saw Jose. I also saw us drawing more people and we didn't draw more people because the team was losing. There was a reaction so early in the season about some comments made. All of it was the perfect storm."

- What about the message sent to free agents. Buehrle and Reyes had either bought homes or where in the process of that... "They didn't buy homes down here. Jose didn't buy a home down here. Let me set the record straight. What you were told is inaccurate, is inaccurate. Never told him to buy a house. He was looking for a house. He came to an ALS dinner which I invited him to. He sat two people away from me, came late. I asked him what he was doing the next week. He said he was going to Dubai. I said 'Has your wife been to Miami?' He said 'Yes. She's looking for a home.' Didn't say anything after that except I know subsequent to that three or four days later Larry came to me with a trade he wanted to do and I immediately called Jose's agent out of respect for him and said 'Jose is going to be traded and I want you to call him before he reads about it. He hasn't bought a house yet has he?' He said 'No. He's contemplating.' So I said 'Just call him and let him know."

- Do you understand fans anger that they were beyond firesale... "It's not a fire sale. You can call it a fire sale. It's called hit the restart button. because it didn't damn work. I understand the feeling. I have no interest in endless losing. We had two years of that. I want to see us get back to our winning ways. We had a number of years during the last decade where we had lots of successful season with low payrolls. Now we're in a position in a new building where the payrolls should be able to go up. We envision that. And I certainly kept my promise and said in this first year we're going in, let's get our shorstop, Mr. Energy. Let's get a closer. Then we had no closer."

- What has the reception to you been from public... "I will tell you that on Saturday night I was at the food and wine festival. I was approached by maybe 20 or 30 people. All of them congratulated me, said you had to do what you did. To a person. Everybody, fans still want photographs with you, happy. I haven't seen anything. I got a few silly phone calls. That was in November and it stopped. The only stuff is what happens daily here. I'm hoping we can call a halt to it all and try to get behind the home team here."

- Poll in Greg Cote's blog, 98 percent want you to sell the team... "Well, the team is not for sale. Of course I care. That means people are disappointed. But I know what we're doing. I just know we need to get a little bit down the road here to see what we've brought in. You probably don't even know the names of three or four of the players we have, that we've brought in. We have tried. We have energized this franchise. Does it matter? I can't believe fans want to come to a ballpark and watch you lose every night. We had to do something so it wouldn't be like that. We're going to have a little bit of a rough year because we have young guys."

- Should you have foreseen this 2 years ago... "I couldn't have foreseen any of this two years ago. I'm not that good."

- What about the negative things said about you... "I don't pay any attention to it frankly. I feel for them because they identified with Jose. I'm sure nobody loved Heath and his games that he lost and I'm sure Buehrle nobody really focused on him. Jose brought a lot of energy here. When Larry and Michael focused on the major league club with the best young talent in baseball they came up with the Toronto Blue Jays. And we absolutely raided their young player development system. Last year we had the 28th worst record for minor league development. We didn't have the players."

- What about trading your stars for minor leaguers... "You want to talk about it. We traded Josh Johnson who was going to leave this year. John Buck who wasn't helping us any. Bonifacio, I adored. But it's about Reyes. And for that I'm sorry. But in order to get us the five or six players we got from Toronto. In order to get you got to give."

- The Dolphins obviously took up issue with the Marlins... "That smear campaign. I'm sure it's just an effort to get a deal done. I hope the Dolphins get their deal. I want every team to thrive in South Florida."

- Why call it a smear campaign... "Using us for what? It has nothing to do with us. They want some funds, that's their business. We should have not been included."

- What's been the reaction to your letter... "I haven't gotten 98 percent of people wanting me to sell. I've had a bunch of phone calls from season ticket holders calling me and said 'Good for you. You finally said something.' Something needed to be said. And I know you follow what your editors want you to do. And I'm okay with that. And you can write as you see fit and I'm okay with that. But I think if we can take a little time out here and go up to Jupiter and I invite you to see who some of these players are. We got some spectacular young players. I got a text this afternoon from someone who said we lost a 7-6 game but all the young players were banging the crap out of the ball. Wait until you see Yelich and Fernandez and Marisnick and even the Hechavarria kid, and that's going to play well here too because he's a little Mr. Energy himself, too. Like Jose. Climb on the bandwagon and be positive about some of this that's going on here because in two years you're going to say 'What were we doing two years ago?'"

- Will you have to give into the no trade clause... "Who knows where we will be down the road. There are some free agents who may need it, but we have to wait and see."

- Will you have a salary ceiling... "There is no ceiling. This is a market. We have to worst TV revenue in baseball and we still have a few years before we can negotiate that. That will be very helpful. We're tied up until 2020 but the negotiations for that always start up before that."

- Will you go to Stanton with a no trade clause... "I don't think this is the year to go to Giancarlo with an offer. We have to let him play it out, let him feel comfortable. And we got the right guy in there now to manage this team. Mike Redmond knows how we operate and was part of his success here. Have you seen the flavor in our camp?

- Why wait on Stanton. Would send a message otherwise... "I want him to feel comfortable about stability here and what we're doing. We will reach out to him eventually."

November 14, 2012

Loria on trade: "We finished in last place. Figure it out."

Owner Jeffrey Loria, in Chicago for the baseball owners meetings, spoke with CBSSports.com baseball writer Jon Heyman Wednesday about the 12-team trade the Marlins made with the Blue Jays Tuesday night.

"We finished in last place. Figure it out,'' a defiant Loria told Heyman.

Loria also emphatically said he isn't selling the team.

"Absolutely not,'' Loria told Heyman. "That's more stupidity."

Loria, who turns 72 next Tuesday, took issue with the media coverage of the trade and suggested selling the team's veteran stars was the right course of action.

"We have to get better," Loria told Heyman. "We can't finish in last place. We finished in last place. That's unacceptable. We have to take a new course."

Loria had only positive words for Jose Reyes, who along with Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle are part of the 12-player trade that will save the Marlins $166 million once finalized.

"Wonderful guy. I love Jose Reyes," Loria told Heyman. 'What's not to love?"

August 22, 2012

Loria says his expectations for 2013 are high in final episode of The Franchise

Showtime aired its final episode of The Franchise Wednesday night and wrapped up a season of disappointment for the Marlins by giving us the voices of the players still around as well as a frustrated front office, which promised that there's not only enough talent still around to win next year, but expectations for 2013 should be high.

Owner Jeffrey Loria, filmed inside an empty Marlins Park after the team wrapped up their most recent home series against the Phillies by being shutout in three straight games and setting a new franchise-low with 30 consecutive scoreless innings, said he "realized early on it was broke and it had to be fixed."

"It's not happening this year, but we have an enormously successful core of young players, a new young catcher in [Rob] Brantly. I have very high hopes."

General manager Mike Hill said much of what we already knew -- that the Marlins simply didn't get enough out of Gaby Sanchez, Logan Morrison and Hanley Ramirez and that pitchers felt "like they had to be perfect."

Players echoed those sentiments.

"Almost everybody underachieved to some degree," catcher John Buck said. "We just didn't do what we were capable of doing and that's kind of all we had to do, which is what sort of made it so deflating."

Said pitcher Carlos Zambrano: "You can have the best coaching staff and the best players, but if we don't play good nothing will help us. It's our fault."

President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest weighed in with: "We put expectations on ourselves we thought were realistic and unfortunately they weren't realistic because we didn't even come close." 

But Beinfest then said: "There's a lot of good pieces, a lot things to build around. There's still a lot of talent here."

Of course, Beinfest and Hill may not be here next year to see that "talent."

> The biggest question on Marlins fans' minds -- if the team will spend money this off-season to upgrade -- remained unanswered.

The closest we got was this from president David Samson: "We need to let our fans know we care about winning as much as they do and we're going to keep trying as hard as they would want us to try."

And this line from Loria: "We are always striving to be winners."

> The rest of the episode centered on the arrival of Brantly, the role of pinch hitter Greg Dobbs (who ended the team's 30 inning scoreless streak), and new closer Steve Cishek, who went around people asking if they had ever heard of Steve Cishek.

At one point, Samson tells Brantly inside the Marlins clubhouse cafeteria: "We were talking about this trade and the owner is on the phone and you should just know -- it's no pressure -- he said 'We will not make this trade unless we get this kid Brantly.'... So you were wanted. That's a positive."

Brantly's response: "I'm honored."

> Manager Ozzie Guillen tells Showtime the toughest part of the season for him wasn't the June swoon or the dismantling of his team at the trade deadline. Nope, it was the embarrassment he suffered from his Fidel Castro comments.

"It was something I was accused and people were pointing at my face like I was a criminal when deep in my heart I know exactly what I say, when I say it and how I say it. Some people [took] advantage," Guillen said. "That's what hurt more than anything."

Guillen closes out the episode by saying the Marlins "have to make Miami a baseball town."

"It's going to be a lot of work," Guillen said. "But if they think they worked last year. I think this year is going to be harder."

> Heath Bell actually has one of the last lines in the episode and it's one that ought to get you fired up if you can forget what kind of season he had after signing a 3-year, $27 million deal.

"There's a lot of talent here. These young guys want to play and they want to win," Bell said. "Once we gel and come together we're going to be a force to be reckoned with."

April 09, 2012

Ozzie Guillen will return to Miami Tuesday to address Castro comments

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said prior to Monday’s game against the Phillies that he would travel back to Miami after the game and hold a press conference Tuesday to address the recent comments in a Time magazine article concerning Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

            Guillen was quoted in a recent online article by Time Magazine as saying he respected Castro for having been able to remain in power in Cuba as long as he has.

Guillen later apologized for the comment during the team’s road trip this past weekend to Cincinnati where he said: “I’m against the way he [Castro] treats people and the way [he has treated] his country for a long time. I’m against that 100 percent.”

“I was planning to do something Friday, but tomorrow we have the day off and I want to make everything clear so people can talk to me face to face,” Guillen said. “They can ask me whatever questions they want, and the sooner the better for the people, for the ball club and for me. I want to tell people what is going on in my mind and what I believe.”

Guillen said he has been struggling with the situation the past three days, and hasn’t been able to sleep.

The Marlins did not release an exact time for the press conference as of Monday morning, but Guillen said it would take place at Marlins Park.

“I want the people there,” Guillen said. “I feel embarrassed. I feel guilty not because I’m not lying, but because this thing hasn’t let me sleep for three days. Only my wife knows how bad it’s been last few days. I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want to be there by myself and I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say because everything I’m going to say is true.”

Guillen said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction and knew how deeply it would affect the Cuban community.

“I have to face it,” Guillen said. “I have to make people feel good about themselves. I will say what I said a couple of days ago. I don’t want to just make a statement and that’s it because I think when you do that, that’s a bunch of crap.

“I feel sad because I know I hurt a lot of people,” Guillen said. “I’m Latino. I live in Miami. I have a lot of friends, and players [that are Cuban]. They know who I am. They know how I feel.”

Guillen said he had not spoken to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria about it and didn't think this would affect his job status. He the saddest part for him was to apologize to Cuban broadcasting legend and Hall of Famer Felo Ramirez.

Ramirez, the Marlins Hall of Fame spanish radio announcer, did not wish to speak much about the situation but said he felt Guillen was doing the right thing by returning to Miami.

Guillen said he also apologized to Cuban-born Phillies pitcher Jose Contreras.

“Obviously it’s something that was going to affect people a lot and [Guillen] realizes that,” Ramirez said. “I think he will answer everything [in Miami].”

The ripple effect reached members of the Cuban community even in Philadelphia.

Phillies spanish radio announcer Rickie Ricardo, who was born in New York but whose family migrated from Cuba, said the situation was something that could be more damaging to the team’s image than anything negative on the field.

“Let’s hope Ozzie addresses it and clears things up,” Ricardo said. “That’s a subject that’s untouchable. This team could go 0-50 and it wouldn’t hurt the Cuban community as much as him saying something like that.”

 

May 25, 2011

Loria makes West Coast trip to keep eye on Marlins

SAN FRANCISCO -- Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said he didn't make it out to the West Coast last year with his team. But he made this trip.

Jeffrey Loria With his club just two games back of the Phillies entering the night, Loria talked about a few different topics before Tuesday's game -- including why he decided to make the trip.

"There's nothing going on," Loria said. "I see we have a really good chance to do very well and another set of eyes is always good to have around.

"We always got to remain ever vigilant of all aspects of the game and what goes on with this team, which is one of the reasons I'm traveling with this team right now. I want to make sure the things are supposed to be going on are going on. I'm just looking."

Before Tuesday's game, Loria spent a few moments chatting up former outfielder Cody Ross. The topic, he promises, wasn't cars. Last year, Ross said Loria promised the player on his team who won the NLCS MVP his red Ferrari.

"He likes revisionist history, what can I tell you," Loria said when asked about it Tuesday. "I said if we win the World Series. I don't even know how to say those letters in that order. NLCS is nice, but for me it's the World Series or bust."

So did he make a similar Ferrari promise this season?

"It's an old thing, and it didn't work," Loria said. "So, I have to come up with something else. As you know I love my players. I will find the appropriate response at the right time. For now, let them concentrate on winning."

Does the back end of the Marlins rotation concern him? "We know what Javi can do," Loria said. "He showed it to us the other day. He was dominant and that was a pretty tough club he faced. I always take the 162 game look. You have to throw the other stuff out."

Does closer Leo Nunez, the major league leader in saves, deserve an All-Star trip?

"He's focused. He's hungry. That's nice to see," Loria said. "He has the most saves in the league, that's pretty good. I think we need to watch it for another three or four weeks. I think we have to watch it and those performances will define itself.

Did he promise Mike Stanton a Ferrari if he hits a home run into the big glove left field?

"It has to stay in the pocket," Loria joked. "He's 21 years old and couldn't even rent a car last year. He's a pleasure to have around, amazing to watch. He's going to spray that ball over the field. Has he had 400 major league at-bats yet? But he's a quick learner. That's what's good."

May 24, 2011

Cody Ross still wants Jeffrey Loria's Ferrari (w/video)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Before the Marlins and Giants kicked off their three-game series Tuesday night at AT&T Park, Cody Ross made sure to walk over and say hello to his former boss, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

The two shared a few laughs and then a hug before Ross went back to slugging balls into the stands during batting practice.

“We didn’t talk about cars,’’ Loria said. “He just came over to say hello."

Ross, who hit .265 with 80 home runs and 297 RBI in 593 games for the Marlins before he was awarded on a waiver claim to the Giants last Aug.21, is still hoping Loria changes his mind about giving him his red Ferrari.

Last spring, before the Marlins revamped their outfield, fired their manager and watched Ross help lead the Giants to the World Series, Loria made a promise to his players Ross still hasn’t forgotten about.

“He came to us in spring training and told us if you are the NLCS MVP he would give us his red Ferrari,’’ Ross said. “So, after I won it, I shot him a text message and said, ‘I did it. Are you going to hold up your end of the bargain and give me that red Ferrari?’ He kind of chuckled, laughed back and said, ‘You have to be a Marlin to do it.’

“I’m still hoping one of these days he’ll give it to me. ‘Thanks for all your hard work when you were a Marlin.’"

Ross, 30, doesn’t have Loria’s Ferrari, but he’s still collecting his share of rewards with the world champions. His rise from Marlins cast-off to NLCS MVP landed him a one-year, $6.3 million deal this offseason and plenty of love from the Giants faithful, who make sure to spoil him whenever he’s in the city.

When he returned to his hometown of Carlsbad, N.M., Ross said was given the key to the city and the town designated a “Cody Ross Day."

“I haven’t had to pay for too many meals in this city,’’ said Ross, who came into Tuesday’s game hitting .256 with three homers and 11 RBI in 29 games.

“Everybody in the city, everywhere you go, everyone is wearing Giants hats, Giants shirts, [Buster] Posey jerseys and [Tim] Lincecum jerseys, shirts. This is a small city — what, seven or eight square miles — and everybody here is Giants fans. Everywhere you go everyone still says, ‘Congratulations!’ and ‘Thank you!’ It’s definitely different than South Beach."

February 15, 2011

Marlins take BP, feed workers at new ballpark

It was a fun morning out at the new Marlins ballpark on Tuesday.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and team president David Samson helped install the first seat about 10 rows behind the third base dugout. The official location: Section 19, Row H, Seat 12. The seat, which is red, will be the only red seat in the stadium when it is expected to open for play on March 1, 2012. The rest of the seats will be blue.

Samson said the first games that will be played at the stadium next spring are college and pro exhibitions. Personally, it would only be fitting if the University of Miami played the Marlins in the first official game seeing as its the site where the Orange Bowl once stood.

Loria said the stadium was about 60 percent completed on Tuesday and expected it to be ready in time for Opening Day.

As for the rest of Tuesday's event, six players were on hand for batting practice: Hanley Ramirez, Chris Coghlan, Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton, John Buck and Gaby Sanchez. Ramirez took the first cuts and belted a couple that would have been home runs. Morrison belted a few into the upper deck in right and Stanton literally hit one out of the stadium entirely. The best part: watching stadium workers played the role of outfielders and shagging fly balls. Some workers were diving in the dirt to make catches.

After BP ended, the Marlins took a tour of their future clubhouse and then fed a group of about 700 stadium workers lunch. On the menu: lechon (shredded pork), black beans and rice and yuca.

Here are a few videos that captured the scene:

- Watch Samson and Loria install the seat and sit in it.

- Scenes from batting practice and interviews with players

- A tour of the stadium and a view from the press box:

June 23, 2010

Samson, Beinfest weigh in on Fredi firing, future

BALTIMORE -- Marlins President David Samson and President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest spoke with reporters for 20 minutes before the game here at Camden Yards. For the complete press conference, click on our audio link.

Samson's opening statement: "Today was a difficult day. I want to say from the outset that today's decision made by this organization, a decision that was made with me, Larry, [general manager] Mike [Hill] and [owner] Jeffrey [Loria], was based on nothing having to do with Hanley Ramirez and the situation that took place with Hanley earlier this season. As a management team we were completely supportive in terms with how that situation was handled. In addition, it had nothing to do with any lineup card issues that happened at all. This decision was made in an effort for this team to accomplish what we want it to accomplish going forward and our continued desire to become one of eight [playoff teams]. Any time a change like this is made, it's an adjustment for the players and the staff."

Samson on Fredi Gonzalez and why the Marlins decided to fire him today: "Fredi is a very, very good man and a good manager. We felt today was the right day to do it. There is no perfect day to do this. Whether you've won three of four lost eight of ten. Today was just the day we decided to do it."

Samson on the plan moving forward: "As far as going forward, Edwin [Rodriguez] is the interim manager. We are beginning and have begun today a search for the next manager. There will be internal candidates, there will be external candidates. Before any speculation goes forward, Bobby Valentine is a candidate for this position. He was spoken to by me today. I called him today and told him that Fredi had been dismissed and we were interested -- Larry, Mike and I -- in the very near future about opening in a managerial capacity".

"In addition, there are a list of candidates. The reason I addressed Bobby by name is because of the speculation that has been out there for so long. As president of this team, the search in our minds commenced today and the first contact I had with Bobby had today. The relationship Bobby and Jeffrey have had as friends is not relevant in our managerial search at all."

"As far as our expectations for the rest of this year, on the field and off the field, they do not change. We stood by our thought of making the playoffs and there's no question I feel very responsible today. That's why it's not a good day for me personally. Because I feel I've failed completely to date, on the field, off the field and it's something I take very seriously. It is a job that we all have to make this team better as we get ready to move into the new ballpark that's being built and when the performance isn't what our evaluators tell us it should be, then I take that responsibility along with Larry and Mike."

Samson was asked why firing Fredi was the answer: "We felt at this time, this was the proper move was to get a different voice. As far as our timeline, we are definitely active and we do not expect the interim tag to last very long. We will go through the search, we will have candidates, we will follow the commissioner's rules on interviewing 100 percent and we hope to have the interim situation resolved in the very near future.

"There is no perfect day, you just a get feeling that builds over time and just decide when you are trying to compete for a playoff spot and the clock turns to mid to late June, it's time to do it."

Samson on when was the decision made: "The final decision was made within the last couple of days and Larry and Mike were able to present a plan to me and Jeffrey that makes absolute sense. As far as Edwin, he's an important person in our organization, a baseball man that come in here and be seemless, knows the players and it would be a way for us not skip a beat.

Samson on what the Marlins are looking for in their next manager: "You want a manager who has the ability to lead our team. How do you react in certain situations? How do you interact with the front office? How do you lead 25 guys to where we want them to be?"

Samson on reaching out to Bobby Valentine: "He's an external candidate, one of the external candidates I had to reach out to. There will be more. We've been around enough and know enough people in this game. It will not have the deliberate pace maybe other managerial searches have had. We'd really like to have a permanent situation in place as soon as possible. We're confident in list we've put together, it has the type of people we're looking at."

Samson on the timetable for finding a permanent replacement: "We are being careful, but expedient. Before the All-Star break is a very fair thing to say."

LARRY BEINFEST

Opening statement: "On our personal note, all of us a little bit, earned a warm relationship with Fredi and it made this extremely difficult decision. We also recognize there are some personnel challenges on this team. I'll echo what David said. We feel like we failed.

"It's not a reflection or Fredi or Carlos [Tosca] or Jim Presley if we did not give them the right personnel. We share that burden and it's been a difficult day for me. On the flip side of that, though, this team seems to be stuck in neutral and our competitors are on the accelerator. The Phillies, Mets and Braves are on the accelerator and we seem to be a little bit stuck. So we are looking at our personnel and a leadership change to hopefully get us on the accelerator and that's a big part of what we did today."

Beinfest on Fredi: "As far as Fredi's managerial skills and what he meant to this organization, he did a terrific job here. He will manage again in the big leagues and he deserves to manage in the big leagues. It's been a very difficult day. As we told the players it's time to move on and play baseball. We're going to do our job in the office to find the right mix of personnel and continue down that path. Edwin will lead us in this interim position, win ballgames and help us stay in this race."

Beinfest on whether Fredi is to blame for the bullpen woes: "There's no question I'm going to take responsibility for the bullpen. I don't think its a reflection on Fredi at all. It's definitely a personnel issue. This was just an overall decision to see if we can get this team clicking. We recognize the issues we have. We've been in the market looking for relievers and we'll continue to do so. We are fully aware with our eyes open of the challenges with personnel."

Beinfest on whether the change was made to save the season: "We want to try and get it going. We're a couple games under. I really got concerned and started speaking to David and Jeffrey after the Rangers series. Something was missing. We're at the ballpark every day and in tune with the team and you could just tell there was something missing there. Maybe we weren't going to get the engine going the way we needed to. That's really when we had concerns about pushing things along.

Beinfest on if previous MLB managerial experience will be important in the hiring process: "It's not [required] at all. We're looking for somebody to put it together and get these guys moving forward and playing at a level we think they're capable of playing at. We've moved very quickly already to put together a list and we're going to move very quickly in the next couple days.

Beinfest on how Fredi took the news: "He was very professional, very appreciative. Fredi sometimes is more concerned with everybody else. It was a very difficult meeting. He was very professional, gracious."

Beinfest on why hitting coach Jim Presley was also fired: "With these type of changes it's an opportunity to have a different voice. We have a different team, a few young guys who have a relationship with John Mallee. We thought where he could up and maybe move those relationships along quickly, the Stantons, the Gaby Sanchezes, people he's worked with in the minor leagues. We thought it was an opportunity to make a change."

May 09, 2008

Lineups and More

NatsWASHINGTON -- Getting ready for some baseball here in the Nation's Capital. Jeffrey Loria and David Samson are here checking out their old team (one country removed) and it hasn't rained in some time -- although the tarp is now covering the infield (5:40 p.m.).

It is chilly. Look for some of your favorite Marlins in jackets and toques (that's hockey/Canadian for 'wool cap'). It's now 59 degrees in DC.

As promised, here is tonight's starting lineup for the Marlins: CF Ross; LF Hermida; SS Ramirez; 3B Cantu; 2B Uggla; LF Gonzalez; 1B Helms; C Treanor; P Nolasco.

Exposbanner The Expos: 2B Lopez; SS Guzman; 3B Zimmerman; 1B Johnson; CF Milledge; RF Kearns; LF Pena; C Nieves; P Redding.

-- Mike Jacobs is obviously still out of the lineup with his sore left quad, although he says he wants to play. "It's out of my hands,'' he said. Says Fredi Gonzalez: "If he had a bone sticking out of his leg he would say that. And I love him for it. But I have to be careful with him.''

-- LF Josh Willingham took BP today and looks on track to rejoin the team (he's on the 15 day DL with a sore back) next week in the Natti.

-- Various injury updates from the Marlins PR department: Alejandro De Aza is jogging, hitting, etc; Josh Johnson threw a 25 pitch BP session today, next one coming on Thursday; Sergio Mitre is up to a light toss; Henry Owens threw a BP today, as did Anibal Sanchez.

-- More as we go....