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.”

 

August 05, 2010

Marlins sign veteran infielder Chad Tracy

Hey fans,

Andre Fernandez filling in for Manny and Clark today. Here's some news on a move the Marlins made today:

   The Marlins signed free agent infielder Chad Tracy Thursday in
the hopes of adding depth at the third base position.

   Tracy, 30, was recently with the New York Yankees' Triple-A
affiliate, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, before being released last
week. Tracy began the season with the Cubs, and hit .250 in 28
games before being sent down to the minors. At Scranton, Tracy
hit .324 with six home runs and 18 RBI in 68 plate appearances.

   Tracy, a left-handed batter, spent six seasons with the
Diamondbacks and is a career .279 hitter.

   "I was sitting at home [in Charlotte] when the Marlins
called,'' Tracy said. "I didn't have any idea they'd call.
There's always possibilities all over the place and different
variables.''

   Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said before Thursday's game
that Tracy will be used primarily off the bench, and should get
some playing time at third base.

   "This year, [while managing in the minors], I saw him when we
played the Cubs Triple-A team in Iowa,'' Marlins manager Edwin
Rodriguez said. "In that series, he had eight or nine hits. He's
a very good hitter. A good defender, playable at first or
third.''

   The move came a day after the Marlins optioned outfielder
Bryan Petersen and catcher Brad Davis to Triple-A New Orleans,
and activated catcher Brett Hayes from the disabled list.

   Tracy said he'd gladly conform to any role the Marlins give
him.

   "It's whatever I can do to help,'' Tracy said. "The reason I
left the Yankees was because I didn't want to play in minors
anymore. I'm happy to be back up.''

September 11, 2009

Marlins focused on catching Phillies, not Rockies

With three weeks left in the season, the Marlins are more focused on catching the division-leading Phillies instead of the wild-card leading Rockies. Why? They've got six games left against the Phillies and the Rockies control their own destiny.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said his team was scoreboard watching in New York Thursday night and wincing as the Phillies rallied with five runs in the ninth before falling against the Nationals.

Cody Ross said the Marlins believe their previous calls might be what ultimately puts them over the top.

"It seems like everytime this point in the year we find ourselves in the same spot and hopefully now that we have had those experiences and a couple games under our belts we can prosper this year and move forward instead of the other way," outfielder Ross said.

"We fell short the last couple years and that's not a good feeling. Nobody in here the last couple seasons after the year was over was saying that was good run, nice going. That's not what we're about. We want to go out and we want to play in October."

IDENTITY THEFT: Even professional baseball players can fall victim to identity theft.

Reliever Kiko Calero is the latest. The Marlins reliever received an unexpected phone call from an Arizona state detective Thursday asking him to identify himself after police stopped a man on Phoenix freeway who presented a fake Puerto Rican driver's license with Calero's name on it.

The 41-year-old man, identified by an Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman as a Mexican citizen, was pulled over for having a low tire. When he presented a license and social security card with Calero's digits, authorities quickly became suspicious.

Fingerprint confirmation and a criminal history check identified the driver as Oscar Corral. He was arrested for possession of forged documents.

Calero said he had his wallet stolen while he was living in Puerto Rico in 2000, but never called social security because he thought nothing was going to happen. "This was the first time anybody used my identity that I know of," Calero said. "Now, there could be more than one person who bought or copied my ID. It's going to be a headache. But I've been told I'll be ok."

> Chris Volstad will start Sunday in place of Rick VandenHurk. Fredi Gonzalez, however, was non-commital about starting Volstad after Sunday.

June 03, 2009

Randy Johnson goes for No. 300 tonight

For the past 21 years, Randy Johnson has been one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball. Tonight, he'll attempt to become the 23rd pitcher to reach 300 career victories when he pitches against the Nationals in Washington.

Randy Johnson will attempt to become the 23rd pitcher in MLB history to reach 300 wins But if he isn't able to accomplish the feat this week, his next attempt will come against the Marlins at Land Shark Stadium next Monday night.

Johnson, 45, is 4-4 with a 5.71 ERA this season. He began his career with Montreal Expos and has pitched for the Diamondbacks, Astros, Mariners and Yankees. He is 4-3 with a 2.99 ERA against the Nationals since they moved over from Montreal.

His career numbers against the Marlins are even scarier. He's 8-1 in 13 career starts against the Fish with a 1.78 ERA, 117 Ks and just 23 walks.

I wrote about Johnson and his chase for 300 in my Sunday baseball column and whether or not he'll be the last pitcher in baseball to achieve the feat. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports wrote an interesting piece on Johnson's road to 300 and how much his former teammates might or might not be happy when he reaches the record.

Oddly enough, if The Big Unit doesn't get the job done against the Nationals, he could pitch against Marlins rookie left-hander Sean West on Monday. West, who is getting the start tonight versus the Brewers, had the same agent as Johnson -- former MLB pitcher Bobby Witt. West (6-8, 240) was nicknamed 'The Little Unit' by Witt before the Marlins drafted him in the first round four years ago. West said Johnson is the pitcher he looks up to most. 

May 07, 2009

Report: Manny Ramirez tests positive for PEDs

Move over A-Rod. There's another hefty slugger joining you on baseball's busted list.

Manny Ramirez The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Major League Baseball will announce later today that Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and will be suspended for 50 games.

In his first full season as a Dodger, Ramirez is batting .348 with six home runs and 20 RBIs. L.A. has jumped out to a 21-8 record -- best in the majors -- and a 13-0 record at home, which set the modern major league record for a home winning streak to start a season.

But we will have to see how the Dodgers survive this one.

The 50-game suspension will cost Ramirez $7.7 million, 31% of his $25-million salary because players in violation of baseball's drug policy are not paid during suspensions.

The Dodgers are set to visit the Marlins May 15-17.

April 30, 2009

Marlins writing letter to MLB about Mets delay tactics

The Marlins weren’t happy with the way the Mets took their sweet time Wednesday getting pinch hitter Omir Santos to the plate with the game in the balance in the bottom of the ninth. And now, apparently, they’re doing something about it.

“We will talk to major league baseball about it,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters before Thursday’s game at Wrigley Field. “I don’t know if you can do anything, I don’t know if you can get a clock on it. It’s gamesmanship. But Larry [Beinfest] is going to write a letter. We’ll see where it goes from there.”

A few minutes ticked away Wednesday with closer Matt Lindstrom on the mound waiting for someone to step out of the Mets' dugout with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Santos, who was in the bullpen catching, finally made it to the plate and popped out to shortstop to end the game. The Marlins won 4-3.

But apparently, there was more to the story after all. Mets manager Jerry Manuel acknowledged afterward he went with Santos on purpose – because he was indeed trying to throw Lindstrom off his game. According to the New York Times, Santos stopped on the long way in from the Mets bullpen and took six or seven swings in the clubhouse to stretch it out further.

Stay tuned. We'll see if Major League Baseball decides to take action.

April 25, 2009

Lindstrom: "I have to mix my pitches better"

Matt Lindstrom didn't get a good night's sleep Friday and he didn't receive any supportive phone calls from friends around the league after his meltdown against the Phillies. The life of a closer can feel pretty lonely at times.

Matt Lindstrom The 6-4, 210-pound hard throwing right-hander is learning -- among other things in his new role -- that coming into a ninth inning situation can be hard. But the good news for Marlins fans, who unleashed their venom on Lindstrom on the airwaves and on message boards, is that the 29-year old felt like he learned something last night after spending a few extra hours watching himself on video replays. 

"Last night was embarrassing for myself. No excuses. I just didn’t get it done," Lindstrom said from his locker Saturday, making sure to answer every question from reporters (even if all of them pertained to his worst night in baseball). "But I know what I have to do now to have more success -- and that’s mix my pitches better and stop getting behind hitters, giving them a hitter’s count."

"The only real explanation I have [for the wildness] was that is it was tough to harness [the fastball]. I felt good. My release point seemed like it was there. My ball just had an unusual little late life and cut on it. I’d get behind and I’d have to come with strikes. I didn’t utilize my breaking ball enough. I think I started with the four hitter and the first time I threw [the breaking ball] was to the nine guy. I just got to mix my pitches a little better."

For what it's worth, Marlins fans might want to cut Lindstrom a little slack. Friday's outing was just his 13th opportunity in a save situation in his three seasons in the majors. The two home runs he gave up? Before Friday, he'd only surrendered three in 143 appearances. And, this was the Phillies he was pitching against.

The bottomline is his fastball wasn't working and when he tried to throw it for strikes, the Phillies were sitting on it. "There’s probably quite a few pitches I few I wish I could have had back, ones I didn’t throw with quite as much conviction as I would have liked to," Lindstrom said. "The problem was I think I had about six inches of cut on my four seemer. It started in off the middle third and then breaking and [catcher John] Baker would be going like this [extending his arms to catch it]. It was frustrating. Then, I had to kind of ease one in there just to throw a freaking strike. That’s not going to cut it – especially when these guys are timing it."

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he had a talk with Lindstrom before Saturday's game in the weight room. But the talk wasn't about baseball. “This guy has only had 13 opportunities to save games in three years,” Gonzalez said. “You aren’t going to create that ninth inning stuff that goes on in the seventh. The adrenaline, 30,000 people screaming, facing the middle of the lineup. He’s got to feel that and get that.”

Gonzalez said while the option was there Friday to stick with Leo Nunez, who retired the top of the Phillies order 1-2-3 in the eighth, the only thing he was thinking about heading into the ninth was giving Lindstrom (who had five days off between outings) a chance to experience the ninth.

"You can [go with Nunez]," Gonzalez said. "But don’t you want to try and develop your closer? Don't you want to develop a guy whose only had 13 opportunities to save games in three years? You got to develop other pieces. Yeah, you could run Nunez out there. But he’s our guy that we’re going to go to."

Gonzalez said he believes Lindstrom has all the ingredients the Marlins want in a closer. "Stuff wise he's got it. The big arm, 96 miles per hour. His breaking pitch is being developed to be an above average pitch. His two seamer is working," Gonzalez said. "Now, he needs to develop the other stuff that comes with winning games."

April 10, 2009

Sheffield trying to win one more ring with Mets

Hello Fish Bytes bloggers. This is Manny Navarro and I'm making my Marlins debut.

Gary Sheffield Just wanted to share a Q&A I had with former Marlin Gary Sheffield before tonight's game against the Mets. Sheffield, 40, is trying to put together one good final season with New York after being released by the Tigers after hitting .178 in Grapefruit League play. Sheffield is the centerpiece for my Sunday baseball debut. But before the story comes out this weekend, I wanted to share what Sheffield shared with me and another local reporter before the game.

Q: Your back, close to home with a new team. It has to be an exciting weekend for you?
A: I got 41 family members coming up. It is exciting, especially being here where I won my World Series. It was a great, great situation for me here and just to be able to come back is special for me.

Q: Talk about the opportunity to play with the Mets after what happened with Detroit
A: I feel great. I'm going out early every day. I put in my work, got prepared to just DH with the Tigers. I put on a lot of weight just to stay strong. Now, circumstances changed. I have to be ready to play in the field if I want to play. So, I have to drop some pounds and get my wind up under me.

Q: You look like you were working really hard before the game. What are you doing?
A: I go in the cage and hit 50 straight curve balls. Then I go and catch flyballs. Then I do conditioning, running and core training.

Q: The fact this team wanted you, there is still people who believe you can hit the ball, bring a lot to the clubhouse. What do you feel you can bring?
A: Over the years I got a lot of knowledge from playing this game. I've been in the toughest situations. I've played in New York before. Anytime you play in New York, everything else is easy. I achieved that. I went into Detroit. Unfortunately, I got hurt. I was having a monster season and unfortunately I fell on my elbow and separated my shoulder, tore my labrum. I tried to get through it. But it wasn't a wise thing to come back early from.

Q: Did you go in the other clubhouse today?
A: I went over there to get a haircut. I went with one my familiar guys -- Hugo. He remembers how to cut my hair.

Gary Sheffield with the Marlins Q: Remember what it was like smoking that World Series cigar here in '97?
A: It was great to be a part of something like that, something you built and watched grow and that management talked about manifested into what we thought it would. Unfortunately, we had to break it up and not have an opportunity to repeat. Those are things you remember most.

Q: What do you remember about your experience here, when you first got here?
A: At that time I just came off winning a batting title and trying to have a bigger season than that. They unloaded the team for financial reasons and brought me over. It was just one of those things where everything was coming 100 miles per hour. I was young. I got called in right away and told we're going to win here in five years, be patient with the losing. I was warned at the beginning. I was prepared for what was at stake. When somebody tells you, you're going to lose for awhile, it's hard to take as a ballplayer. You don't want to lose at anything. Even though we didn't have the horses, in our minds we felt if we played with the right kind of desire, we could overcome anything.

Q: How wild was it to see what the Rays did in your hometown of Tampa last year?
 A: It was wild. My son had the mohawk going too. The city was -- I'd never seen it like that except for when the Buccaneers won a championship. It was kind of the same atmosphere. The management has done a great job over there. They brough in B.J. [Upton] and [Evan] Longoria. The nucleus they're working with is strong.

Q: Could you play in a pinch hitter type role?
A: I came here with the understanding of being prepared for that. I know I'm not the marquee guy anymore. I just have to play my role and do it the best that I can.

Q: What's it like spending the entire off season with 499 home runs? Does it drive you crazy?
A: No. It's nothing really to talk about unless somebody brings it up to me. I've achieved everything I've wanted to in this game. I never thought I would be able to achieve all my dreams -- to play for the Mets one day and that happened to come true. It just so happens I'm knocking on the door at 500. I never thought this would happen. I was always seeking Fred McGriff numbers. I always felt like if I could be where Fred McGriff was at numbers wise, I'd be a pretty good player and that was my biggest thing.

Q: How much more do you want to do?
A: It's about winning championships for me. Personal goals, I've achieved that. I have to find other things to motivate me. When it comes to my personal things, just living out this dream was my last one. I got the experience, I got to wear this unifrom and now it's just a matter of winning a World Series. It's always been about winning a World Series. This is what it's all about now.

September 21, 2008

Marlins-Phillies home finale; Hanley takes BP, but will not start

Hey guys,

Andre Fernandez here filling in for Clark and Mike today at the ball park as the Marlins wrap up the home slate against the Phils.

Suffice to say if we thought the Fish couldn't lose before last night's game, they can afford it even less from here on. A loss today would put them 6 1/2 behind Philly and at least 5, maybe 6 behind the Mets.

A win keeps their faint hopes alive - 4 1/2 behind Philly, 4 or 5 behind Mets with a 3-gamer next weekend at Shea.

Hanley Ramirez is still not in the starting lineup but he did take batting practice for the first time since he's been out and hit a couple out and others toward the warning track. Ramirez has missed the past three games and is expected sit out again today, although he said if he felt good enough, he'd like to possibly come in and pinch hit.

Here are the starting lineups for today.

FLORIDA (81-73)

1. Cameron Maybin cf

2. John Baker c

3. Jorge Cantu 3b

4. Mike Jacobs 1b

5. Dan Uggla 2b

6. Josh Willingham lf

7. Cody Ross rf

8. Alfredo Amezaga ss

9. Chris Volstad p

PHILADELPHIA (87-68)

1. Jimmy Rollins ss

2. Chase Utley 2b

3. Jayson Werth rf

4. Ryan Howard 1b

5. Pat Burrell lf

6. Shane Victorino cf

7. Gregg Dobbs 3b

8. Carlos Ruiz c

9. Jaime Moyer p

September 08, 2008

Uggla and Hanley on verge of history

There has been a lot written about the Marlins’ ability to hit home runs this season, and now they are on the verge of pulling off a rare feat and rewriting a bit of baseball history.

            Shortstop Hanley Ramirez and second baseman Dan Uggla are about to go into the record book as the most powerful single season middle infielders to ever play for the same team.

When Ramirez hits his next home run – his 30th –Uggla and Ramirez will become the first second baseman and shortstop to hit 30 home runs or more each for the same team in the same season.

            It’s never been done.

There have been only a handful of times in history that a shortstop and second baseman from any team hit 30 or more homers in the same season, including last season when Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins hit 30 home runs and Uggla hit 31 for the Marlins.

But the idea of it happening for the same team seemed ludicrous until Ramirez and Uggla showed up for the Marlins two years ago. They came close a year ago when Uggla hit 31 and Ramirez hit 29 home runs.

Uggla hit his 30th homer on Saturday, and Ramirez has 19 games left in which to reach 30. Earlier in the season, it appeared as if Uggla and Ramirez might be the first pair of middle infielders on the same team to reach 40. They both went to the All-Star Game with 23 home runs each, and had a legitimate shot at 40 each, but their home run numbers have dropped considerably in the second half of the season.

            Ramirez can give the Marlins another distinction when he hits No. 30, joining first baseman Mike Jacobs and Uggla as the only three infielders on a National League team to hit 30 or more home runs. Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada and Eric Chavez were the only other trio to pull off the 30-homer seasons for the 2001 Oakland Athletics.