July 12, 2015

Dee Gordon could return soon after All-Star break

He'll miss the All-Star Game. But Dee Gordon may not miss much time with the Marlins.

The Marlins are hopeful that Gordon, who dislocated his left thumb on Saturday, could return to the lineup when the team heads out west following the Philadelphia series after the All-Star break.

"We're optimistic," said Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations. "We're not going to place him on the DL at the moment. He probably won't be available that first series after the break, but hopefully shortly thereafter."

Hill said it wasn't even deemed necessary to perform a MRI on the thumb to determine if Gordon sustained any ligament damage.

"He had range of motion and decent strength given the injury, so no MRI was necessary," Hill said. "to as bad as it could have been. We're optimistic it shouldn't be a long-term issue for him. DL may not be necessary. Dee's going to do everything in his power to avoid that. We're hopeful we don't go that far."

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With the July 31 trade deadline right around the corner, Hill was non-specific about the Marlins' intentions -- buy, sell or stand pat -- leading up to that point.

"In our position, you're always working dual paths," Hill said. "As we work towards the 31st, if there's a deal  that makes sense for us moving forward, we'll obviously entertain it. If there's something that works for us, we'll pursue it."

Don't look for the Marlins to make any radical moves. Mat Latos, Dan Haren and Brad Hand could be dealt, along with a few others. But the Marlins aren't planning any mass sell-off.

"We still believe in this core," Hill said. "We have controllable pieces that are talented. You look at our injured right fielder (Giancarlo Stanton). Our left fielder (Christian Yelich) is starting to play well. Our starting center fielder (Marcell Ozuna) has had to take a step back, but we're confident he'll be back. Arguably the best double play duo in baseball up the middle, with Dee and (Adeiny) Hechavarria. (Martin) Prado will be back healthy, but a true pro. And our young catcher (J.T. Realmuto) is here and is showing that he is going to be a frontline catcher for many years to come. Those are everyday pieces that we're excited about. Our thought process hasn't changed. Our evaluation process hasn't changed with any of those players. Still supreme belief in their ability, their talent."

July 11, 2015

MIami Marlins irked with latest All-Star snub

The Marlins went from having two starters in the All-Star Game to having no players at all. And they're not happy about it.

“Fans should have an opportunity to see an active player from every team, and that’s wrong,” said Marlins president David Samson.

Samson voiced his displeasure with the snubbing after the Marlins' All-Star second baseman, Dee Gordon, dislocated his left thumb on Saturday, costing him a trip to Cincinnati for the Midsummer Classic. With All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton sidelined with an injury, that left the Marlins without a representative for Tuesday's game.

Both Samson and Marlins manager Dan Jennings felt shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria should have been chosen to replace Gordon and give Miami at least one active player on the team. But Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who is managing the N.L. All-Stars, quickly named Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki as Gordon's replacement.

And so for the second time in four years, the Marlins will have no player at the All-Star Game. They were shut out in 2012, as well, when Stanton -- their lone All-Star that year -- underwent knee surgery and didn't go. The Marlins weren't happy then.

They're not happy now.

Samson said the issue needs to be taken up at the league level to make sure that every team has at least one active, healthy player on the All-Star team.

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After indicating earlier on Saturday that third baseman Martin Prado could come off the DL on Sunday, Jennings said after the Marlins' 14-3 win over the Reds that Prado would instead be activated after the All-Star break.

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Adam Conley's stay with the Marlins lasted all of one game. Conley, who picked up the win in what was his first big-league start on Saturday, was optioned back to Triple A New Orleans following the game.

The Marlins announced that infielder Donovan Solano would be called up Sunday.

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And finally, if you didn't see Cole Gillespie's sensational, over-the-shoulder Willie Mays catch on Saturday, check it out:

Miami Marlins All-Star Dee Gordon dislocates thumb

The All-Star Game on Tuesday will already be missing one Marlin, Giancarlo Stanton. Now it looks like the number of no-shows will be two.

Dee Gordon left Saturday's game in the seventh inning when he dislocated his left thumb on a hands-first slide into first base. Gordon was attended to immediately by team athletic trainer Sean Cunningham and, upon his return to the dugout, slammed his helmet in frustration.

Gordon, like Stanton, were voted onto the All-Star team. But Stanton is already out with a hand injury of his own and, now, If Gordon is unable go, the Marlins could be left without a representative. It wouldn't be the first time.

The Marlins weren't represented at the 2012 All-Star Game after their lone selection, Stanton, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery.

Martin Prado could return to lineup on Sunday; Henderson Alvarez on brink of rehab stint, Jose Fernandez to make first start after break, plus more Marlins news and notes

The Marlins might not have to wait until after the All-Star break to welcome the return of third baseman Martin Prado. He could be back with them on Sunday.

"There's a chance he could be in the lineup (Sunday)," said manager Dan Jennings. "I think Martin's ready. I think his bat's ready."

Prado has been on the disabled list since June 15 with a right shoulder sprain.

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Henderson Alvarez will likely begin a minor-league rehab assignment with Single A Jupiter on either Sunday or Monday. Alvarez, who has been on the DL since May 23 with right shoulder inflammation, threw a bullpen session on Friday.

Jennings said Alvarez would start out by throwing 45 pitches for the Hammerheads.

"Everything's positive, trending the right way," Jennings said of Alvarez, the Marlins' Opening Day starter. "I think we're moving in a big hurry towards him beginning his rehab -- Sunday or Monday -- in Jupiter."

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Jose Fernandez will get the first start after the All-Star break for the Marlins. Beyond that, the rotation becomes murky, mainly due to the uncertainty surrounding Mat Latos. Latos was scratched from Saturday's start against the Reds due to bruising and swelling on his right foot.

Latos said he thinks he'll be OK to pitch after the All-Star break.

"Nothing's broken, so nothing's serious," Latos said.

Latos was sitting in the dugout during Thursday's game when a foul ball off the bat of Christian Yelich struck his foot.

"Got hit in the toes," Latos said. "It sounds styupid just to say it, but it it what it is They're just really swollen. The whole underneath of both my toes are black and blue. If I can't walk, I can't pitch."

Latos has battled numerous injuries this season. Asked if the rash of injuries have made this a frustrating season for him, Latos replied:  "Its actually kind of comical when you look at it. Im in the dugout watching a ballgame and I get hit with a line drive on my toes. What else can I do other than stay in (the clubhouse during the game) or wrap myself in bubble wrap and sit in the dugout?"

The Marlins called up left-hander Adam Conley from Triple A New Orleans to make the emergency start Saturday. Conley, who was up with the Marlins briefly earlier in the season and made one relief outing, will be making his first major-league start today.

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Backup infielder Don Kelly, who has been on the disabled list since April with a broken finger, revealed Saturday that he has a "significant tear" in his right elbow and is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Tommy John surgery is a possibility.

Kelly said he was playing through elbow discomfort before a ground ball broke his finger.

"If it was (just) the finger, I probably would have been back in four weeks," Kelly said. "When I came back from the finger, we got an MRI (on the elbow) and had a significant tear."

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Casey McGehee, who doubled off the wall in a pinch-at-bat on Friday in his first game back for the Marlins, is starting at third base for them today.

Lineups:

Marlins: 1. Dee Gordon, 2b; 2. Christian Yelich, lf; 3. Adeiny Hechavarria, ss; 4. Justin Bour, 1b; 5. Casey McGehee, 3b; 6. Cole Gillespie, cf; 7. J.T. Realmuto, c; 8. Ichiro Suzuki, rf; 9. Adam Conley, p.

Reds: 1. Brandon Phillips, 2b; 2. Joey Votto, 1b; 3. Todd Frazier, 3b; 4. Jay Bruce, rf; 5. Marlon Byrd, lf; 6. Brayan Pena, c; 7. Eugenio Suarez, ss; 8. Raisel Iglesias, p. 9. Billy Hamilton, cf.

July 10, 2015

Marlins manager Dan Jennings has fond memories of Ken "The Snake" Stabler

Miami Marlins manager Dan Jennings revered Ken Stabler even before he got to know the quarterback on a personal level. After all, there's no bigger fan of Alabama football than Jennings, and Stabler was the quarterback for the Crimson Tide in the 1960s when Jennings was growing up there.

But after Jennings became friends with Stabler through a mutual acquaintance, his admiration for him grew even greater.


Stabler"I have some great memories of times with him when I was a young man, and some stories," Jennings said Friday, one day following the death of the Oakland Raiders' star quarterback in the 1970s. "And we had some fun. He was kind of the first big-name guy I was around in any capacity. He lived a fun life. He played hard and he lived hard."

Their friendship came about after the older brother of Jennings' best high-school friend married Stabler's sister. Jennings said he and Stabler's Alabama hometowns were about 10 miles apart. As a result, Jennings said "I've known Snake since I was a 16-year-old kid and had some fun with him over time. It's a tragic loss for a guy who was a winner."

Jennings said he remembers the time Stabler opened a country and western bar in Mobile, a place called Diamondbacks.

"It was about the time I turned 21 and I had some fond memories in there thanks to The Snake," Jennings said, laughing as he told the story. "Didn't meet my wife there. She didn't know that side of me, or I wouldn't be married to her."

More than anything, though, Jennings said he just remembered Stabler being a winner.

"He was beat up and he battled," Jennings said. " But, boy oh boy, when he got the ball with less than two minutes to go, he had a knack for winning. Certain guys win for a reason, and he had that moxie about him."

Miami Marlins sign 3B Casey McGehee, place Jeff Baker on DL

It's official. Casey McGehee is back with the Marlins.

McGehee cleared release waivers Friday, at which point the Marlins signed the veteran third baseman while placing Jeff Baker on the disabled list with a left intercostal strain.

While McGehee struggled greatly this season with the Giants, the Marlins will likely use him in a part-time role until Martin Prado returns from the disabled list after the All-Star break. Derek Dietrich gets the start at third base tonight.

Look for the Marlins to start McGehee against lefties, as a pinch-hitter, and as a late-inning defensive replacement. Though his range his limited, he wasn't charged with even one fielding error at Marlins Park last season. And the Marlins covet his leadership presence inside the clubhouse, as well.

Of course, the Marlins would love nothing more than for McGehee to return to his old form at the plate, where he was their best hitter last season with runners in scoring position, especially during first half of the year when he received strong consideration for the NL All-Star team.

One way or the other, he represents a low-risk investment for the Marlins. The Giants are on the hook for the remainder of his $4.8 million salary, minus the pro-rated portion of the league minimum.

Miami Marlins shopping Mat Latos, Dan Haren, Brad Hand and Jeff Baker

With the second-worst record in the majors, the Marlins have finally reached the jumping off point on the season and are telling teams they'll listen to offers for pitchers Mat Latos, Dan Haren and Brad Hand, and backup infielder Jeff Baker.

None of the names come as any great surprise.

Latos and Haren have long been rumored as prime trade candidates. They, like Baker, are eligible for free agency after the season and not in the Marlins' long-term plans. Nor is the lefty Hand, who has remained on the 25-man roster the past two seasons, in large part because he has been out of options.

Another name the Marlins could deal before the July 31 trade deadline is reliever Steve Cishek.

One notable player the Marlins intend to keep is injured infielder Martin Prado, though his name is frequently mentioned in trade banter. Prado is under contract through 2016, and the Marlins would prefer to hang on to him.

July 09, 2015

Casey McGehee nearing return with Marlins?; Giancarlo Stanton bummed about not playing in ASG

Casey McGehee wasn't just the best player on the Marlins when it came to driving in runners in scoring position in 2014. For much of the season, he was the best in the majors. Now the Marlins are entertaining the idea of bringing McGehee back to see if he can re-discover some of his old magic.

McGehee, who was released by the Giants after a sub-par season in San Francisco, remains on release waivers until 1 p.m. Friday. After that, the Marlins are expected to make a push to bring back their third baseman. Assuming that he signs, it's uncertain whether he would start out on the team's big-league roster or first be sent to the minors to work on his swing.

McGehee hit .319 with runners in scoring position last season with the Marlins while being named the National League's Comeback Player of the Year. But he also led the majors in grounding into double plays with 31. After the Marlins acquired Martin Prado over the winter, McGehee became expendable and they dealt him to the Giants. But McGehee's offensive numbers diminished in San Francisco, where he hit just .213 this season before his release.

The Marlins are awaiting Prado's return from the disabled list. Prado is expected back shortly after the All-Star break, but told reporters Thursday that he still feels discomfort in his injured right shoulder when he throws. He's played in two rehab games with Single A Jupiter, but as a designated hitter.

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Of course Giancarlo Stanton is bummed he won't be playing in next week's All-Star Game, or participating in the Home Run Derby. Stanton was voted in by fans, but underwent surgery on his left hand June 28 after breaking the hamate bone.

"It's great that I got voted in and to be a part of it," Stanton said. "But not to be able to participate (stinks). Never ideal."

At the time of the surgery, Stanton was expected to miss four to six weeks. He said the healing process is "right on track," but that he continues to feel some pain in the hand and is still unable to make a fist.

"Not full range of motion, yet," Stanton said.

Stanton said he might still attend the All-Star Game and take part in the festivities. But he said the first order of business is making sure his hand is OK.

"I have to get this completely right," Stanton said of his hand, which still contains stitches.

July 05, 2015

Stanton, Gordon earn All-Star starting nods from the fans

They've put a lot of smash and flash into a Marlins lineup that often hasn't backed them enough.

Sunday night, though, Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon were rewarded for their work. Both earned starting jobs for the 86th All-Star Game in Cincinnati, joining Gary Sheffield (1993) and Hanley Ramirez (2008-10) as the only Marlins to get voted into the game by the fans.

Stanton, who leads baseball with 27 home runs and ranks second with 67 RBI, went on the disabled list after he broke the hamate bone in his left hand swinging a bat June 26 and won't get to play in the game.

But Gordon, who leads the majors with 116 hits and 17 three-hit games and ranks second in stolen bases (29), will get to start in the Midsummer Classic for the first time in his career if he can get through the next week unscathed.

“It’s a huge honor," Gordon said Sunday in Chicago after the Marlins fell to 35-48, 11 games back in the division race. "I’m definitely blessed. I thank God for the opportunity. But I thank my teammates and my coaches for going out there and battling every day. This is more for them.”

Stanton, not expected back until August, took to social media to thank the fans for the 7,036,537 votes he received, second only among outfielders to Washington's Bryce Harper, the National League's overall leader in votes with 13,864,950.

It's the first time in Stanton's career he was voted in by the fans. In 2012, he was selected as a reserve but didn't play because he had surgery on his right knee. Last year in Minneapolis, Stanton started as the designated hitter for the NL when he earned his second selection.

"I just wanted to thank my fans and fans of the game that voted for me to start in the All-Star Game this year," Stanton wrote on his Instagram account. "I work the way I do for a reason, and it's times like this that I can appreciate why. So I THANK each and every one of you!"

In all, ten of the 17 players elected by the fans (nine American League; eight National League) are first-time starters -- the most since there were 11 in 2005.

The pitchers and reserves for both squads – totaling 25 for the NL and 24 for the AL – will be announced on ESPN at 7 p.m. Monday. They are determined through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the two All-Star managers – NL skipper Bruce Bochy of the defending World Series Champion Giants and AL manager Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals.

Blue Jays third baseman Donaldson, who collected 14,090,188 total votes, set a new all-time single-season voting record, surpassing Josh Hamilton’s 2012 total of 11,073,744 tallies.

But it was the Royals and their fans who really stole the show. Four were elected: outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon, shortstop Alcides Escobar and catcher Salvador Perez. Kansas City became the 10th team in AL history have four players win starting job

The Marlins have twice had four players selected to the All-Star Game back in 2004 and 2005 -- when Gordon was a teenager following his father, Tom, around.

Now, it's dad, a three-time All-Star relief pitcher, who will be on his son's guest list. There are only 13 father son combinations who have played in the All-Star Game.

“In 2004 I was kicked off the field for trying to rob home run derby homers," said Gordon, who said one of his favorite All-Star moments was meeting Muhammad Ali in 2004. 

"The ’06 [game] I had just graduated from high school and I thought I was a cool kid. So I didn’t want to go on the field. But ’04 was the most fun.”

Gordon, a reserve at the All-Star Game last year with the Dodgers, said earning the start is something he's very proud of.

His first half has been one of the best in Marlins history. He's hitting .343 with 16 doubles, four triples, 21 RBI and 43 runs scored. His 100th hit of the season came in the Marlins' 65th game on June 19, making the fastest player to 100 hits in club history -- five games faster than three-time All-Star and Marlins all-time hits leader Luis Castillo.

He's also played Gold Glove caliber defense.

“He’s having a dynamic year," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "He has a great energy about him. He’s a very good defender also, he’s a difference maker. He is truly one of the catalytic leadoff hitters in the game right now. He has been really impressive.”

July 02, 2015

Marlins announce signing of 1st round pick Naylor

The Marlins have signed Canadian first baseman Josh Naylor, the 12th overall pick in last month's 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft, and have assigned him to the Gulf Coast League.

Naylor, 18, is a graduate of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario and played his baseball over the last four years with the Canadian Junior National team and the Ontario Blue Jays amateur baseball program.

It was the first time the Marlins selected a Canadian player in the first round, and the first time overall since INF Terrence Dayleg (Surrey, BC) in Round 22 (#668 overall) in 2009.

With the Junior National team, Naylor traveled to play in Korea, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, Cuba, Italy, the Dominican Republic, and the United States over the last four years. Traveling to the United States with Ontario to play against Division 1 & 2 college programs in the fall of 2013 and 2014, he combined to hit .449 (83x185) in 56 games, with 23 doubles, 15 home runs, 62 RBI, a .518 on-base percentage, and an .838 slugging percentage.

Naylor was named a 2015 Perfect Game 1st Team All-American this year, as well as a Canada/Puerto Rico All-Regional 1st Team selection. Last year, he was named to the Perfect Game Underclass 1st Team, and in 2013 he was an Underclass High Honorable Mention. He participated in the 2014 International Power Showcase Home Run Derby at Marlins Park, where he won the “Spirit of Babe Ruth” Award, presented to the participant who shows “Ability, Strength, Leadership, Passion and Respect for the game of baseball.”

Miami also announced the signings of RHP Reilly Hovis (Round 9, #266 overall) out of the University of North Carolina, and C Matthew Foley (Round 40, #1196) out of Rhode Island College. The Club has now signed 30 of the 40 players it selected in last month’s Draft, including its top 15 picks.