June 28, 2014

Marlins CF Marcell Ozuna leaves Saturday's game with what appears to be a right hamstring injury

Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna left Saturday's game against the Athletics in the bottom of the seventh inning with an apparent right hamstring injury.

Ozuna was seen on the television broadcast in the dugout clutching his hamstring and motioning to teammates that he hurt himself swinging. Ozuna flew out to left field for the second out in the seventh.

The Marlins have yet to announce why Ozuna left the game. Ozuna ranks third among National League outfielders with 46 RBI. He came into the day tied for ninth in RBI in the NL overall.

Left fielder Christian Yelich is expected to come off the disabled list Sunday.

Marlins have signed 30 of their 42 draft picks

The Marlins announced Saturday they've signed 30 of their 42 draft picks.

The deadline for draft picks to sign is July 18.

Here is the list of those who have signed (CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO ENLARGE)

Marlins Signed Picks

 

Redmond plans on starting Yelich in left field when he returns Sunday; Stanton, Mathis talk plays at plate

Left fielder Christian Yelich will be back from the disabled list Sunday and Marlins manager Mike Redmond said he plans on starting him out in his usual spot.

Redmond had discussed in the past playing Marcell Ozuna over in left field more to utilize his arm. Ozuna has started in left field in 10 of his last 12 games with Yelich on the disabled list.

"I know O's arm plays better in left. I just like him out there in center," Redmond said. "He covers a lot more ground out there, but we'll see. That's not to say we won't mix and match them too."

The Marlins will decide after Saturday's game how to make room for Yelich. Outfielder Jake Marisnick, who has held Yelich's roster spot over the last two weeks, is the likely candidate to be sent down. He is batting .159 in 12 games.

OZUNA'S NEAR CATCH

In the eighth inning of Friday's series opener, Redmond brought Marisnick in to play centerfield and moved Ozuna to left. Oakland's Josh Reddick hit a liner to left and Ozuna dove for the ball, hoping to make the final out of the inning. But as he lifted his glove in the air to show the umpire he had made the catch, the ball trickled away. 

Ozuna said he didn't realize the ball was out until he heard Marisnick yelling to throw home. Stephen Vogt managed to come around from first to score the tying run on the play. Oakland added four more runs in the ninth for a 9-5 win. After the game, Redmond called Ozuna's dive "a little aggressive" given the circumstances.

"Most of the time with two outs when you have a chance to dive and catch it, you do it and that's what happened on my play," Ozuna said. "When I was diving I closed my glove and I thought I had it."

CLOSE PLAYS AT PLATE

Friday's game saw two bang-bang plays at the plate, and the A's won out on each.

In the third inning, Yoenis Cespedes tallied his league-leading 10th outfield assist by gunning down Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton seemed to beat the throw to the plate but did not touch it with his feet, and Derek Norris laid down a tag before Stanton touched the plate with his hand.

"I just think the quickest way is just to slide straight to the plate. Since you can't run the catcher over anymore it's kind of caused guys to try to go around and avoid the contact, which is too bad," Redmond said. "You take the aggressiveness out of the play for the runner. The aggressiveness really is all in the catcher. That's not really fair to the runner. It's just one of those things where it's going to take the runners some time to get used to of when to slide and how to slide. I think always the way to go is just slide straight in. That rule has definitely affected those plays at home plate."

In the top of the ninth, Oakland's Coco Crisp went in feet first and was able to tap a foot on the plate before Jeff Mathis could swipe him with his glove.

"If my feet hit first I would have been safe and it was the same idea with Coco," Stanton said Saturday. "Things like that change the whole game."

Mathis said he needs to work on getting his tag down faster, like a middle infielder defending a steal. Before MLB instituted a rule to prevent collisions at home plate this spring, Mathis would work to secure the ball with two hands and anchor himself between the runner and the plate. Now that MLB requires him to give baserunners a lane, he said he needs to work on getting a slap tag down faster.

"It’s a different play for a lot of guys used to really blocking the plate," Mathis said. "You've just got to make a better tag -- a quicker tag."

DYSON RECALLED UP

Sam Dyson became the lastest Marlins relief pitcher to get called up from the minors and join a tired bullpen. The pitcher got his first win in the big leagues on June 17 and was sent down soon after.

"The travel is getting to me -- flying one place, flying another, get a couple days off and then fly somewhere else," Dyson said. "But it's definitely fun flying up here regardless of if it's for a couple days or for a month."

Friday, left-hander Brian Flynn flew to Miami from Nashville early in the morning, pitched three innings, and then was optioned back to Triple A New Orleans after the game. The Marlins' bullpen has had to work hard this month. They've used five relievers in each of their last two games. 

Marlins reliever A.J. Ramos expressed regret Saturday after Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz landed on the seven-day concussion disabled list Friday. Ramos hit Ruiz in the helmet in Thursday's 14-inning marathon in Philadelphia.

"I feel really bad about that," Ramos said. "There’s nothing I can do but apologize for it but it doesn’t make anything better. I just hope that everything comes out ok for him."

-- JACOB FELDMAN

SATURDAY'S LINEUPS

> Athletics (49-30): 1. Coco Crisp CF, 2. John Jaso C, 3. Yoenis Cespedes LF, 4. Brandon Moss 1B, 5. Josh Donaldson 3B, 6. Jed Lowrie SS, 7. Josh Reddick RF, 8. Alberto Callaspo 2B, 9. Sonny Gray RHP.

> Marlins (39-41): 1. Reed Johnson LF, 2. Derek Dietrich 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 8. Donovan Solan SS, 9. Nathan Eovaldi RHP.  

Report: Tulowitzki says Stanton has agreed to participate in HR derby

According to a report from MLB.com, Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki told reporters on Saturday that Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton has agreed to participate in next month's Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.

Stanton leads the National League in home runs (21) and RBI (59) and currently ranks fourth among National League outfielders in All-Star voting.

Tulowitzki was named captain of the NL team for the Derby on July 14 at Target Field in Minneapolis. The Blue Jays' Jose Bautista was chosen captain of the American League squad. Each league will have five participants square off and then compete through a bracketed system to create an AL vs. NL final.

Stanton spoke with reporters before Saturday's game, but the derby didn't come up in conversation. He was too busy answering questions about last night's two big plays at the plate. It's likely he'll confirm the report after Saturday's game.

He has said in the past he's interested in participating in it.

June 27, 2014

X-rays negative on DeSclafani; Flynn optioned back to Triple A New Orleans

Marlins starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani said the line drive that struck him on his right forearm and forced him to leave Friday's 9-5 loss to the Athletics shouldn't keep him out too long.

He thinks its just a bone bruise and he said expects to be able to throw on Saturday. Manager Mike Redmond said x-rays peformed on DeSclafani were negative, but the arm swelled up on him.

"We'll see how it feels when I wake up and evaluate it [Saturday]," DeSclafani said. "It felt good to keep going, but I understand where he's coming from. I still had a sweat going and a lot of adrenaline. I didn't quite feel it when i was out there. I might have been able to keep pitching. I felt like I wasn't affected by it at all, but it's their judgment, their decision to take me out. I'm not going to argue with that."

> After the game, the Marlins optioned left-hander Brian Flynn back to Triple A New Orleans. Redmond said the team will make a corresponding move Saturday.

DeSclafani exits early with right forearm contusion

Marlins starter Anthony DeSclafani left Friday night's game with a right forearm contusion after pitching only three innings.

DeSclafani, 24, was struck by a line drive back to the mound by Athletics first baseman Brandon Moss in the first inning, but remained in the game after throwing two warm up pitches in front of Marlins trainers.

After giving up two runs on four hits in the opening frame, the right-hander settled down and retired six of the next seven hitters he faced on only 22 pitches. He was replaced by left-hander Brian Flynn, who was called up by the Marlins Friday to provide depth to an already taxed pitching staff following Thursday night's 14-inning loss in Philadelphia.

In five starts for the Marlins including Friday's, DeSclafani has an ERA of 7.40. He is in line to take the loss as the Athletics now lead the Marlins 3-0 in the fourth inning.

Marlins call-up Flynn to aid taxed bullpen; Hechavarria in line to play catch Sunday

After losing a 14-inning, four-hour, 41-minute marathon to the Phillies Thursday night, the Marlins came home a tired a bunch Friday morning.

Manager Mike Redmond said the team's flight didn't get into South Florida until around 4:15 a.m., and heads "didn't hit the pillow until about 5."

By then, left-handed pitcher Brian Flynn was already awake and on a plane in Nashville bound for South Florida. Flynn was called up from Triple A New Orleans to provide some pitching depth and bullpen relief for this weekend's series against the visiting Oakland A's. The Marlins optioned first baseman Justin Bour back down to New Orleans to make room for Flynn, who is 7-5 with a 3.56 ERA in 16 starts for New Orleans this season.

"We just needed an arm after last night," Redmond said. "We had a couple guys throw a lot of pitches -- A.J. [Ramos] and [Chris Hatcher]. We definitely needed an arm especially since we're going to have a couple young arms throwing in the next couple days. Hopefully [Anthony DeSclafani] will go out there tonight and give us a great start. But just in case we wanted to make sure we're covered with an extra arm."

Ramos threw 50 pitches in 1 2/3 innings of relief work and Hatcher needed 44 pitches to get through 2 1/3 innings. Redmond said both pitchers are unavailable Friday, and he hinted Ramos could need more time than just one day off.

"We're just going to play it by ear," Redmond said. "It was 50 pitches. That's a lot for him for those two innings. We needed those two innings. It just took him more pitches to get through it. Hatch? I'm not sure exactly how many pitches it was. But it was two long innings too."

Since June 6, the Marlins have played five extra-inning games including four that have gone at least 13 innings or more. They've won just one of them -- a 10-inning, 3-2 win over the Pirates on June 15. Making matters tougher, the Marlins haven't had a day off since June 12 and are in the midst of playing their 15th consecutive game in a 17-game, 17-day stretch. They'll finally have another off day on Monday.

"Obviously when you play that long you want to come out on top," veteran outfielder Reed Johnson said. "Hopefully we can play better at home. And hopefully we can find a way to have a four or five-run lead going into ninth inning. Those are a lot more fun." 

HECHAVARRIA AIMING TO THROW SUNDAY

Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said he's planning to play catch on Sunday for the first time since going on the disabled list June 21 with a right triceps strain.

"Before, whatever movement I made my tricep hurt," Hechavarria said. "I don't know if when I throw it will hurt, but right now I feel fine."

Hechavarria said he's been doing exercises to strengthen his arm and said he thinks in a week he'll be fine. Redmond said the Marlins aren't rushing Hechavarria to throw yet, and if he feels any discomfort before Sunday they'll hold him off.

"We've got time with him," Redmond said. "It's more on how he feels day-to-day. So if on Sunday he says he's fine to play catch, then great. But we want to make sure when these 15 days are up he's 100 percent, ready to go. We don't need to push him."

Hechavarria said the triceps strain is different from last year's throwing arm injury, which kept him on the disabled list for the final two weeks of April. "That was my elbow," he said. "This is more up here [triceps]."

> Redmond said the wife of pitcher Tom Koehler "is ready to have a baby at any minute." Koehler isn't scheduled to start for the Marlins until Wednesday against the Phillies.

> Left fielder Christian Yelich will play in his final rehab game Friday for Triple A New Orleans before traveling back to South Florida on Saturday and rejoining the Marlins Sunday.

FRIDAY'S LINEUPS

> Athletics (48-30): 1. Coco Crisp CF, 2. Alberto Callaspo 2B, 3. Yoenis Cespedes LF, 4. Brandon Moss 1B, 5. Josh Donaldson 3B, 6. Jed Lowrie SS, 7. Derek Norris C, 8. Josh Reddick RF, 9. Jesse Chavez RHP.

> Marlins (39-40): 1. Reed Johnson LF, 2. Derek Dietrich 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Donovan Solano SS, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Anthony DeSclafani RHP.

June 26, 2014

Casey McGehee's road hitting streak, Marlins winning 1-run games

PHILADELPHIA -- Casey McGehee will put his 16-game road hitting streak on the line tonight when the Marlins face the Phillies and Cole Hamels.

McGehee is nowhere close to Luis Castillo's club-record 27-game road hitting streak, set in 2001. But he isn't far behind some of the others on the list.

Greg Dobbs and Cliff Floyd are tied for the second-longest road streak at 19 games. McGehee's streak is presently tied for the 10th-longest in team history. But a hit tonight would move him into a tie for the 7th longest.

________________

With their 3-2 victory on Wednesday, the Marlins improved their record in one-run games to 18-10 -- a significant turnaround from last year's abysmal 24-35 mark in such contests. In fact, the Marlins are tied with the Pirates for the most 1-run wins in the majors.

Probably the biggest reason for the turnaround is the fact the Marlins are scoring far more runs than they did a season ago.

"I think part of it is probably our offense," said manager Mike Redmond. "But part of it is probably our pitching, too, and having a great closer down there helps. But definitely the offense has helped."

________________

After wrapping up their season with the Phillies, the Marlins will return home to face the team with the best record in the majors, the Oakland A's.

The A's lead the majors in runs scored.

"I think there are some similarities between the two teams, just as far as they don't have a bunch of huge names," McGehee said. "I think they've got not a lot of household names who are doing a really good job for them."

Though the A's payroll of $83 million is much greater than the Marlins' figure of $47 million, Oakland still ranks 25th in terms of the money it spends on its roster.

The Marlins have gone 8-1 in interleague play this season. The A's have visited South Florida only once previously, during the 2003 season when they won two of three. Overall, the Marlins have gone 5-4 in their three series meetings.

"They've done a great job of bringing in guys and mixing and matching," Redmond said of the A's roster. "That's a team that doesn't get a lot of publicity, media attention, probably not as close as they should. But they're a great ballclub. Those guys hit. They rake. They've got some free-swingers. It's not the work-the-count-and-try-to-get-on-base anymore. Those guys are swinging the bats, and they can pitch, too."

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June 24, 2014

Giancarlo Stanton's teammates are outraged he's not receiving more All-Star love

Steve Cishek called it "ridiculous." Casey McGehee said it was "inexcusable."

Their beef? When the latest All-Star voting update was released on Monday, Giancarlo Stanton had slipped to fourth in voting among National League outfielders.

"I know that there are many talented, deserving outfielders in the National League," said Marlins infielder Ed Lucas. "But I do not think you can find three that are more deserving than him."

Yet Stanton trails Yasiel Puig, Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Gomez in the voting among NL outfielders even  though, statisically, he's enjoying a much better season than those three. Stanton leads the league in homers and RBI, has a .303 average, and established a new single-season career high Monday night with his seventh stolen base.

In a head-to-head comparison, Stanton's WAR (wins against replacement) of 4.5 is not only tops among outfielders, it is significantly better than McCutchen (3.7), Gomez (2.9) or Puig (2.8). His OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) of .983 also leads all NL outfielders. McCutchen is a distant second with an OPS of .948.

"You can't ask him to do anything else," Lucas said.

Said manager Mike Redmond: "There's no way this guy shouldn't be a starter in an All-Star game."

Voting by fans continues online at MLB.com through July 3. But Stanton lost considerable ground relative to the other outfielders in the latest release. Puig, McCutchen and Gomez each has received more than 2,400,000 votes while Stanton sits at just over 2,130,000.

"That's a joke," McGehee said. "That's inexcusable. I don't know how he could not be in the starting lineup in the All-Star game with what he's done. Everyone probably has their own bias. But I think, objectively, I don't see how he could be kept out of the starting lineup."

There's a chance Stanton could still start, though not necessarily in the outfield.

Stanton figures to be the only Marlin on the N.L. squad, though many feel McGehee has a strong case with the season he's having. McGehee's .390 average with runners in scoring position leads the league. Stanton is solidly in the third baseman's corner for an All-Star nod.

"It should be by the numbers, not popularity or most fans of a team," said Stanton, adding that fellow Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna should also be considered. "I'm sure Ozuna and McGehee aren't even in the conversation. It's unbelievable. The fact that they're not even in the conversation is unbelievable."

_________________

Adeiny Hechavarria thought he would be available to return to play Tuesday. Instead, the shortstop returned home to Miami, where he received a MRI that revealed a right triceps strain. The Marlins didn't know as of Tuesday afternoon whether he would be placed on the disabled list.

"We're just kind of waiting to try to give it a day," Redmond said. "We've given it a few days to see if it gets better to where he's able to play without putting him on the DL. We thought he was getting better, and yesterday he tried to throw and he still had some discomfort there."

Lucas started at shortstop again on Tuesday.

June 23, 2014

Division title, not wild-card, might be best hope for Marlins

PHILADELPHIA -- Come the July 31 trading deadline, the Marlins might be more inclined to swing a deal to upgrade their roster if the team is in the division race as opposed to simply being in the larger wild-card fray.

And the division title might be the Marlins’ best hope at the moment.

“Just looking right now, I would tell you the best shot may be the division,” said Marlins general manager Dan Jennings. “Usually in years past, there’s always somebody in this division that’s put their foot on the accelerator and you go, ‘We have to focus on the wild card.’”

But the wild card isn’t what it once was when the Marlins won their two World Series titles as the lone wild card. Now there are two wild card teams that meet in a one-game, win-or-go-home matchup.

As a result, teams might be more reluctant to go all-in on a major deal just to enhance their chances of grabbing a wild card spot, as the Marlins did in 2003 when they traded Adrian Gonzalez for a half-season of Ugueth Urbina.

Because the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants have built comfortable early leads in their respective divisions, Jennings said the two also-rans -- the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers -- have already gained a strong upper hand in wild-card positioning.

The N.L. East, on the other hand, remains muddled.

The five teams began the day Monday separated by only five games, and the Marlins were as close to first place as they were to last -- 2 1/2 games both ways.
___________

If the Marlins make any kind of move, it would most likely be to acquire starting pitching.

“Our starting pitching needs to step up a notch,” Jennings said.

Jennings said while the Marlins “love” rookie starters Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani, “the jury is still out” on the two youngsters.

“I mean, we love ‘em as prospects,” Jennings said. “How are they going to be as big-league producers? Time will tell. So that would be, potentially, where you would have to look.”

But Jennings added that “it’s way too early to panic” despite what was a “discouraging” home stand in which the Marlins won a total of only three games against three, sub.-500 teams.
___________

Rafael Furcal has a Grade III hamstring strain in which part of the tissue has separated from the bone near the knee.

As a result, the Marlins aren’t expecting Furcal to return from the disabled list anytime soon.
-- Christian Yelich (back) was to begin a rehab assignment Monday with Single A Jupiter. Manager Mike Redmond said Yelich would play two games with Jupiter, two with Triple A New Orleans, and re-join the Marlins on Sunday.

Once Yelich returns, Redmond said he would return to the leadoff spot.
___________

Even though he was born in Germany, Marlins infielder Jeff Baker said he’ll be pulling for the U.S. in Thursday’s World Cup match between the two countries.

“I think it’s cool the way the countries are rallying around this,” Baker said. “Let’s be honest. Soccer’s not exactly a popular sport in America. But it’s growing. I’m not saying this in a negative way, but there are a lot of bandwagon soccer fans right now, including myself.”

Baker lived in Germany for two years after being born there and doesn’t speak the language.

“I’m an American,” Baker said. “I know where I sleep at night, and it’s not over there.”
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Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was not in the lineup Monday for a third straight game due to a sore right elbow. But he said he expects to play Tuesday.

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LINEUPS:

Marlins: 1. Jake Marisnick, cf; 2. Derek Dietrich, 2b; 3. Giancarlo Stanton, rf; 4. Casey McGehee, 3b; 5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c; 6. Marcell Ozuna, cf; 7. Garrett Jones, 1b; 8. Ed Lucas, ss; 9. Nathan Eovaldi, p.

Phillies: 1. Jimmy Rollins, ss; 2. Carlos Ruiz, c; 3. Chase Utley, 2b; 4. Ryan Howard, 1b; 5. Marlon Byrd, rf; 6. Cody Asche, 3b; 7. Domonic Brown, lf; 8. Ben Revere, cf; 9. Roberto Hernandez, p.