July 04, 2014

Tyler Kolek loses, Blake Anderson hitless, and more on the Marlins' top draft picks

ST. LOUIS -- It's far too soon to be drawing any conclusions on the Marlins' draft picks. But their two top selections -- pitcher Tyler Kolek and catcher Blake Anderson -- have stumbled out of the starting gate in the Gulf Coast League.

Kolek, the second overall pick in the June amateur draft, made his second start for the Gulf Coast League Marlins Saturday and took the loss, allowing a pair of runs over two innings. Without knowing whether the Marlins are having the gas-throwing Texas work on his other pitches, it's still surprising that Kolek -- he of the 102-mile-per-hour heater -- has struck out only two batters in four innings of work so far.

Anderson, meanwhile, is hitless in 21 at bats. The Marlins surprised draft experts when they used their competitive balance pick (36th overall) on Anderson, who wasn't on Baseball America's Top 200 list of draft prospects. But the word on Anderson when they took him was that his defense was ahead of his bat.

Not all of the Marlins' top selections are struggling. Shortstop Justin Twine, the Marlins' second-rounder, has gone 12-for-35 (.343) in the GCL, and second baseman Brian Anderson, their third-rounder, is hitting .316 (12 for 38 with a pair of homers) for Batavia.

__________________

July 03, 2014

All-Star invite or not, McGehee said he's not just changing his approach at the plate

The deadline for fans to vote for the All-Star Game is 11:59 p.m. tonight, and barring some ballot-stuffing that hasn't been seen before Marlins third baseman Casey McGehee is going to need the support of his peers in the player vote to earn a trip to the midsummer classic.

Statistically, McGehee has as strong an argument as any Marlin not named Giancarlo Stanton to earn an invite to Minneapolis July 15. He entered the series finale against the Phillies Thursday third in the National League in hits (100), tied for seventh in RBI (49) and hitting a NL-best .398 with runners in scoring position. 

The last Marlin to have at least 100 hits 84 games into the season was Hanley Ramirez back in 2009. Ramirez, selected by the fans as a starter that season, also had 14 homers at the break.

And that's a number not lost on McGehee. He knows if he had more than one home run through his first 84 games he'd probably would have been much more on the radar of fans.

"That's the cool number kids, anybody voting likes to see. I get it from that standpoint," McGehee said. "But my job isn't to make All-Star teams. My job is to try to help this team win. Like any sport, there are guys that try to do the small things to help their team and make a big difference.

"For me to be back in the big leagues is rewarding enough as it is. If in December when I signed you had asked anybody if I'd be having this conversation -- myself included -- I wouldn't have taken the bet. Just to be in the conversation it means a lot to me. I couldn't ask for a better start to the season.  Make it or not [to the All-Star Game], it's not going to change my approach and what I try to accomplish the second half of the season."

How many more homers does McGehee think he would have if he wasn't playing the majority of his games in spacious Marlins Park? Eight or nine, he said.

"I think there are some ballparks where they would get out and other where they were borderline homers, but it's not where we're playing," McGehee continued. "Honestly I have no complaints about the ballpark because I love playing here. For my game it works well for me. It's fast. The outfield is big. Infield is pretty fast. So you get rewarded for hitting the ball hard. That's all you can do as a hitter anyway. Sometimes you go in places like Philly and the outfielders are bunched up on each other and the spacing gets small real quick. There's definitely positives to hitting in a ballpark like this."

McGehee said hitting few homers in the first half of the season are nothing new for him. He said in the minors it happened to him all the time. "I'd go into the All-Star Break with two and I'd finish up with 10 or 12 or whatever," he said.

"I know people like to talk about it and these guys like to give me a hard time about it especially since I've had years where I hit 23 or whatever it was. But to have only one at this point, it really doesn't bother me," McGehee said. "Me and [hitting coach] Frank [Menechino] talked about not trying to hit home runs -- especially in this ballpark. That's one thing I feel like I've done a good job, being consistent not trying to come off my approach even on the road. I think that's helped me to this point being a little more consistent. The trick is going to be trying to continue that."

What has made McGehee happy are moments like the one in the fifth inning Tuesday. With a runner on second, the score tied at 2 and first base open with one out, the Phillies elected to pitch Giancarlo Stanton instead of intentionally walking him to face McGehee. Stanton, who leads the National League with 15 intentional walks, drove in the go-ahead run. 

"It makes me feel like I've helped him a little bit," McGehee said. "By no means do I deserve any of the credit for what he's done. But just the more opportunities he gets the better off we are as a team. To me, that's gratifying enough."

BABY WATCH CONTINUES

The baby watch continued well into the afternoon Thursday for Tom Koehler and his wife Ashley, manager Mike Redmond said. 

"I remember when my wife had our first. We sat there forever and she ended up having a c-section," Redmond said. "So they're in the process of it, but still a ways away. I would expect it to happen today. It's just a matter of what time."

Redmond said Koehler, who went on the paternity list after tossing six scoreless innings and picking up the win against the Phillies Wednesday, is still in line to pitch for the Marlins Monday in Arizona.

Redmond said the reason he pulled Koehler after six innings and 91 pitches Wednesday because "I wanted him to finish that game on a positive note."

"I think the last couple times we've asked him to do more it's been a struggle for him," Redmond said. "They had three or four lefties coming up and it was a good fit for Dunn. I like that matchup better than if we have him go out there and grind it out if he walks a guy or gives up a hit."

> Reliever Carter Capps, who has been on the disabled list since May 27 with a right elbow sprain, will start throwing again in the next couple days, Redmond said.

> The Marlins were able to outright outfielder Brent Keys back to Double A Jacksonville after they designated him for assignment Monday to make room on the 40-man roster after trading for left-hander Donnie Joseph.

THURSDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (41-43): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas SS, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Marcell Ozuna CF, 8. Donovan Solano 2B, 9. Brad Hand LHP.

> Phillies (36-48): 1. Ben Revere CF, 2. Jimmy Rollins SS, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 4. Ryan Howard 1B, 5. Marlon Byrd RF, 6. Cesar Hernandez 3B, 7. Aaron Altherr LF, 8. Cameron Rupp C, 9. Kyle Kendrick RHP.

July 02, 2014

Redmond hoping Hand can lock down fifth spot in Marlins' rotation

Brad Hand is getting another shot at earning a spot in the Marlins rotation.

Back with the team on Wednesday following six minor league starts on rehab assignment, the left-hander will start Thursday in the final home game for the Marlins before a nine-game road trip precedes the All-Star break.

How long Hand remains in the rotation, manager Mike Redmond said Wednesday, "really is up to him."

"We'll see how it goes right?" Redmond said. "We've tried some different guys. It's an opportunity for somebody to run with it. I would love for Brad Hand to step in there and pitch great and be the guy for the rest of the season. That would be outstanding. That would make things a lot easier for all of us."

The Marlins, who rank 12th in the National League in starter's ERA (4.03), have used 10 different starting pitchers through the first half of the season. That's tied for second-most in the NL with the Padres and two fewer than the Rockies. Part of that was losing ace Jose Fernandez for the season. The other part: injuries and struggles by Jacob Turner, who is now the team's long reliever.

Hand, who began the season with the Marlins as a long reliever, was 0-1 with a 6.38 ERA and awful 1.792 WHIP in 16 appearances before he sprained his right ankle back on May 24. He made two starts earlier in the year when Turner was on the disabled list. Hand didn't do very well in either start posting a combined 11.37 ERA and not getting beyond the fourth inning in either appearance, both Marlins losses.

He did pitch well, though, during his rehab assignment going 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA in four starts with 22 strikeouts and nine walks for Triple A New Orleans.

"It was nice to go down there, get some innings in and make everything comfortable again," said Hand, who in 17 career big league starts is 1-11 with a 5.38 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 47 walks. "When you're a starter you're on a routine. You get a feel for certain pitches. This [season] was the first time I threw out of the bullpen. There's a learning period."

> Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria is due to come off the disabled list on Sunday and the hope is he'll be ready then. But if he isn't, the Marlins aren't going to rush him, Redmond said.

Hechavarria, who has been on the disabled list since June 21 with a right triceps strain, fielded grounders and threw to first base pre-game on Tuesday and said his arm felt fine afterward. He'll do the same on Thursday and take swings. If there are no setbacks, Redmond said, Hechavarria will begin a rehab assignment Friday in Jupiter.

> First baseman Justin Bour, called up Wednesday to take the spot of reliever A.J. Ramos on the roster, has been logging some serious airline miles over the past month. Since making his big league debut June 4, he's been optioned back and forth from Triple A New Orleans twice.

"There hasn't been much time to settle down," Bour said. "But I'm not complaining. This last trip I went from Miami to Nashville for two days, New Orleans for one day and then I got taken out of the lineup and sent back here. I'd have quite a few [airline points] this last month."

But the Marlins get those.

> Ed Lucas, who had the walk-off, game-winning hit in Wednesday's 11-inning win over the Phillies, said he received a tweet from the fan who ended up with the ball he hit.

"He said it was flipped to him," Lucas said. "He's keeping it. I've got [the baseballs] for all my firsts. So I'll remember that one."

> Tom Koehler's baby watch continues.

His wife is due to deliver their first child on Saturday. But as Redmond said Wednesday: "I know that baby is ready. Hopefully it comes around 11 or 12 o'clock tonight. Let Tommy go out there and throw a complete game first."

WEDNESDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (40-43): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Ed Lucas SS, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Marcell Ozuna CF, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Jeff Baker 1B, 8. Donovan Solano 2B, 9. Tom Koehler RHP.

> Phillies (36-47): 1. Ben Revere CF, 2. Jimmy Rollins SS, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 3. Marlon Byrd RF, 5. Ryan Howard 1B, 6. John Mayberry Jr. LF, 7. Cody Asche 3B, 8. Koyie Hill C, 9. Cole Hamels LHP.

July 01, 2014

Hill said he called Stanton after Astros' internal trade talks leaked, assured him Marlins aren't shopping him

Marlins President of Baseball Operations Mike Hill said he called Giancarlo Stanton on Monday to reassure him the team is not looking to trade him. 

On Monday, ten months worth of internal trade talks by the Houston Astros' front office was leaked online by computer hackers. Among a couple of discussions between the Marlins and Astros that were posted included a conversation regarding Stanton.

It read: "[Astros GM Jeff Luhnow] talked to [Marlins GM Dan Jennings] and said we had interest in Stanton. [Jennings] said he doesn't think he'll trade Stanton and the only deal he could think of from us that would work would be Springer and Correa. [Luhnow] said that would not work. [Lunhow] posited a deal around [pitcher Jarred] Cosart and [minor leaguer Delino] Deshields [Jr]."

Although some media outlets portrayed the conversation as if it had been initiated by the Marlins, Hill said that was the furthest thing from the truth.

"I told you guys in the beginning of the winter that he's not available -- and we're not shopping him," Hill said. "I would expect clubs to call on a good player. He's a good player and I think that's the point we want to make sure gets out. I've spoken to him and told him exactly that. So there's no miscommunication and no misinterpretation on anybody's part. We haven't shopped him. He's not available. We want that to be crystal clear.

"We talk to our counterparts all the time. They like some of our players and we like some of their players. That doesn't mean any of them are available. In that situation, it's unfortunate they got hacked and it's unfortunate that information got out there. But we just wanted to set the record straight he is not available. We didn't go around calling and shopping him. It's a non-story on our end."

Stanton, who still has two years of arbitration left after this season, wasn't at his locker before Tuesday's game to discuss Monday's story.

"He's focused on this club and helping this club win games. That's pretty much what he said," Hill said. "He appreciated the phone call. He said, 'Let's beat Philly.'"

Hill said the Marlins want to keep Stanton long term.

"We agreed on a one-year deal in the off-season and we agreed to revisit anything beyond that after the season and that's the plan," Hill said. "It's one of those things where both sides said they aren't going to discuss it and at the appropriate time we'll get into to see what we can do to make him a Marlin for a long time."

RAMOS HEADED TO THE DL

An MRI performed on right-handed reliever A.J. Ramos last week revealed inflammation in his throwing shoulder, and after waiting a few days off to see if he would feel better the Marlins have decided to send him to the disabled list.

Ramos threw a season-high 50 pitches in 1 2/3 innings in last Thursday's 14-inning loss in Philadelphia.

"I think from talking to him he felt like he could grind it out if we really needed him to, but I think the important thing is for him to be healthy and 100 percent," manager Mike Redmond said. "As we've seen, this first half we've leaned on that bullpen heavily. And those guys have answered the bell. But we got to make sure we take care of him for the long haul. We need him. He's going to be huge for us the second half."

The Marlins will announce a corresponding roster move after Tuesday's game against the Phillies. Redmond said it would be a position player.

"We don't have room for another pitcher," Redmond said. "There's not enough chairs in the bullpen."

> Stanton remained in fourth place among outfielders in the most recent All-Star voting results released Tuesday. Even if he doesn't earn one of the top three starting spots, it's likely Stanton could end up serving as the designated hitter during the July 15 game in Minneapolis.

"I told my kids to step it up. I think they took a day off in voting," Redmond quipped. "I'd love to see him be rewarded as an outfielder. But at the same time too, it's the All-Star Game. It doesn't matter how you get in. I know for him I know he probably doesn't think about it like that. Wherever he fits in the All-Star game [he'll be happy]." 

> Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, eligible to come off the disabled list on Sunday, fielded grounders and played catch for the second time Tuesday since straining the triceps on his throwing arm back on July 21.

"From what they told me he's feeling good and doesn't have any pain in there," Redmond said. "We kind of it lined up for him to start playing [in minor league games] if he's feeling good and for him to be done and ready to go on the [Sunday]. But that kind of depends how it goes [Tuesday] and if he's feeling good. He's swung in the cage already."

> Second baseman Rafael Furcal said Tuesday doctors initially told him he would be out for six weeks when he straind his left hamstring on June 22. 

"What happened was the little ligament came off the bone and I have to get it stronger," Furcal explained. "You have three hamstrings: a small one [that comes across your calf] and bigger one. Before I had a problem with the bigger one. Now it's the little one. That's why my calf felt sore.

"They think about six weeks. But I don't think about that. Everyday I'm getting better and better. I'm very optimistic."

> Hill said the rehab assignment for left-handed pitcher Brad Hand, who is 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA for Triple A New Orleans, is nearly up. The Marlins still haven't named a starter for Thursday's series finale against the Phillies and it's likely Hand will be that guy. "I would anticipate you would see him back here in the very near future," Hill said.

TUESDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins (39-43): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Derek Dietrich 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Jarrod Saltalamcchia C, 8. Donovan Solano SS, 9. Henderson Alvarez RHP.

> Phillies (36-46): 1. Ben Revere CF, 2. Jimmy Rollins SS, 3. Chase Utley 2B, 4. Ryan Howard 1B, 5. Marlon Byrd RF, 6. Cody Asche 3B, 7. Domonic Brown LF, 8. Cameron Rupp C, 9. A.J. Burnett RHP.

Photo: Marlins pre-game stretch includes watching Team USA, World Cup

The Marlins are definitely showing their support for Team USA at the World Cup. The team is stretching to the action between the Americans and Beligum.

Marlins World Cup

Pitchers Chris Hatcher and Mike Dunn are wearing USA flag t-shirts under their jerseys and USA socks

Hatcher-Dunn

June 30, 2014

Astros internal trade talks leaked by hackers include discussions with Marlins over Stanton, Dominguez

The Marlins have never hid the fact they've received quite a few offers over the past couple years for All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton.

And now thanks to some hackers who purportedly posted 10 months worth of internal trade talks by the Houston Astros' front office on Anonbin.com (a site where users can anonymously share hacked or leaked information), we've got an idea of at least one trade for Stanton that was kicked around last November 15.

The trade the Marlins were looking for: Stanton for Astros top prospects Carlos Correa and George Springer. 

Here's the purported exchange: "[Astros GM Jeff Luhnow] talked to [Marlins GM Dan Jennings] and said we had interest in Stanton. [Jennings] said he doesn't think he'll trade Stanton and the only deal he could think of from us that would work would be Springer and Correa. [Luhnow] said that would not work. [Lunhow] posited a deal around [pitcher Jarred] Cosart and [minor leaguer Delino] Deshields [Jr]."

Obviously, neither trade worked out. In the end, if this information is all true, this is obviously pretty embarrassing for the Astros.

Deadspin.com first wrote about the purportedly leaked information and reported Monday that the Astros first began using an online database for the private use of the Astros front office two years ago called "Ground Control." The interface gives Astros executives instant access to player statistics, video, and communications with other front offices around baseball. Someone obviously hacked into it.

The Stanton deal wasn't the only one the Astros purportedly discussed with the Marlins. According to the documents on Dec. 9 the Marlins reached out to Houston looking for a second or third baseman in exchange for Logan Morrison. The Marlins inquired about Jose Altuve and Matt Dominguez, who the Marlins of course traded away to Houston for Carlos Lee two years ago. The also expressed interest in right-handed pitchers Mike Foltynewicz, Lance McCullers and catcher Carlos Perez, all minor leaguers.

The Marlins ended up trading Morrison to the Mariners for reliever Carter Capps and ended up signing Rafael Furcal and Casey McGehee that winter.

UPDATE: The Houston Astros issued the following statement this afternoon:

"Last month, we were made aware that proprietary information held on Astros' servers and in Astros' applications had been illegally obtained. Upon learning of the security breach, we immediately notified MLB security who, in turn, notified the FBI. Since that time, we have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the determine the party, or parties, responsible. This information was illegally obtained and published, and we intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent.

"It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information. While it does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion of the material was embellished or completely fabricated."

June 29, 2014

Yelich Returns to Lineup; Stanton Confirms Derby Invite

Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich was available to manager Mike Redmond Sunday for the first time since June 13, when Yelich suffered a lower back strain. 

He said he felt healthy a week ago, but he was not eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list until Sunday.

“It was a very slow 15 days,” Yelich said Sunday. “I’m glad it’s over with.”

Yelich will start in center for Miami Sunday in the series finale against the Athletics. The 22-year-old was in the dugout Saturday, watching his team lose to Oakland, 7-6, in 14 innings. It was the Marlins' third straight loss and their sixth defeat in their last eight games.

“That was the toughest thing—the guys were out there battling, going extra innings and coming up a little short,” Yelich said. “Having to sit there and watch it and not being able to do anything about it was the toughest part. It will be nice to be back out there and really have an impact.”

Yelich played two games for Double A Jacksonville and a pair for Triple A New Orleans during his rehab stint. He had one home run and hit .200 over those four games.

Outfielder Jake Marisnick was optioned down to the minors Saturday to make room for Yelich on the roster.

STANTON DISCUSSES DERBY

Giancarlo Stanton confirmed Sunday that he has accepted an offer to compete in the 2014 Home Run Derby in Minneapolis, though the team has not yet been formally announced. National League Derby captain Troy Tulowitzki reached out to Stanton during the Marlins’ most recent roadtrip in Philadelphia, and Stanton said he was excited to accept the offer.

In the midst of a three-game losing streak though, Stanton said he is not thinking much about the July 14 event.

“I’m not worried about it at all at this point,” Stanton said. “We’ve had a rough couple games so it’s the last thing on my mind at the moment.”

Each league will have five participants square off in the Derby and then compete through a bracketed system to create an AL vs. NL final.

Stanton leads the National League in home runs (21) and RBI (60).

OZUNA OUT

After leaving Saturday’s game with a cramp, outfielder Marcell Ozuna was not in the starting lineup Sunday. Yelich will start in center while Reed Johnson mans left field.

Ozuna said his rest was merely precautionary.

“They don’t want to lose me for two or three innings,” Ozuna said Sunday. “Tuesday I’ll be able to play.”

BULLPEN'S HEAVY LOAD

The Marlins bullpen entered Sunday third in Major League Baseball with 263.1 innings pitched, including 20 over the last three days.

Reliever Mike Dunn, who threw 31 pitches yesterday and has pitched in three of the Marlins' last four games, said he and his teammates have altered their routines to help deal with the increased workload.

“You’ve got to listen to your body and understand what you can or can’t do on a daily basis leading up to a game,” Dunn said. “I don’t think we’ve played long toss in over a week and the workout sessions have gone from an hour to 20-to-30 minutes.”

Dunn added that with the team’s off day Monday, Miami's first since June 12, more arms would be available for use Sunday.

“They asked us if we can go and knowing there is an off day tomorrow, I’m available today and a lot of guys are going to be,” he said. “I threw 30 pitches last night but we've got an off day tomorrow so I know I can go in there and pitch today and I know I’m not going to pick up a baseball tomorrow.”

The Marlins called up lefthander Dan Jennings from the minors before Sunday's game to provide depth in the bullpen.

--JACOB FELDMAN

SUNDAY'S LINEUPS

> Athletics (50-30): 1. Craig Gentry CF, 2. Alberto Callaspo 2B, 3. Yoenis Cespedes LF, 4. Josh Donaldson 3B, 5. Nate Freiman 1B, 6. Brandon Moss RF, 7. Nick Punto SS, 8. Stephen Vogt C, 9. Tommy Milone LHP.

> Marlins (39-42): 1. Christian Yelich CF, 2. Reed Johnson LF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Ed Lucas SS, 6. Jeff Baker 1B, 7. Donovan Solano 2B, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Andrew Heaney P.  

COMING UP

  • Monday: Off.
  • Tuesday: Marlins RHP Henderson Alvarez (5-3, 2.32 ERA) vs. Philadelphia Phillies TBA 

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.