April 14, 2015

Carter Capps and his unique delivery getting attention

ATLANTA -- Carter Capps -- and his unique delivery -- is suddenly getting all kinds of attention.

Capps, who made his 89th major-league appearance Monday night against the Braves, has had USA Today, Deadspin and Yahoo write articles on him in the last 24 hours because he hops off the pitching rubber as he throws a pitch.

Note to the rest of the world: Capps has been pitching this way for years.

Last Thursday, Capps' mechanics were called into question down in Triple A New Orleans when umpires ruled his first two pitches of the season illegal because he “disengaged from the pitching rubber too soon.”

The Marlins sought a clarification and Capps came back and made another appearance without umpires having a problem with his delivery. Called up Monday, he pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Braves -- with no warnings or balk calls. Capps said before Monday's game he shouldn’t have any issues moving forward.

“They said I just have to drag my foot and make sure I don’t get too elevated in the air and make sure there is more on a lateral plane,” Capps said. “As long as I do that, they have no problem with it.

“[The delivery] doesn’t look pretty, obviously. But that’s the first time anybody had a blatant problem with it.’"

Here's video of Capps' delivery from this spring: https://vine.co/v/O0vI99qMItv

April 13, 2015

Henderson Alvarez headed to DL with shoulder injury; Carter Capps on his way up

The news could have been worse -- much worse -- for the Marlins.

As it now stands, Henderson Alvarez will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury after results of MRI's performed Monday were "inconclusive," according to sources. The Marlins will call up right-handed reliever Carter Capps from Triple A New Orleans to fill his roster spot, and slide either David Phelps or Brad Hand into a starting role.

This isn't the first time Alvarez has dealt with a shoulder issue. He missed the first half of the 2013 season with shoulder inflammation and served a 15-day DL stint last August with a shoulder problem. Both times, he returned and pitched well.

Obviously, the Marlins are hoping for similar results following a period of rest for Alvarez.

There were serious concerns Sunday after Alvarez struggled in a loss to the Rays. His velocity was alarmingly lower, and MRI's were ordered for both his shoulder and elbow. He didn't make the trip to Atlanta, and now it appears he'll be out for 15 days at a minimum.

With Capps headed up, the Marlins will have three now players on their roster tonight when they open a 3-game series in Atlanta. Catcher J.T. Realmuto and infielder Reid Brignac will also be added to replace Jeff Mathis and Don Kelly, each of whom suffered broken fingers in Sunday's loss.

The Marlins are also expected to transfer right-hander Aaron Crow -- out for the season following Tommy John surgery -- to the 60-day disabled list in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Brignac.

April 12, 2015

Henderson Alvarez headed for MRI on elbow source says

A bad opening week at home for the Marlins could turn out to be even worse, maybe catastrophic.

According to sources, Opening Day starter Henderson Alvarez is going to have an MRI on his throwing elbow. Our Clark Spencer broke the news on Twitter roughly 10 minutes ago. 

Manager Mike Redmond said Alvarez's velocity was down on Sunday in the 8-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Alvarez was an All-Star last season.

The Marlins (1-5) open a 10-game road trip Monday in Atlanta.

Ozuna scratched from lineup after showing up late; Ichiro starts in his place

By the time Marcell Ozuna walked onto the field Sunday morning for batting practice, his Marlins teammates were already stretching.

Ozuna was late to work, a violation of team rules. As a result, he was scratched from the lineup and replaced with Ichiro Suzuki, who will be making is first start with the Marlins.

"We're trying to win a series and he owes it to his teammates to be here to prepare himself," said manager Mike Redmond, who was clearly unhappy with the matter. "Ichiro's ready to play, so we'll sit (Ozuna on the bench) and let Ichiro go out there and help us try to win a series."

Redmond would not disclose to reporters the reason Ozuna gave for being late.

"You guys can ask him, but he's late," Redmond said. "Everybody (else) was here."

Ozuna's name was on the lineup card, batting fifth and playing center, when it was first posted Sunday. But after he didn't arrive in time, the lineup was changed to reflect the disciplinary decision.

Asked if Ozuna's punishment would be "a one-day thing," Redmond replied: "We'll see."

Martin Prado is also sitting Sunday, but not for any disciplinary reasons. Redmond just wanted to give him a day to re-group from an early-season hitting slump. Don Kelly will start at third and bat sixth.

Marlins lineup:

1. Dee Gordon, 2b; 2. Christian Yelich, lf; 3. Giancarlo Stanton, rf; 4. Michael Morse, 1b; 5. Ichiro Suzuki, cf; 6. Don Kelly, 3b; 7. Adeiny Hechavarria, ss; 8. Jeff Mathis, c; 9. Henderson Alvarez, p.

April 11, 2015

Four runs, two stolen bases and a dunk for Dee Gordon (w/video)

The way things are going for the Miami Heat, the Miami Marlins might be the only team left in South Florida playing basketball after Wednesday. With the Heat on the outside looking in for a playoff spot, the Marlins -- and Dee Gordon, in particular -- showed on Friday that hoops season may not end if the Heat are eliminated.

Gordon and pitcher Mat Latos combined forces by celebrating the Marlins' walk-off victory in extra innings by dunking on Christian Yelich, who delivered the game-winning hit in the 10th.

As Yelich was being interviewed by FoxSports in-game reporter Jessica Blaylock after the Marlins' first victory of the season, Latos held a miniature basketball goal over Yelich's head as Gordon emerged out of nowhere to complete a flying dunk with a Nerf ball.

Gordon rated his dunk as a "6."

"I probably could have got a little higher, windmill it or something," Gordon said. "I just wanted to make sure I executed the dunk. Next time we're going to go for style points."

Gordon stands only 5-11. But he's no slouch with a basketball in his hands. It was the sport he played throughout high school until switching to baseball his senior year. He received basketball scholarship offers from the University of Louisville, as well as a number of small colleges in Florida. But his father, former major leaguer pitcher Tom "Flash" Gordon, convinced him to stick with baseball.

"I'm not tall, but I could get up," Gordon said. "I could get up above the square (on the backboard)."

Gordon joked that if he was a little taller, "I'd be dunking on LeBron (James) or something."

If nothing else, Gordon and Latos created a new celebration for walk-off wins, one they intend to use the rest of the season.

Giancarlo Stanton, for one, thought it was "hilarious," but warned that Gordon would be unable to dunk on him if he ever delivers a walk-off hit.

"I'm gonna block that," Stanton said.

Gordon scoffed at Stanton's boast, joking that " the only thing he can do is crush baseballs. That's all he's got."

Manager Mike Redmond said he's fine with the dunking theatrics as long as those taking part in it are careful. Former Marlin Chris Coghlan suffered a season-ending knee injury a few years ago when he landed awkwardly after slamming a shaving cream pie in the face of Wes Helms after a walk-off win.

Redmond said he told Gordon "to be careful" after Friday's celebration.

"It's definitely a concern," Redmond said. "But you're always concerned when guys are carrying on and running around with 30-lb. buckets of water, too. But you also want them to have fun and enjoy it, and I think that was probably the proper time for that."

Redmond said the dunk routine was "probably one of the funniest things I've seen. You never know, from year to year, what the new celebration is going to be out on the field. That's the first dunk I've seen on a baseball field."

Redmond was even more impressed with Gordon's performance on the field. Gordon went 3 for 5, scored four runs -- including the game-winner in the 10th inning -- and stole two bases.

"I think you saw last night how a big a tool (Gordon's speed) is, and how big a weapon that is for us going forward," Redmond said. "He had a big night."

April 10, 2015

Cosart ready to make first start, put Twitter mess behind him; plus Zombie Night at Marlins Park

Jarred Cosart feels like a brand new person these days. The Marlins certainly hope so.

A week removed from being fined for betting on sports with bookmakers and cleared from of any severe punishment after a league probe did not find evidence he bet on baseball, the 24-year-old right-hander will make his first start of the season Saturday afternoon against the Rays. 

He said Friday he's eager to "get the first one out of the way and get rolling.”

"The real marathon starts tomorrow for me, and hopefully, 35 starts and hopefully more if we get to October," Cosart said. "I kind of [feel] like a new person getting that [investigation] off my hands, and carrying over [what happened] my last start of spring training, kind of with a clean slate. Just [being] able to work through that with the team behind me and family and friends that were behind me [felt good].”

Cosart, who ran into trouble with baseball after tweets surfaced from his Twitter account indicating that he might have placed sports-related bets, said he's staying off social media for now.

“We’re going to work something out with my agency, maybe like a fan page or something," he said. "Obviously, that was kind of a freak incident and it’s behind us now. Hopefully we won’t have anything else going forward.”

As for the blister on his middle finger which showed up right around the same time baseball started investigating him, Cosart said he's happy to be healthy. Blisters, he says, have nagged him for years.

“I usually get one a year," he said. "It’s weird. The past three years, they’ve all been at different times. Last year I had it in the middle of the year, the year before didn’t happen until my last start and I think back in the minor leagues, it just varied. I was actually really happy it happened when it did in spring training, got it out of the way. Usually, knock on wood, it’s once a year. Hopefully it’s out of the way for the rest of the year.”

> Manager Mike Redmond said he hasn't considered making any changes to the lineup to get the offense rolling. The Marlins scored only three runs combined in their first three games, the second-fewest in franchise history to start a season.

"Not after three games," Redmond said of any lineup changes. "I like our lineup. I really like our lineup. We had some opportunities to score some runs. I think we all saw that. It didn’t happen, but it’s going to happen. Hopefully it’ll be tonight."

ZOMBIE NIGHT AT MARLINS PARK

After a day off, the winless Marlins (0-3) are back at it tonight in search of their first victory of the season on Zombie Night.

FullSizeRenderThe first theme night of the season (they'll have one every Friday home game) promises a fan-friendly experience that includes an appearance from actor Iron E. Singleton, who played T-Dog on the hit AMC show the Walking Dead. Fans who purchase the VIP special event package will receive a game ticket, Marlins Zombie Kit, T-shirt and VIP pregame party with prizes, games and zombie face painting. Fans are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite zombie costume and to stay in their seats following the game for a fireworks show presented by Pepsi.

Turns out by the way that pitcher Tom Koehler is a big fan of The Walking Dead. He apparently is the only one in the Marlins clubhouse. First baseman Mike Morse prefers watching The Real Housewives of Miami and reliever Mike Dunn is more of a Big Bang Theory fan.

"I haven't seen the season finale, but I've watched every other episode," Koehler said of The Walking Dead. "I like Daryl. I like him walking around with his crossbow taking people out and picking the arrow back up and moving forward. He's really evolved over the seasons too."

Would Koehler survive a zombie apocalypse?

"No. We're pretty pampered in here," he said. "I don't know if all of a sudden I could go off drinking water every six days or finding a random deer that's still alive somehow. I don't think I'd be okay.

"[Catcher Jeff] Mathis would. He'd find a way. He has a barn. He basically lives in a zombie apocalypse by choice. That would be my pick to survive."

What would be Koehler's weapon of choice in a zombie apocalypse?

"I'd have a crossbow, samurai sword mix," he said. "So I'd be able to slice the zombies up if I ran out of arrows."

FRIDAY'S LINEUPS

Rays (1-2): 1. Kevin Kiermaier CF, 2. Steve Sauza RF, 3. Asdrubal Cabrera SS, 4. Evan Longoria 3B, 5. Desmond Jennings LF, 6. Allan Dykstra 1B, 7. Logan Forsythe 2B, 8. Rene Rivera C, 9. Steve Geltz RHP.

Marlins (0-3): 1. Dee Gordon 2B, 2. Christian Yelich LF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Micahel Morse 1B, 5. Martin Prado 3B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 8. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 9. Dan Haren RHP.

April 09, 2015

Note to Marlins fans: 13 teams have rallied from 0-3 starts since '93 to make playoffs, two won World Series

There's no reason to stick a fork in the Marlins just yet. 

As disappointing as it was to see the Fish get swept at home by the Braves to open the season, Marlins fans can at least take solace in this: 0-3 is not a death sentence.

Since the Marlins inaugural season of 1993 (and not including the strike-shortened 1994 season), 68 teams have started the season 0-3 and 13 rallied to make the playoffs including last year's Angels who finished with the best record in baseball. The Angels were among a group of 10 teams to win their division since 1993 following an 0-3 slip out of the gate. Two teams -- the 1998 Yankees and 2012 Giants -- won the World Series.

The Marlins, who have just six winning seasons in their history and two trips to the playoffs that both ended in World Series crowns, have started 0-3 four times in their existence. The previous three ended with losing records: 62-100 in 2013, 76-86 in 2001 and 67-76 in the strike-shortened 1995 season. Still, Marlins fans can take solace in the fact 25 of those 68 aforementioned teams to start 0-3 came back and finished better than .500. That's roughly 37 percent of the group.

The bigger concern: the lack offense.

Prior to this season, 27 National League teams (dating back to 1887) scored three runs or less in their first three games combined and only two came back to make the playoffs: the 2003 National League-East winning Braves and the 1943-pennant winning Cardinals.

If the Marlins lose to the Rays on Friday and fall to 0-4 it's not the end of the world either. A total of 108 National League teams have started a season with four consecutive losses and nine came back to make the playoffs including the 1985 Cardinals and 1897 Boston Braves, who went on to win the pennant.

FROM 0-3 TO PLAYOFFS SINCE 1993 (13)
1998 YANKEES         114-48, World Series champion
2003 BRAVES          101-61, Division champion
1999 D'BACKS          100-62, Division champion
1996 INDIANS          99-62, Division champion
2014 ANGELS          98-64, Division champion
2011 BREWERS        96-66, Division champion
2012 YANKEES         95-67, Division champion
2012 GIANTS           94-68, World Series champion
2012 BRAVES           94-68, Wildcard
2001 CARDINALS      93-69, Wildcard
2011 RAYS               91-71, Wildcard
2007 PHILLIES         89-73, Division champion
1995 REDS               85-59, Division champion

FROM 0-3 TO OVER. 500 SINCE 1993 (12 OTHERS)
1999 REDS              96-67
2002 DODGERS       92-70
2011 RED SOX         90-72
2003 BLUE JAYS      86-76
2003 WHITE SOX     86-76
2006 PHILLIES        85-77
1993 ASTROS          85-77
1993 ORIOLES         85-77
1996 RED SOX         85-77
1993 ROYALS          84-78
2005 METS              83-79
1998 DODGERS        83-79

April 08, 2015

Redmond not worried about slow-starting Saltalamacchia

Mike Redmond isn't hitting the panic button yet with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Wednesday's night off for the struggling Marlins catcher was scheduled, the skipper said.

"My plan going into this was to get Matty [Jeff Mathis] in there one of these days," Redmond said. "I want to try to incorporate -- just like we do our pitchers -- get all these guys out into a game situation as quick as we possibly can. [Wednesday was] Matty's night."

Saltalamacchia, in the second year of a three-year, $21-million deal, had a rough debut with the Marlins last season. His performance at the plate (.220, 11 homers, 44 RBI, 143 strikeouts) and behind it (career-high 15 errors) was among the worst in the game for catchers.

He was bad at hitting with runners in scoring position (.182) and his swing-and-miss percentage was 35.9 percent (worst among hitters to face at least 1,500 pitches).

The start to this season (0-for-7 with five strikeouts) hasn't been much better.

"It's two games," Redmond said. "We've got a few guys off to a slow start. I don't get too over excited about eight at-bats or six at-bats when you're talking about guys getting 500 or 600 at-bats in a season."

CISHEK NOT WORRIED

Mat Latos wasn't the only Marlins pitcher to have a rough debut Tuesday against the Braves.

Closer Steve Cishek got shelled in just a third of an inning of work, giving up two hits, two walks and four earned runs on 24 pitches. His ERA stands at a whopping 108.00.

But Cishek didn't seem too bothered by it Wednesday.

"It doesn't really matter -- the game was out of hand," Cishek said of his rough outing. "If it was a tied game or we were winning it then it would be an issue. I'd be pissed."

It was only the third time Cishek has given up four earned runs or more in less than an inning of work. 

"I just didn't have any good stuff," he said. "It wasn't lack of focus or anything. I wasn't sharp. It still sucks, but at the end of the day it really doesn't matter. All that matters to me is the saves number because that means we win ball games."

Redmond said the only reason he pitched Cishek in a blowout loss late was because he needed the work after having four or five days off. Redmond said with the Marlins off Thursday Cishek would be available to pitch Wednesday.

YELICH RECEIVES WARNING

Major League Baseball is watching you Christian Yelich.

The Marlins left fielder received a warning letter from the league Wednesday for not getting into the batter's box fast enough during an at-bat in the fourth inning on Opening Day.

Baseball's new pace of play rules intended to speed up the game require batters to keep at least one foot in the batter's box unless they swing or are forced to move because of the pitch or a steal attempt.

Players won't start receiving fines until next month, but baseball is sending out warnings to players to let them know if they are breaking the rule.

Yelich had no comment.

WEDNESDAY'S LINEUPS

Braves (2-0): 1. Jace Peterson 2B, 2. Andrelton Simmons SS, 3. Nick Markakis RF, 4. Freddie Freeman 1B, 5. A.J. Pierzynski C, 6. Jonny Gomes LF, 7. Alberto Callaspo 3B, 8. Cameron Maybin CF, 9. Shelby Miller RHP.

Marlins (0-2): 1. Dee Gordon 2B, 2. Christian Yelich LF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Michael Morse 1B, 5. Martin Prado 3B, 6. Marcell Ozuna CF, 7. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Tom Koehler RHP.

April 07, 2015

Opening Day tells us nothing

It sure was a bit of a mess at Marlins Park on Monday, wasn't it? There was the unfathomable rain delay. There was Dee Gordon having his feet fly out from under him, slipping on the slick base path and falling flat on his face. There was Marcell Ozuna raising his glove out in center to show the world he had just made a dandy shoestring catch on a sinking liner. Problem was, the ball wasn't in his glove. And then there was Jarrod Saltalamacchia striking out his first two at bats before grounding into a bases-loaded, rally-killing double play the third. The Marlins would have been better off had he struck out that time, too. Even Giancarlo Stanton joined the act, foolishly trying to go first-to-third on a Martin Prado single to left, only to be thrown out easily.

So Opening Day was no thing of beauty. But it does it really tell us anything about what's in store the rest of the way for the Marlins? Not really. Not at all.

First, while the rebuilding Braves may be a shadow of their usual selves, Julio Teheran ranks among the league's premier pitchers and showed it Monday. There's no shame in losing to Teheran.

But take a look at two previous Opening Days, in particular, for the Marlins, and it proves that the outcomes in Game No. 1 have no bearing on the 161 to come.

In 1998, the year after winning their first World Series and promptly blowing up the roster, the Marlins won the season opener. They then proceeded to lose their next 11 and finish with a 54-108 record, the worst in franchise history.

Flash forward to 2003. The Marlins not only lost the opener, but looked terrible in the process. The infield defense, which arguably was the strength of that team, was a mess. Mike Lowell, Alex Gonzalez and Luis Castillo were each charged with errors in what was an Opening Day debacle. Of course, the '03 team went on to win the World Series.

________________

Mike Redmond is sticking with his Opening Day lineup for Game 2 tonight at Marlins Park:

1. Gordon, 2b; 2. Yelich, lf; 3. Stanton, rf; 4. Morse, 1b; 5. Prado, 3b; 6. Ozuna, cf; 7. Saltalamacchia, 2; Hechavarria, 6; 9. Latos, 1.

The roof is open by the way, and there are no rain clouds in the vicinity. Keep your fingers crossed. 

April 06, 2015