June 28, 2014

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.

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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."

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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."

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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. 

June 22, 2014

Dietrich recalled from NOLA in wake of Furcal injury

            Derek Dietrich rejoined the Marlins Sunday with a chance to remain the team’s starting second baseman for the next two weeks if not longer.

            Dietrich was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans in the wake of another injury to second baseman Rafael Furcal, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain.

            Furcal suffered the injury Saturday in the Marlins 4-0 loss to the Mets when he pulled up grabbing the back of his left leg as he was trying to beat out a double play. Furcal already missed the first two months of the season with an injury to his right hamstring and a groin injury.

            Marlins manager Mike Redmond said it could be some time before Furcal, 36, would be able to return.

            “It’s going to be a while for [Furcal],” Redmond said. “It looks like it could be an extensive thing so we’re not putting a timetable on it right now.”

            Dietrich, who got to the stadium early after catching a 6 a.m. flight out of New Orleans, hit .340 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 13 minor-league games since being demoted June 3.

            Dietrich’s problem at the time was defense. He committed eight errors in 36 games tied for the most by a second baseman in the National League this season.

Dietrich made only one error in 13 games at New Orleans.

“I knew I’d have a chance to play every day and get in a routine and rhythm,” Dietrich said. “I’m glad to be back here and playing well. I went down there with the same mindset to get quality at-bats. I put together good games and had a lot of opportunities.”

            Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was not in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game, but Redmond said he’d be available as a pinch-hitter. Redmond hopes he will be ready to start again when the Marlins play the Phillies starting Monday in Philadelphia.

LINEUPS

            Mets (34-41): Granderson rf; Murphy 2b; Wright 3b; Duda 1b; Nieuwenhuis cf; Tejada ss; Recker c; Niese p; Young, Jr. lf.

            Marlins (37-37): Johnson lf; Lucas ss; Stanton rf; McGehee 3b; Ozuna cf; Baker 1b; Dietrich 2b; Mathis c; DeSclafani p.

June 21, 2014

Furcal likely headed to disabled list with calf, hamstring injury

The Marlins are going to make another roster move soon now that looks like they'll be without second baseman Rafael Furcal again.

Furcal, 36, left Saturday's 4-0 loss to the Mets in the third inning after pulling up as he was running down the first base line and trying to beat out a double play. Manager Mike Redmond said it was a calf and hamstring injury and that Furcal was headed to the hospital to have an MRI performed.

The Marlins first called it a left hamstring cramp.

"It definitely doesn't sound good," Redmond said. "I'd be happy if it was a cramp."

Furcal has played in only nine games this season. He recently was recalled from the 60-day disabled list on June 13 after fighting through hamstring and groin injuries.

"I'm more disappointed for him," Redmond said. "He's been out for a long time. He was looking forward to this opportunity with us to go out and play and it just hasn't happened for him. A rough go from the start. Spring training was tough on him. He's been banged up really since Day 1. We were hoping getting him back would be a big spark for us and he just hasn't been able to stay out there. I feel more for him and what he's gone through to get back out on the field. It's tough when you get banged up and you can't get out there and perform and do the things you want to be able to do."

Redmond said the Marlins will announce a move Sunday.

Derek Dietrich, whom the Marlins sent back to Triple A on June 3 because of defensive struggles, is not in the lineup for the New Orleans Zepbyrs Saturday. So he very well could be on his way back to Miami.

Furcal leaves with left hamstring cramp Marlins say

Rafael Furcal has only been back from the disabled list a little over the week. 

He might be heading back there soon.

The 36-year old second baseman pulled up and reached back for his left hamstring after trying to beat out a double play, which ended the third inning. Furcal missed the first two-plus months of the season and most of the spring trying to recover from hamstring and groin injuries.

The Marlins said Furcal exited with a left hamstring cramp and listed him as day-to-day.

Jeff Baker replaced Furcal, who was escorted off the field by team trainers. 

The Marlins are already playing without shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who was scratched from Saturday's game and replaced by Ed Lucas.