August 11, 2015

Jose Fernandez: "As long as I'm healthy, I'm coming back. It doesn't matter our record."

Jose Fernandez quickly and emphatically put to rest any thoughts of shutting down the rest of the season when he told reporters during batting practice today that he fully intended to pitch again.

"As long as I'm healthy, I'm coming back," Fernandez said without hesitation. "It doesn't matter our record."

As expected, the Marlins placed Fernandez on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a right biceps strain.

But Fernandez said he is relieved that test results showed the injury wasn't anything more serious.

"That was great news," Fernandez said of the diagnosis. "I think it's the best news out of all it. It's been a couple of days. I don't feel any pain. I don't feel anything. So I think it's really good news. I feel really good about it."

Asked if he expected to pitch again this season, Fernandez replied: "For sure. I'm pretty sure, yes."

Fernandez complained of shoulder stiffness after pitching Friday in Atlanta. Though he came out after throwing only 76 pitches over five innings, he said it was the 38-pitch fourth inning that likely caused the injury.

"During the game, that fourth inning I threw a a lot of pitches," Fernandez said. "My arm got a little tired. When I went out and pitched in the fifth inning, I wasn't the same. I was dragging my arm. They just took me out of the game."

"I really don't see it as an injury," he said. "Probably the arm needed a little break. But thank God, it wasn't a big deal."

________________

Giancarlo Stanton continues to hit inside the cage but has yet to face live pitching, and there remains no timetable on when that will occur.

"He's progressing nice," said manager Dan Jennings. "He'll continue to do baseball activities. You know, it's just about when he gets the strength back in that hand and wrist."

Stanton has missed more than six weeks after breaking the hamate bone in his left hand and undergoing surgery to repair the injury.

"He has been in the cages, starting to feel some strength come back," Jennings said. "So, hopefully, that's a positive side that we can move that clock forward some."

________________

Reliever Carter Capps (right elbow) threw his first bullpen session Tuesday.

"Went well," Jennings said. "I saw him flat ground and it looked good. The ball was coming out nice. It was great to see. Today was a nice step. He'll have another bullpen, and then somewhere we'll get him in game action, probably in Jupiter."

_________________

 

August 07, 2015

Another rookie -- Kyle Barraclough -- headed to Marlins bullpen

ATLANTA -- Just when you thought the Marlins couldn't possibly locate another raw rookie with no big-league experience to insert in their bullpen, the team announced today that Kyle Barraclough -- the right-handed reliever the Marlins acquired in the Steve Cishek trade with St. Louis -- is on his way up.

Barraclough and right-hander Kendry Flores were called up Friday after the team placed starting pitcher Jose Urena (left knee contusion) and reliever Andre Rienzo (left knee laceration) on the 15-day disabled list. Urena was struck in the knee by a line drive in the second inning of Thursday's start.

The Marlins acquired Barraclough from the Cardinals on July 24 for Cishek. In four outings with Double A Jacksonville since the trade, Barraclough has posted impressive figures, striking out nine while walking only one in a total of four innings. Walks have been a major issue for him in the past. Over four minor-league campaigns totaling 140 2/3 innings, Barraclough has averaged more than five walks per nine innings to go with a strikeout rate of more than 11 per 9.

Just within the past week, relievers Brian Ellington and Chris Reed have made their major-league debuts with the Marlins. Flores isn't exactly flush with experience, either. He was up earlier in the season with the Marlins, making his big-league debut in early June before being sent back to the minors after two relief appearances.

Not yet known is who will take Urena's spot in the rotation. Both Flores and Adam Conley, another rookie who has been working out of the pen, have both been used exclusively as starters in the minors and could fill the void. 

August 06, 2015

Hechavarria taking aim on team errorless record

ATLANTA -- Ask Martin Prado which shortstop is better defensively -- the Marlins’ Adeiny Hechavarria or the Braves’ Andrelton Simmons -- and he’ll shrug his shoulders.

“That’s a tough one,” said Prado, who has played alongside both players in the infield.

Simmons has won the Gold Glove award as the National League’s best shortstop each of the past two years. But Hechavarria is nipping at his heels. The two ranked one-two among N.L. shortstops in fielding percentage -- Simmons at .994 and Hechavarria at .991 -- going into their weekend series at Turner Field in Atlanta.

Entering Thursday, Hechavarria had gone 42 straight games without making an error, putting him within range of the team record for a shortstop (54 consecutive errorless games by Hanley Ramirez in 2009).

Hechavarria has made just four errors all season.

According to Marlins infield coach Perry Hill, the league is taking notice.

“People are starting to ask more questions about Hechavarria,” Hill said of fellow coaches and managers. “They’re starting to notice and starting to ask more and more questions. Maybe the word’s out.”

The Gold Glove awards are determined by a combination of statistical formulas (25 percent) and votes submitted by coaches and managers (75 percent).

So what separates the two shortstops?

“For me, Adeiny is more reactive. He’s more flexible,” Prado said. “And Simmons is more knowledgable and anticipates better. They’re both athletic. But Adeiny is more acrobatic.”

Hill said Hechavarria’s knowledge of the position has improved, too.

“He’s learned to move on counts,” Hill said. “So he’s putting himself in better position to catch all hit balls. We used to have to move him, and sometimes couldn’t get his attention. But I haven’t moved him in the last 15 to 20 games. He’s doing it on his own. He’s figured it out.”

_________

Catcher J.T. Realmuto sat out his second straight game due to a bone bruise on his glove hand resulting from the constant pounding of pitches.
“It’s probably the glove I’m using,” Realmuto said. “The padding is so worn down on it. There’s no padding left. Over time, it’s kind of just gotten beat up.”
Realmuto said he expects to return to the lineup Friday.
_________

The Marlins are hoping Jarred Cosart can return to the rotation before the end of August.
Cosart has missed much of the season with vertigo due to an inner ear disorder. But he is scheduled to resume a throwing program on Friday and could begin making rehab starts for Single A Jupiter in the near future.
“Now it’s just a matter of building him back up,” said manager Dan Jennings. “It would be great if (Cosart returned) sometime in August because we could use the depth.”
_________

COMING UP:

Friday -- Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (4-0, 2.13) at Atlanta Braves RHP Julio Teheran (7-6, 4.59), 7:35 p.m., Turner Field.
Saturday -- Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (8-8, 3.71) at Atlanta Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz (3-3, 5.40), 7:10 p.m., Turner Field.

-30-

August 03, 2015

Marlins place Carter Capps on 15-day DL; A.J. Ramos receives pep talk from Dan Jennings

The Marlins placed set-up reliever Carter Capps on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain, but don’t believe the injury to be so serious that he’ll be out any longer than that.

“I think it’s mostly precautionary,” Capps said, adding that he expects to begin throwing again in a few days.

Capps, who came out of Sunday’s game complaining of tightness in his right arm, underwent an arthrogram on Monday. That procedure requires three to four days of complete rest.

With Capps out for at least that long, the Marlins decided to place him on the DL and bring in relief help, rather than go with a short-handed bullpen. Right-handed reliever Brian Ellington was called up from Triple A New Orleans.

“Hopefully for Carter it’s the minimum 15 days and he can be back,” said manager Dan Jennings. “He’s having such a phenomenal year. The other day we were sitting here looking at his numbers that they posted on the scoreboard, and it’s Nintendo numbers, really crazy numbers.”

____________

The ninth inning has been far from the only sore spot with the Marlins this season. But it’s been one of the most glaring ones.

From Steve Cishek to A.J. Ramos, the team has failed to locate a lockdown closer who consistently shuts the door.

The latest meltdown came Sunday when Ramos gave up a tying, two-run homer to little Alexi Amarista. Though Ramos backed into the win after Adeiny Hechavarria won the game with his walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth, it was the fifth blown save for Ramos.

That tied him for the major league lead in blown saves with seven others, including Cishek. You read that right. The Marlins have two of the eight co-leaders in blown saves.

“It’s the toughest three outs to get in the game,” Jennings said. “Even the great ones not named Mariano Rivera, they’re going to blow three to seven, somewhere in that mixture. You just don’t know when it’s going to occur. If it happens back-to-back, or close together, then it seems to sting a little more.”

Jennings spoke privately with Ramos on Monday, assuring him he would remain in that role despite a recent rough patch. In his seven outings since the All-Star break, Ramos has two blown saves, a loss on Friday in which he was charged with four earned runs, and a white-knuckle save in Arizona in which he struck out three straight to end the game after the Diamondbacks loaded the bases.

“I hope we get in that (save) situation tonight because he’s going to get the ball,” Jennings told reporters before Monday’s game. “We have full confidence in him to do that job. I just told him if the phone rings in the ninth inning, it will be for you.”

__________

The Marlins on Monday also called up catcher Tomas Telis, whom they acquired Friday from Texas in a trade deadline deal for reliever Sam Dyson. Telis was supposed to join the team Saturday, one day after the trade, but remained in the minors when the Marlins opted to call up two relievers (Chris Reed and Adam Conley) to help get through the weekend.

To make room for Telis, the Marlins optioned infielder Donovan Solano to New Orleans.
__________

August 01, 2015

Giancarlo Stanton recovery going slowly; Jose Fernandez aiming for 16-0 at Marlins Park

It is looking more and more that Giancarlo Stanton won’t return to the lineup within the 4-to-6 week timeframe that was first projected following surgery for a broken hamate bone in his left hand.

It will be five weeks Sunday since the surgery, and Stanton is only now hitting off a tee. Once he is able to swing with no pain, which he said he continues to feel, he’ll advance to flips and then hitting on the field in practice.

Stanton said the recovery process is “definitely slower” than he anticipated.

“I think what you’re going to have in Giancarlo is that once it really kicks in and he gets to that comfort level where he’s good with turning it loose, then it will be a fast thing,” said Marlins manager Dan Jennings. “But he’s got to get to that level first. He’s still building some strength in his wrist. It’s not there yet.”

_______________

Jose Fernandez has never heard of LaMarr Hoyt or Johnny Allen.

But Fernandez’s name could soon be linked to theirs -- perhaps as early as Sunday -- when he puts his perfect 15-0 home record on the line at Marlins Park.

Hoyt and Allen share the major league record for most home victories without a loss to begin a career: 16. Fernandez could match that mark with a win Sunday over the Padres to go to 16-0 at Marlins Park.

“Hopefully I can get to this number,” Fernandez said, pointing to the No. 16 on the back of his jersey. “I’ll be really happy if I do.”

Fernandez doesn’t draw an easy assignment. The Padres are sending out James Shields, who has gone 6-2 in his career against the Marlins but has lost four of his past five decisions this season.

“It’s a tough one tomorrow because Shields is pitching,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez will be facing the Padres for the first time since May 9, 2014 -- the last game he pitched before undergoing Tommy John surgery.
_____________

Brad Hand will likely move into Dan Haren’s slot in the rotation, beginning with Tuesday’s game against the Mets.

“Right now, we feel like he deserves that opportunity,” Jennings said.

Hand has started three times this season, going 1-1 with a 6.17 ERA.

For his career, Hand is 5-19 with a 4.69 ERA in 34 starts.

For the time being, at least, Hand and rookie Jose Urena, who started Saturday, are filling the rotation spots belonging to Haren and Mat Latos, both of whom were traded this week.
_____________

The Marlins called up rookie left-handers Adam Conley and Chris Reed from Triple A New Orleans on Saturday. Originally, the Marlins intended to add catcher Tomas Telis to the roster.

Telis was acquired from Texas on Friday in a trade for reliever Sam Dyson.

But due to bullpen usage in Friday’s 11-inning loss, Jennings said that it was decided the Marlins needed extra relief help.

Conley was up with the Marlins previously this season, recording his first major league win on July 11 in what was his first big-league start. Reed has never pitched in the majors.

Reed was acquired from the Dodgers in a July 15 trade for pitcher Grant Dayton. A native of London, England, Reed would become the first pitcher from that country to pitch in the majors since Phil Stockman of the Braves in 2008.

Reed was selected by the Dodgers with the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 2011 amateur draft, two spots after the Marlins drafted Fernandez.
______________

July 30, 2015

Latos, Morse still with Marlins as of Thursday morning, trade rumored to be imminent

Mat Latos and Michael Morse were still in the Marlins clubhouse as the team prepared for its 12:10 p.m. game against the Nationals Thursday afternoon.

But according to reports and tweets by MLB.com, a three-team trade that would send the two players to the Dodgers as part of a three-team trade also involving the Braves could be imminent.

MLB.com is reporting that the proposed deal would send Latos and Morse to the Dodgers, who would also acquire closer Jim Johnson, starting pitcher Alex Wood, infield prospect Jose Peraza and reliever Luis Avilan from the Braves.

The Marlins would get three minor league pitchers Jeff Brigham, Victor Araujo and Kevin Guzman from the Dodgers, who would pick up the remaining $14.3 million in salaries owed to Latos and Morse. The Braves would pick up Cuban infielder Hector Olivera and pitcher Paco Rodriguez from the Dodgers. Atlanta would also receive the Marlins’ Competitive Balance Round A pick in next year’s draft, which is slated at No. 35 overall.

All three prospects the Marlins would get have been playing at the Single-A level this season.

Brigham, a 23-year old, 6-0, 200-pound right-handed pitcher from Washington, is 6-5 with a 5.52 ERA in 14 starts combined at both the Class-A and advanced Class-A level. He had 75 strikeouts in 75 innings and has a 1.97 strikeout to walk ratio.

Guzman, a 20-year old, 6-3, 165-pound Venezuelan righty, is 5-7 this season with a 3.90 ERA in 83 innings pitched.

Araujo, a 22-year old, 5-11, 171-pound Dominican righty, went 3-3 with a 5.40 ERA as a reliever in 32 appearances (50 innings).

“I know about as much as you guys do,” said Latos when speaking briefly to reporters. “I’m just employee No. 35 [jersey number with the Marlins] and I’m showing up to work.”

Latos, 27, is 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA this season. But the Coconut Creek High alum has turned in four consecutive quality starts with at least six innings and three or less runs and has a 2.08 ERA over that span. Latos has a 2.96 ERA over his past seven starts since June 13 when he came off the disabled list (knee inflammation).

Morse, 33, hit just .214 with four homers and 12 RBI in 52 games, and hit .091 in 22 at-bats against lefties this year, with no homers and no RBI. At Marlins Park, Morse hit .149 with no homers, had a .171 on-base percentage and a .176 slugging average. Morse also suffered a sprained right finger injury on May 24, which contributed to his struggles.

July 29, 2015

Miami Marlins agree to trade Mat Latos, Michael Morse to Los Angeles Dodgers for minor-leaguers

The Marlins spent a busy offseason making wholesale changes to a roster many felt could take it to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. Now, with the season up in flames, they are tearing it down almost as quickly as they pieced it together.

The Marlins have agreed to trade pitcher Mat Latos and underperforming first baseman Michael Morse -- two of their most prominent offseason acquisitions -- to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three minor-leaguer players. The Marlins threw in their 2016 Competitive Balance draft pick in a deal that has all the components of a salary dump.

By trading Latos, Morse and reliever Steve Cishek, who was dealt to the Cardinals on Friday, the Marlins effectively cleared $8.7 million in payroll from the books this season, as well as the $8 million Morse is due to make next season. The Dodgers agreed to pick up all his money.

Trading Latos comes as no surprise. As Latos is headed for free agency following the season, he didn't fit in the Marlins' future plans and becomes a two-month rental for the Dodgers. Either did Morse, apparently. Morse, who signed a two-year, $16 million deal in December, struggled at the plate and ultimately lost his job at first base to Justin Bour. Morse hit .214, drove in just 12 runs, and posted a career-low OPS of .592.

Latos made 16 starts, going 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA, though he has pitched better of late.

It marks the third straight year the Marlins have traded their Competitive Balance pick, the only draft picks that can be traded. They used their pick in 2013 to acquire reliever Bryan Morris from Pittsburgh, and packaged it in their deal with Houston at last year's trade deadline to obtain pitcher Jarred Cosart.

The next to go for the Marlins could be Dan Haren. And several teams, including the Indians, are also asking about outfielder Marcell Ozuna. The Marlins have been scouting Cleveland's pitching, just in case. 

 

 

 

 

 

July 28, 2015

Henderson Alvarez undergoes shoulder surgery, out for season

Marlins manager Dan Jennings said starter Henderson Alvarez underwent shoulder surgery Tuesday in Pensacola, effectively ending the former All-Star's season.

The 25-year old Alvarez, who pitched a no-hitter in 2013, went 0-4 with a 6.45 ERA this season before going on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Alvarez was shut down during a recent rehab start after again feeling discomfort in the shoulder.

"It's a tear in the shoulder," Jennings said. "He's a definite out for the season candidate now."

Jennings said it was undetermined whether Alvarez would be ready to return by Spring Training.

"I think depending on the severity of the tear and we'll know more of a timetable once the surgery is complete."

Alvarez, the Marlins' Opening Day starter, had not pitched since May 22, and was on a rehab assignment at Single-A Jupiter. He made two minor league starts before being shut down again.

July 25, 2015

Alvarez to see Dr. Andrews for shoulder; Stanton, Gordon on the mend

SAN DIEGO -- Henderson Alvarez is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews early next week for his ailing right shoulder.

“He’s going to see Dr. Andrews and determine what’s going to be in his best interest, whether it’s a surgical or non-surgical procedure,” said manager Dan Jennings.

Alvarez has missed most of the season with right shoulder inflammation.

After making two minor-league rehab starts this month with Single A Jupiter, Alvarez continued to experience shoulder discomfort and was shut down from throwing once again.

Alvarez was the Marlins’ opening day starter and an All-Star last year.
___________

Out of nowhere, Giancarlo Stanton showed up on Saturday in San Diego.

But Jennings said the slugger merely arrived to see family and friends, then fly back to South Florida with the team on Sunday.

“It might be a sneak attack, off the bench, to pinch-hit,” Jennings joked.

Stanton has been out four weeks with a broken hamate bone in his left hand, and there’s no timetable on his return. He’s been limited to dry swings with a bat.

“Just trying to get a feel right now,” Stanton said. “My wrist, the rotation -- the whole thing.”
Stanton said if he felt the hand was strong enough, “I’d be out practicing right now.”

-- Second baseman Dee Gordon, who is on the disabled list with a dislocated thumb, is expected to play in a rehab game on Sunday for Single A Jupiter.

It’s possible Gordon could be activated from the DL on Tuesday when the Marlins open a home stand against Washington.
___________

July 24, 2015

Marlins trade Cishek to Cardinals for minor league pitcher

The Marlins have traded longtime reliever Steve Cishek to the St. Louis Cardinals for Kyle Barraclough, a right-handed closer for the Cardinals' Double A affiliate.

Cishek, who was the Marlins closer from 2012 until earlier this year when he lost the role earlier this year to A.J. Ramos, has been with the Marlins organization since 2007. He's saved 94 games in his career.

Barraclough is a former 7th round pick out of St. Mary's College of California. This season, he's 3-0 with a 2.28 ERA and 12 saves in 34 appearances between High-A and Double-A for the Cardinals. He's 12 of 13 on save chances.