Stanton eyes return from DL in 'about a week and a half'; Yelich activated from DL

Giancarlo Stanton
Giancarlo Stanton could be back in the Marlins lineup when they open their next homestand against the division-leading New York Mets a week from this Friday.

The All-Star slugger, who underwent surgery to repair a left wrist fracture on June 28, said Tuesday he's feeling better and is "about a week and a half [away]" from a return.

Stanton, who was leading baseball with 27 homers and 65 RBI when he injured his wrist swinging a bat, doesn't expect to play in any minor league rehab games when he's finally cleared. He said he can get his timing back in the batting cages. 

"I don't know how much time I have to do that [a minor league rehab stint] to be honest, for their schedule and for ours," said Stanton, who was initially expected to be back four to six weeks after surgery but has been delayed by pain in the wrist. "Hopefully, my timing will be there and we'll go from there."

The Marlins starting outfield of Stanton, center fielder Marcell Ozuna, and Gold Glove-winning left fielder Christian Yelich, tabbed the best in baseball by ESPN this winter, has only made 44 starts together in 2015.

"It will be a welcome addition to have him back in the lineup," manager Dan Jennings said of Stanton. "I know he's been progressing in a good way. I had a good visit with him Monday. He told me he's feeling stronger and doesn't feel it when he turns his wrist. So that's a good sign. If we can get these guys together and have a month of health, maybe we can be a spoiler in some ways."

Said Stanton: "We'll get a good 20, 25 games in together [to finish the season] -- so that will be nice for us all."

Yelich came off the disabled list Tuesday after the Marlins sent their seventh starting pitcher this season, rookie Kendry Flores, to the disabled list. Left-hander Chris Narveson will become the 13th different Marlins pitcher to start a game on Wednesday.

Jennings said Flores still has to have his an MRI on his throwing shoulder.

"Hopefully that tendonitis he felt will dissipate and he can be back because it's obvious we're going to need that pitching depth going down the stretch," Jennings said.

Staff ace Jose Fernandez, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 8 with a right biceps strain, will throw a bullpen session Thursday at Marlins Park. Fernandez may simply need to throw in a simulated game before he's cleared to return from the disabled list. 

"There's a case with him we could run him to Jupiter and get him in," Jennings said. "But he may accomplish the same thing in a sim game. Just depends on when he's ready to amp it that way. But he feels great right now, real good."

> The Marlins are also expecting right-hander Jarred Cosart, who has made just eight big league starts this season while battling vertigo, to be back soon. He's scheduled to throw 65 to 70 pitches for Single A Jupiter on Thursday.

> Rookie Jose Urena (bruised left knee) will throw a bullpen Wednesday and then live batting practice on Saturday. 

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.

March 19, 2014

Koehler takes liner off his backside, tosses 4 1/3 scoreless against Cardinals Triple A team Wednesday

While most of his Marlins teammates enjoyed their first day off of the spring, Tom Koehler spent his afternoon Wednesday pitching in a Triple A game on a backfield behind Roger Dean Stadium as his quest for a job in the starting rotation continued. 

Facing a lineup which featured Cardinals' top prospects Oscar Taveras and James Ramsey, Koehler tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up four hits and one walk while striking out four before his pitch count got too high.  

"I would have liked to have gone a little deeper especially coming off five [scoreless] innings the other day [against the Mets]," said Koehler, who threw 74 pitches, 54 for strikes.

"But considering the circumstances where my pitch count got up with some foul [balls], some good at-bats, I'm still happy where I'm at right now." 

Koehler, who in 12 Grapefruit League innings has given up just one earned run and seven hits while striking out 11 and walking two, had a bit of a scary moment in the fourth inning when Cardinals minor leaguer Chris Swauger smacked a line drive back to the mound. 

Luckily, the ball struck Koehler right below his buttocks, high up along his right thigh. He recovered, picked up the ball and tossed it to first base for the put out. Koehler then waved a trainer off saying he felt fine. 

"I'll tell you if that's one place it's going to get me that's the best spot," Koehler said. "Those are the type of plays people tend to panic on. That's the one that if I was thinking too much I would have picked it up and thrown it down the right field line and allowed the run. I found it, threw it. It didn't hurt."

After going 5-10 with a 4.41 ERA and making 23 starts for the Marlins last season, Koehler came into camp expecting to compete for the fifth spot in the rotation with left-hander Brad Hand and veteran right-hander Kevin Slowey.

Hand has been equal to the task, going 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA, nine hits, 15 strikeouts and two walks over 12 innings. But it looks like the Marlins could be leaning toward Koehler especially since Hand was only asked to pitch an inning of work in another minor league game on Wednesday. 

What's been the difference for Koehler this spring?

"It's honestly just knowing what I'm capable of doing," said Koehler, who went 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.15 WHIP in five starts last September. "I showed myself a lot in September of last season. I'm kind of trying to build off that. 

"I belong here and I know that. It's never been about stuff with me. It's always been about minimizing the damage and trying to stay within yourself and not try to do too much. I'm really focusing more on relying on my ability, throwing strikes and letting stuff play out. As soon as it comes out of my hand -- they hit a double or a home run -- so be it. Onto the next pitch. As of right now it's working and it's something I think is going to do a nice job of carrying over into the season."

February 26, 2014

Alvarez battling infection in his right shin, will miss first spring start

JUPITER -- Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez, who ended the 2013 season with a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers, will miss his first scheduled start of the spring Sunday because of an infection in his right shin.

Manager Mike Redmond said Alvarez was hospitalized and had the shin drained after the treatment the team was giving him didn't appear to be effective enough.

Alvarez, who went home from camp early Wednesday morning after being spotted by reporters limping around, hasn't practiced with the Marlins the last couple of days and is expected to be out a few more days according to Redmond. He expects Alvarez to be ready for the start of this season. 

"I think it started as an ingrown hair and got infected," Redmond said. "We were treating it, the infection. It just wasn't getting better. We wanted to be proactive and make sure it was getting taken care of. We got in there, got it cleaned out."

Alvarez missed the start of last season with right shoulder inflammation and went 5-6 with a 3.59 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 27 walks in 17 starts.


The Marlins were very encouraged with how Alvarez fared in the Venezuelan Winter League. He went 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in five starts this winter. He also pitched the first day of live batting practice last week.

"It shouldn't affect him," Redmond said. "He obviously won't make the start on Sunday, but he's pitched quite a bit. It shouldn't affect him and his ability to bounce back. He still has plenty of time to get his pitches in and get him ramped up for Opening Day."

Left-hander Brad Hand will start in Alvarez's place Sunday when the Marlins play the Nationals in Viera.

Jose Fernandez is starting the Marlins' Grapefruit League Opener Friday against the Cardinals.

The Marlins play a pair of split-squad games Saturday. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will start for the  Saturday against the Cardinals and veteran right-hander Kevin Slowey will pitch against the Mets up in Port St. Lucie.

> Redmond said the Marlins are looking to ease 36-year old second baseman Rafael Furcal into action  early in camp. Furcal missed all of the 2013 season with the Cardinals following Tommy John surgery and is making the transition from shortstop to second base.

"He'll play Saturday," Redmond said. "A guy like Furcal, I know he's feeling good, but at the same time I want to ease him into it, make sure he's got his legs under him and is healthy for Opening Day."

> TODAY'S MARLINS LINEUP VS. UM: 1. Donovan Solano 2B, 2. Christian Yelich LF, 3. Marcell Ozuna CF, 4. Garrett Jones 1B, 5. Casey McGehee 3B, 6. Ty Wigginton 3B, 7. Brian Bogusevic RF, 8. Ed Lucas SS, 9. Rob Brantly C, 10. Angel Sanchez RHP.

July 07, 2013

Nolasco departs; Slowey to start Monday

Ricky Nolasco cleaned out his locker and said his goodbyes in the Marlins clubhouse Sunday morning.

The Marlins traded Nolasco to the Dodgers late Saturday night for minor-league pitchers Angel Sanchez, Steven Ames and Josh Wall.

“I'm going to miss these guys here more than I can say,” said Nolasco, who flew to Arizona Sunday to join the Dodgers for a key series that begins Monday against the Diamondbacks. “But they understand it is a business, and I'll see them in August. I made a lot of lifelong friends here. I'm never going to forget that.”

Although Nolasco felt bittersweet departing after eight seasons with the Marlins, he said he was excited to be able to pitch for his favorite team that he said he’d go watch in person around 15 times a year with his dad and brothers growing up.

“The phone has been non-stop,” Nolasco said. “Obviously, I've never dealt with anything like that to where the phone was just blowing up. Everybody is just excited, everybody from back home. Even people who don't have my number, on Twitter and stuff, obviously where I grew up, they're all excited to see this happen. It's just an exciting time.”

Nolasco’s teammates wished him well and were happy he ended up in a good situation with the trade.

“He’s going to the perfect spot for him,” Giancarlo Stanton said. “To be able to go to where you want without having a choice is always a little extra bonus. It won’t be a tough transition for him.”

Nolasco, who went 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 18 starts for the Marlins, doesn’t know when he will make his first start for the Dodgers, but it could come during a key series with the Diamondbacks – the team they trail by 4½ games in the National League West.

 “Obviously we’ll miss Ricky and what he brought to this team, and the leadership he brought to this team, but at the same time, too, we all kind of knew this was going to happen,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “It’s good for Ricky that he’s going to go play for a good team, and a place where he wants to go. We wish him all the best.”

SLOWEY STARTS

Nolasco’s trade meant Kevin Slowey’s return to the rotation for the time being. Slowey will start Monday in what would have been Nolasco’s spot against the Braves.

“[Redmond] talked to me about it yesterday,” Slowey said. “He knows the importance of preparation. I don’t think I’ll know until tomorrow but I’ll be as ready as I can be and the preparation will be there. It will be up to me to go and execute and do my best.”

Ames and Wall were assigned to New Orleans and Sanchez, the only starter of the group, was sent to Single-A Jupiter.

Slowey will likely remain the fifth starter in the rotation until at least the All-Star break. Marlins President of Baseball Operations Larry Beinfest said Saturday the team will use the second half to evaluate several potential starters including Tom Koehler (1-5, 4.70 ERA in 69 innings – 10 starts this season), who was recently sent to Triple-A to clear room for Henderson Alvarez, and prospects right-handers Anthony DeSclafani, Sam Dyson and lefties Adam Conley and Brian Flynn.

The Marlins also recalled pitcher Chris Hatcher from Triple-A New Orleans and transferred infielder Chris Valaika to the 60-day disabled list.

Starting lineups

Marlins (32-54): Pierre lf, Lucas 3b, Stanton rf, Morrison 1b, Ozuna cf, Dietrich 2b, Hechavarria ss, Mathis c, Fernandez p

Cardinals (52-34): Caprenter 2b, Beltran rf, Holliday lf, Craig 1b, Freese 3b, Jay cf, Cruz c, Kozma ss, Lynn p

July 04, 2013

Marlins send P Tom Koehler to NOLA, move OF Matt Diaz to 60-day DL

Koehler

To make room for Henderson Alvarez on the roster and in the team’s starting rotation, the Marlins optioned rookie Tom Koehler to Triple-A New Orleans.

            Alvarez was expected to make his first start of the season Thursday after returning from the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.

            Koehler had been in the rotation since May 12 and made 10 starts going 1-5 with a 4.70 ERA. In his last start Tuesday, Koehler finished with a no-decision after pitching five innings and allowing three runs (two earned).

            Marlins manager Mike Redmond said Koehler would continue to start for the time being at New Orleans.

            “I thought Tom did a good job when he was here giving us some flexibility where he could start and come in out of the bullpen,” Redmond said. “He got some valuable experience. He threw the ball well and threw strikes and did all the things we talked about in Spring Training that he needed to do to be successful. He got some opportunities because guys were hurt, but now guys are coming back.”

            The Marlins also transferred outfielder Matt Diaz to the 60-day disabled list.

Tonight's lineups

Marlins (31-52): Ruggiano lf; Lucas 3b; Stanton rf; Morrison 1b; Ozuna cf; Dietrich 2b; Hechavarria ss; Mathis c; Alvarez p.

Braves (49-35): Simmons ss; Heyward rf; J. Upton lf; Freeman 1b; McCann c; Uggla 2b; B.J. Upton cf; C. Johnson 3b; Teheran p.

March 17, 2013

Stanton and Cishek back from WBC to reality in Jupiter

JUPITER -- A packed house at Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday afternoon for St. Patrick’s Day isn’t quite the same as what Giancarlo Stanton and Steve Cishek have grown accustomed to so far this spring.

With their Team USA colors retired for four more years as the American team was eliminated from World Baseball Classic action, the pair returned to the Marlins camp in Jupiter.

“I’m pretty much ready to get started with the season,” Cishek said. “After going through [the WBC], spring training games are going to be hard to get the adrenaline going for.”

The exhilaration of representing thier country on an international stage, and playing on a roster that rivals any all star contingency isn’t lost on either of them.

“At first it was a little overwhelming, like, ‘Wow, what am I doing here?’” Cishek said when asked about being a part of Team USA.

“It was amazing to see all these guys’ approaches, like [Joe] Mauer, [Ryan] Braun, and[David] Wright,” Stanton said. “I mean, I see Wright a lot, but it was different being on their side and not being in right field.”

Stanton was especially wowed by Mauer, spending most of his time batting behind the Twins’ veteran in the lineup.

“He’s unbelievable...” he said. “You can give him 0-2 every at-bat and he’s got no problem with it.”

The Marlins slugger has had the luxury of being surrounded by some of the game’s best players with his notable All-Star Game selection last season. Cishek, on the other hand, has quietly been a presence in the Marlins bullpen for the better part of the last two seasons.

“I didn’t go out there to prove myself, I went out there to put a zero on the board,” the reliever said of the opportunity to showcase his talents. “It was kind of cool because it showed me I could play with those guys. Just playing against them is humbling enough, nevermind being on the same team as them.

“That was probably one of the coolest things about [the WBC] was just how humbling it was to be around that group.”

Transitioning back in to spring training mode was nearly seamless for the two, with Stanton batting third in the lineup and Cishek getting a scoreless inning of relief in the eighth inning on Sunday.

Cishek, who is expected to continue with his late-2012 duties as closer for the Marlins, felt the experience with Team USA prepped him for the adrenaline of the later innings in a major league ball game. He describes the WBC crowd as ‘electric’, and unlike anything he experienced last season.

“I was pretty fired up when I went into those WBC games,” he said. “Hopefully that transitions into the year now. I’m prepared to take a step back, take a deep breath and then go at it.”

The homecoming isn’t without hard feelings; there’s disappointment in not taking Team USA to the final round of the Classic in San Francisco. Partially, because the contest doesn't provide a true reflection of a series-based match up between two teams. Stanton argues in a one-off, anything can happen.

"Baseball it’s so tough, you can have a triple-A team beat a big league team with certain pitching once," he said.

There's no appeal in breaking down flaws in format, timing, or different preparations for different countries. With Stanton, it's a closed case: "We lost."

“You don’t go there just to make an appearance and experience the WBC. We went there with the objective to win it all,” Cishek said. “It was disappointing, but at the same time, it’s great to be around these guys again and to get situated with the team.”

With the next opportunity four years down the road, Stanton won’t say no to an invite to try again.

“We’ve still got to be the first ones,” he said. “USA still needs to win it.”

-Steph Rogers

March 25, 2012

JJ set for second to last spring start vs. Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE -- Josh Johnson is going to make his next-to-last start of the spring this afternoon against the Rays as the Marlins look to pick up their first Grapefruit League win since March 15. They are 0-7-2 over their last nine games.

Josh JohnsonCatcher John Buck said the Marlins ace has looked good to him all spring coming back from the right shoulder inflammation that cost him most of the 2011 season. What Buck said excites him the most is he knows Johnson has another gear he hasn't shown anyone this spring and is saving for the regular season. Buck said Johnson has also started to gain more confidence in his curveball and changeup.

"If he has those two working as well as his fastball and slider he will be an unbelievable pitcher," Buck said.

"We've seen at it times -- the effectiveness of those pitches [the changeup and curveball]. But he hasn't been able to really go to them and know they will be there at that given time with the sharpness he wants. I think he's getting to the point now where he knows that pitch will do what he wants it to do."

> With only a week left in Grapefruit League play, two bench spots are all that's really left to play for on the Opening Day roster.

With outfielder Austin Kearns, catcher Brett Hayes and corner infielder Greg Dobbs pretty much penciled in as reserves, the Marlins are basically looking at Chris Coghlan or Bryan Petersen as their left-handed hitting outfielder off the bench (or potential starter if Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton aren't ready), and veteran Donnie Murphy or 24-year old Donovan Solano as the utility middle infielder.

The Marlins brought Solano with them on this two-game road trip through Port Charlotte and Lakeland to take a good look at him. While Murphy, 29, has struggled at the plate (.194, 6 for 31 in 13 games), Solano has the second-highest average on the team behind Hanley Ramirez.

Solano is hitting .387 (12 of 31 in 16 games) and has a .457 on base percentage. Defensively, he's been error free in 45 chances and has turned seven double plays. Murphy hasn't made any errors in 35 chances.

Solano, a .278 career hitter in 235 games at the Triple A level, has never played in the big leagues. But this is the longest he's stuck around in camp in his career and he's hopeful he could sneak onto the Marlins Opening Day roster.

Solano, born in Barranquilla, Columbia, grew up playing soccer and baseball. But he fell in love with baseball after seeing fellow Columbian Edgar Renteria drive home the game-winning run in the 1997 World Series. Solano was nine at the time and eventually got the chance to train some with Renteria when he was a teenager.

"He taught me a lot of things, how to take ground balls, baseball stuff," Solano said.

As for soccer, Solano said he just wasn't good enough. "I started at forward and kept getting moved further and further back," Solano said. "They didn't want me around the ball."

Coghlan, the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, is hitting .250 (7 of 28 in 9 games) with two RBI, one walk and four strikeouts. Petersen is hitting . .229 (8 of 35 in 15 games), but has a higher on base percentage (.341) than Coghlan (.276) thanks to six walks.

SUNDAY LINEUP

> Marlins: 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Emilio Bonifacio 2B, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 5. John Buck C, 6. Omar Infante 2B, 7. Aaron Roward LF, 8. Bryan Petersen RF, 9. Josh Johnson P.

March 17, 2012

Marlins pitching coach talks Hand, LeBlanc, Nolasco and Big Z

JUPITER -- Caught up with Randy St. Claire this morning before the Marlins split squad game with the Twins at Roger Dean Stadium (Ozzie Guillen and the rest of the staff went up to Viera for the other game with the Nationals).

Here are a few thoughts from St. Claire on his pitching staff with a little over two weeks to go before the start of the season:

> St. Claire said nobody has over exceeded his expectations, but he's happy with what he's seen from left-handers Brad Hand and Wade LeBlanc, who was acquired in the John Baker trade with the Padres, and his bullpen. 

Hand is 2-0 and has yet to give up a run in three relief appearances, scattering three hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking two. Last season when Josh Johnson was shelved, Hand came up and made 12 starts for the Marlins, going 1-8 with a 4.20 ERA. He had almost as many walks (35) as strikeouts (38). But St. Claire said the 22-year old former second round pick -- who in his opinion was called up too early last season -- has shown signs of improvement this spring because he's maintained the same arm on his delivery.

"He has to tendency to float between breaking ball, changeup and fastball. So he's been more consistent with that," St. Claire said. "The more he pitches the more consistency is going to come out of it... I think when he gets that figured out I think [he'll do well] because his stuff plays in the zone."

LeBlanc, who was called the Cy Young of the Marlins staff this spring by Guillen earlier this week, has given up just one hit over 10 1/3 scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and no walks.

"He's a quick worker, aggressive and goes after guys," St. Claire said. "What he's shown me this spring is the same stuff I saw when he was on the other side [with the Padres]."

> Carlos Zambrano, who will make his third Grapefruit League start for the Marlins Sunday, has watching videos of his early days with the Cubs per St. Claire's orders "to get back to the style he threw when he was really good."

"Last year he got into some bad habits and he's been working on it ever since his first BP with us," St. Claire said. "Every outing we're working on the video. He's getting closer and closer and closer to getting to where he was in his earlier years. He's been very good, a pleasure to work with. He's intense, does everything well on the field."

St. Claire said Zambrano (6.75 ERA in 5 1/3 innings) was "opening up real early in his delivery, showing the ball real early" last season.

"When guys open up, the hitters see the ball a lot longer," St. Claire said. "That usually drops your arm slot and arm angle and you don't get as much velocity. Your breaking ball gets sweepy. It can create a lot of bad things.

"We'll see. So far he's worked really hard and looks really good. He's not where we want him yet, but he's studying it, focusing on it, doing good."

> Saturday starter Ricky Nolasco has given up three earned runs and three hits over 3 1/3 innings (8.10 ERA) in his first two Grapefruit League starts, but St. Claire said he likes what he's seen of the 29-year old right-hander thus far.

"He's been very good so far. He's one of those guys that's in the zone all the time, doesn't walk guys. He's going to make guys hit the ball and he's probably going to have those [rough] starts where if he's not dead on he's going to scuffle a little bit.

"Well, what do you do? Start picking around [the plate]? For me, I'd rather have a game or two that he gives up more than you want than to start every game with walks and picking around the zone. I'd much rather have a guy go after people and he's always that. He attacks the zone."

Nolasco is scheduled to throw 70 pitches today according to St. Claire. He threw 54 in his last start.

SATURDAY'S LINEUPS

> Marlins vs. Twins (Saturday in Jupiter): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Omar Infante 2B, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Terry Tiffee 1B, 5. Austin Kearns RF, 6. Chris Coghlan LF, 7. Aaron Rowand CF, 8. Brett Hayes C, 9. Ricky Nolasco P.

> Marlins at Nationals (Saturday in Viera): 1. Emilio Bonifacio CF, 2. Donnie Murphy SS, 3. John Buck C, 4. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 5. Brian Petersen LF, 6. Scott Cousins RF, 7. Donovan Solano 2B, 8. Matt Dominguez 3B, 9. Tom Koehler P.

SUNDAY'S LINEUP

> Marlins vs. Cardinals (Sunday in Jupiter): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Emilio Bonifacio CF, 3. Hanley Ramirez SS, 4. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 5. Omar Infante 2B, 6. Chris Coghlan LF, 7. John Buck C, 8. Bryan Petersen RF, 9. Carlos Zambrano P.

March 09, 2012

Marlins looking forward to showdown with Nationals, Strasburg

JUPITER -- The Marlins will play a rare Grapefruit League night game tonight at Roger Dean Stadium against a team many expect to be in the thick of the playoff hunt in the National League: the Washington Nationals.

Stephen Strasburg"They're a good club. They made some good solid moves," said veteran Greg Dobbs.

"I know [Stephen] Strasburg is coming back. We saw how he finished up last season. They added [All-Star Gio] Gonzalez to the rotation. Adam LaRoche is back healthy at first. They have some guys coming off really good years, too. -- Mike Morse. They're a good club. Like I said before I believe the NL East is the toughest division right now from top to bottom."

Left-hander Wade LeBlanc, acquired in a trade this off-season with San Diego for catcher John Baker, will make his first Grapefruit League start opposite Strasburg for the Marlins tonight. The fact the Marlins get a chance to see the 23-year old hard throwing right-hander this early in spring training is a good thing players say.

Last September, Strasburg faced the Marlins twice in his return from Tommy John surgery and allowed just one earned run over 12 innings against them. He struckout 13 Marlins and walked just two of them.

"All the hype is real. He's a solid starting pitcher. Great arm, good command, looks very composed on the mound. He's a promising young star," Dobbs said.

"It's fairly difficult [seeing the ball off his hand], not impossible. He's got such good arm action on all his pitches and everything looks pretty much the same. It's tough to pick up -- especially when he starts throwing his curveball for strikes and starts mixing it up. It's pretty tough."

OTHER NEWS AND NOTES

> The Marlins' next three Grapefruit League games will be on TV: Saturday's game against the Cardinals at 1:05 p.m., featuring starters Josh Johnson and Kyle Lohse, will be on Fox Sports Florida. Sunday's game in Port St. Lucie against the Mets, featuring starters Mark Buehrle and Johan Santana, will be televised on MLB Network at 1:10 p.m. Monday's game in Fort Myers against the Red Sox -- Ricky Nolasco is starting for Miami -- will be broadcast on ESPN. That game starts at 1:35 p.m.

> Both Chris Coghlan and Dobbs were scratched from Friday's lineup with minor injuries. Coghlan said he tweaked his back testing his vertical jump on Friday. Dobbs said he tweaked his left hamstring against FIU on Wednesday. Both are taking a few days off to rest.

> Logan Morrison said he was supposed to get his first start of the spring at first base Thursday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, but was scratched from the lineup because his right knee (scoped in November) was a little sore. "If it was the season I'd be playing right now," Morrison said.

> Pitcher Anibal Sanchez, who experienced tightness in his throwing shoulder a week ago, threw a bullpen session on Friday and said he felt great. He will throw to live hitters on Sunday and hopes to make his first Grapefruit League start Wednesday in Port Charlotte against the Rays.

"We'll wait until Sunday to see how I feel," Sanchez said. "But I have nothing bothering me in my shoulder right now."

> Reliever Jose Ceda, who was clocked throwing at 95 miles per hour against the Mets Thursday, doesn't want to talk about how much weight he's lost in the offseason because he hopes to announce the grand total on Opening Day -- should he make the team.

"I'm still working on my weight," Ceda said. "Hopefully, I'll earn a spot on the big league team. Then, I'll let you know."

LINEUPS
> Nationals (3-2):
1. Ian Desmond SS, 2. Steve Lombardozzi 2B, 3. Jason Michaels LF, 4. Tyler Moore 1B, 5. Anthony Rendon 3B, 6. Jesus Flores C, 7. Rick Ankiel DH, 8. Brett Carroll RF, 9. Roger Bernadina CF. P Stephen Strasburg
> Marlins (2-2): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Emilio Bonifacio CF, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 6. Omar Infante 2B, 7. John Buck C, 8. Bryan Petersen LF, 9. Kyle Skipworth DH. P Wade LeBlanc

March 08, 2012

Zambrano has up and down start to spring

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Carlos Zambrano's first Grapefruit League start with the Marlins Thursday turned out to be a bit like his days with the Cubs -- a bit of an up and down ride. 

Zambrano, whom the Marlins acquired in a trade for Chris Volstad, lasted just 1 1/3 innings, but left with four strikeouts. That was the good. The bad: three walks, three hits, three earned runs and just 27 strikes on 51 pitches.

Zambrano started his day by striking out the first two Mets he faced, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Justin Turner, both swinging. But Zambrano started to lose a bit of his control after that as he tried working on his slider.

He walked Jason Bay on four pitches and then walked Ike Davis on a 3-2 count. Catcher Lucas May then doubled both of those runners home when he crushed a 2-2 pitch into the gap in left center-field. Mike Baxter then gave the Mets a 3-2 lead when he stroked a single back up the middle. Zambrano finally got out of the inning when he struckout Adam Loewen, the next hitter, looking on a 3-2 fastball.

In all, Zambrano threw 39 pitches, 20 for strikes in the first inning.

He started the second by walking Ronny Cedeno and giving up a line drive single to center to Omar Quintanilla. But he ended the outing by striking out Nieuwenhuis looking, bringing his Grapefruit League ERA down to 20.25.