June 11, 2009

Marlins bracing for Halladay & more

Another day, another Cy Young winner to try and take down.

Roy Halladay That’s the way the Marlins are approaching the task of facing Roy Halladay in Toronto Friday night, the fifth Cy Young winner Florida will try and beat in a week.

Halladay, however, might be the toughest of any the Marlins have encountered. The 32-year old right hander is 10-1, leads baseball in wins, is second in complete games (3) and ranks third in the AL in strikeouts with 88.

The Marlins aren’t exactly familiar with Halladay either. Only seven players have faced him before. First baseman Jorge Cantu (2 for 11, .182 vs. Halladay) is the only player with more than three at-bats.

“The way I look at it is he’s got the same scouting report on us that we do on him,” said outfielder Cody Ross, who went 1 for 3 against Halladay in 2006. “His is thin and ours is thin.”

At least the Marlins have history on their side, having beat Halladay the only time they faced him in 2006. The Marlins actually hit him pretty well, scoring four earned runs on eight hits over six innings. Not counting utility man Alfredo Amezaga, who is out with a knee injury, the seven healthy Marlins who have a history against Halladay combined to go 10 for 27 off him (.370).

“What makes him tough is that he throws strikes,” catcher John Baker said.

“He has a lot of different pitches, keeps guys in and out and off balance. He’s probably the best pitcher in baseball. It will be a test for us, but no greater test than I think some of the arms we’ve seen. Lincecum, Randy Johnson. We’ve seen a lot of Cy Young award winners. It’s just another one to try and beat.”

The Marlins have fared well against Cy Young winners this season. After losing to San Francisco’s Barry Zito 2-1 last Friday, they’ve won three straight over Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson and Chris Carpenter.

TALES FROM A BEATUP CATCHER: Baker sat out his second straight game Thursday, the fallout of being struck with a bat over his left temple Tuesday night by St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols.

Baker is hoping to be in the lineup Friday in Toronto. But there’s a good chance he could he miss his third straight game. Thursday, he woke up with more swelling and yet another headache.

Baker said he won’t take any medication for the pain. “I don’t want to mask anything,” Baker said. “I prefer to know what I can and can’t do. With pain medication sometimes you think you can do something and then you go out and do something stupid. I wasn’t raised by my parents taking a lot of medicine for things. If it hurts and you can play with it, then that’s what you do.”

“Hopefully the swelling will start going down. But I took a pretty wicked impact.”

Baker tried catching a few balls in the bullpen with a hockey mask Wednesday but has ordered a different one he hopes to use in Toronto. He said once the stitches are removed (possibly by the time the Marlins in Boston), he’ll go back to using his regular catcher’s mask.

Baker, who was as a pitcher and first baseman in high school, didn’t start catching until he was handed the equipment upon arrival at the University of California. He’s taken his fare share of blows over the years since putting on the gear.

“I took one in the head earlier this year that knocked a nice little golf ball in the side of my head,” Baker said. “In 2005, we were in Omaha and I took an elbow to the artery in my neck. I had trouble swallowing for a while. Another time, we were playing against West Michigan in Single A and I got hit with an elbow in the jaw, got knocked out at home plate cold.

“There’s a reason we wear the catcher’s gear. I’ve deal with it before, but not like this with stitches. This one is the worst residual effect, keeping me out for a few games.”

> Chris Volstad, who had the worst outing of his career Wednesday (6 ER, 10 H), said the reason his sinker was not dipping against the Cardinals was because he wasn’t following through on all his pitches.

“My mechanics were definitely a little off,” Volstad said. “It was just one of those things where I’d do it right one time and then wrong the next. I’ll have it fixed for Boston.”

Volstad’s next scheduled start is Tuesday night against former Marlin Josh Beckett at Fenway Park. Volstad and Andrew Miller are the only Marlins pitchers who will face both the Red Sox and Yankees.

> Manager Fredi Gonzalez gave his No. 3 and No. 4 hitters the day off Thursday – first baseman Jorge Cantu because of dizziness and shortstop Hanley Ramirez because of a sore right groin.

Gonzalez said Ramirez tweaked his back Wednesday night beating out a double play ball. Gonzalez said he entertained the idea of pulling Ramirez, but his shortstop refused to be taken out – much like he has with just about every other injury this season.

“He’s played 11 games in a row [coming back from the groin]. He’s dealt with it pretty good,” Gonzalez said. “There were some days where you thought he wasn’t going to make it. My hats off to him.”

June 02, 2009

Hanley Ramirez will rest groin sooner or later

Just like I suspected last night, manager Fredi Gonzalez told us this afternoon that shortstop Hanley Ramirez and his sore groin are going to get a day off at some point during this 11-game homestretch.

Hanley Ramirez barehands a ball during Monday's 7-4 win over the Brewers. "We’ll see how he handles the next couple days," Gonzalez said. "But there will be a time when we give him a breather because we don’t want it to get worse. We’ll check with him everyday and with the trainers and if it starts getting really, really sore, we’ll give him an evening off."

When exactly that is remains to be seen.

Last night, Ramirez told us he feels his groin tighten whenever he tries slowing down before reaching a base. It's one of the many ailments he's been dealing with this season. After every game, about 30 percent of his body is covered in ice.

Just don't look for Ramirez to ask out voluntarily. He knows the Marlins are 6.5 games back of the Phillies and in fourth place in the NL East. And he knows this homestand is an important time to win games and help the Marlins stay within striking distance.

Last night, Ramirez went 3 for 5 with a double and two runs scored. He's actually hitting .413 against the Brewers lifetime and has a 10-game hitting streak against Milwaukee -- one of four teams he has hitting streaks of 10-or-more games against.

> The Marlins made the last part of their four player move before today's game, recalling outfielder Alejandro De Aza from Triple A New Orleans. Last night, the Marlins sent reliever Cristhian Martinez back to Double A Jacksonville (he got the win Monday) and catcher Brett Hayes back to New Orleans to make room for tonight's starter Anibal Sanchez.

"He can be the first pinch hitter off the bench," Gonzalez said referring to De Aza. "He’s a left-hander. He has some speed. Having Hayes here, it was detrimental to him really. Here’s a guy who we are really high on defensively as a catcher and he spent 9, 10 days here and only got five at-bats. And that’s not fair for him or for the organization. We need those type of guys to go down there and play.

"The other reason we could use De Aza is to give Cody Ross a spell against a tough right-hander. He’s done a good job, too. He came up here and was [3 for 9, 3 runs scored] and got sent down. He’s made the club two years in a row in spring training, played four or five games and hurt himself. I think it’s a good decision for us to bring up De Aza."

> Jorge Julio's rough night Monday cost him his job. The Brewers released the Marlins' former closer Tuesday, a night after he failed to record any of the six batters he faced, laying the groundwork for the Fish's big five-run inning in their 7-4 come-from-behind win. Julio was 1-1 with a 7.79 ERA in 15 games for the Brewers.

> One change to the batting order tonight. Rookie Chris Coghlan will have the night off. Brett Carroll will take his spot, but hit eighth in the order. Gonzalez said its strictly because the Brewers are starting left-hander Manny Parra tonight.

THE LINEUP: 1. Emilio Bonifacio 3B, 2. Jeremy Hermida LF, 3. Hanley Ramirez SS, 4. Jorge Cantu 1B, 5. Dan Uggla 2B, 6. Cody Ross CF, 7. Ronny Paulino C, 8. Brett Carroll RF, 9. Anibal Sanchez P.

June 01, 2009

Anibal Sanchez will start Tuesday vs. Brewers

When Anibal Sanchez walked off the mound May 7th at LandShark Stadium against the Braves, he had a grimace on his face and a pain in his throwing shoulder that had many believing he might be headed for another long stint on the disabled list.

Anibal Sanchez Less than a month later -- and a lot faster than anyone first expected -- the 25-year old right hander will pitch again for the Marlins. He'll get the start Tuesday night against the Brewers, retaking the spot he vacated when he went on the disabled list with what was classified as a shoulder sprain.

“It was definitely scary. I didn’t know when I was going to come back at first,” said Sanchez, who had Tommy John surgery in 2003 and missed most of 2007 and the first half of the 2008 season because of a shoulder injury that was followed surgery. “But I feel good now. I’m going to take the ball and do my job.”

Sanchez has lost his last four starts for the Marlins, giving up 31 hits and 19 earned runs in 21 2/3 innings (7.89 ERA) over the stretch. He pitched several bullpen sessions and simulated games at the Marlins spring training facility and Single A affiliate in Jupiter over the past two weeks before pitching for the Hammerheads in Lakeland on May 28.

In a game shortened by rain, Sanchez gave up three hits and struckout four over three scoreless innings in Lakeland. He threw 53 pitches in the outing and then another 22 in bullpen work.

"I don’t expect him to go out there, throw 115 pitches and give us a complete game," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But I expect him to give us a chance to win."

> INTERESTING DECISION LOOMING: Sanchez's return means long reliever Burke Badenhop, who gave up one run over five innings in a spot start Wednesday in Philadelphia, will go back to the bullpen. It also means the Marlins will have an interesting decision to make soon if and when Ricky Nolasco gets called back from Triple A New Orleans.

Nolasco, a 15-game winner and the ace of the Marlins rotation last season, has found his groove since being sent down May 23 after a horrendous outing against the Rays. Monday afternoon, Nolasco made his second start for the Zephyrs and pitched seven strong innings, giving up one earned run on six hits while striking out five and walking just one. In his first Triple A start last week, Nolasco gave up six hits and three earned runs while walking two and striking out seven over eight innings.

Rookie left-hander Sean West would be the candidate to get sent back down to the minors if and when Nolasco is ready to return. But West could make it hard on the Marlins to move him if he keeps pitching like he has. Friday in New York, West gave up one earned run in seven strong innings. He also pitched well against the Rays, going five innings and giving up two earned in his first big league start.

When asked about Nolasco's starts in Triple A and when he might return, Gonzalez was a bit cryptic. "I haven’t even thought about it," Gonzalez said. "There wasn’t a certain amount of starts, it was go ahead and work on these things. It wasn’t a maximum or minimum of starts. It was about reacting to the goals [pitching coach] Mark [Wiley] sent him to accomplish."

> MONDAY'S LINEUP: 1. Chris Coghlan LF; 2. Emilio Bonifacio 3B; 3. Hanley Ramirez SS; 4. Jorge Cantu 1B; 5. Jeremy Hermida RF; 6. Dan Uggla 2B; 7. John Baker C; 8. Cody Ross CF; 9. Andrew Miller P.

May 27, 2009

Are the Marlins turning it around?

PHILADELPHIA -- Ever since their 11-1 start the Florida Marlins have been going in the opposite direction. For every step forward, it's been two, three, four steps back.

This week, though, they might have finally figured out the way to snap out of their funk. It's called starting pitching. Remember that three week period when Marlins starters couldn't buy a win? Remember when the Marlins bullpen, the most overworked in the bigs, was eating innings like cops at a donut shop?

Marlins starters have stepped it up. Burke Badenhop's five innings Wednesday were huge and followed the current trend Fish starters began last weekend against the Rays.

Since Josh Johnson's start Sunday (their last four outings) the rotation has combined to go 2-0 in 24-2/3 innings, giving up just eight earned runs (2.91 ERA) while striking out 14 and walking 10. If not for Joe Blanton's best start of the season Tuesday, the Marlins might be on a four-game winning streak.

"You usually play as good as your starting pitching," Marlins manager Gonzalez said. "You hate to cover five, six innings every night. It can't work. It doesn't work. We had JJ, Volly, Miller and now even today. Hopefully we keep rolling and have guys go deep in ball games."

> It's a bit of a strange stat. But the Marlins improved 4-0 in the last four games Hanley Ramirez hasn't played. The Marlins won their last two against the Mets April 28-29 and then the opener against the Cubs on April 30 when Ramirez was nursing a bruised wrist. Wednesday was win No. 4.

> Dan Uggla hit another home run against Brett Myers -- that's five, more than any other pitcher he's faced. Uggla has also homered in five of his last nine games. Of his last nine hits, five have been homers.

> Cody Ross got three hits for the second consecutive game. He went 7 for 12 against the Phillies with a homer and two RBI.

> Be sure to check out the postgame audio I uploaded after the game. Listen to manager Fredi Gonzalez, pitcher Burke Badenhop and second baseman Dan Uggla field questions from me and the rest of the Marlins beat writers.

May 26, 2009

Pinto's (elbow) MRI negative

PHILADELPHIA -- Renyel Pinto's stint on the disabled list isn't going to be very long. According to Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, the MRI on the left-handed reliever's elbow didn't reveal anything more than inflammation.

"We’re going to give him a couple days of not throwing and then get him cranked up again," Gonzalez said.

Pinto began his stint on the DL retroactive to May 23. In the meantime, the Marlins will continue to rely most on Dan Meyer and Leo Nunez (whom Gonzalez said negates lefties with his changeup) to handle left-handed hitters late in games.

Meyer, who has pitched in three straight games, will likely face one or two hitters tops Tuesday -- and Nunez will likely rest along with closer Matt Lindstrom. Both have pitched in three straight games. That leaves the Marlins bullpen pretty thin for tonight's game -- especially with Burke Badenhop making the start Wednesday. Look for Kiko Calero and Brian Sanches to see the bulk of the late inning work.

> Gonzalez said the reason he decided to put Emilio Bonifacio back at the top of the lineup Tuesday instead of keeping rookie Chris Coghlan (who went 2 for 5 Monday) there is because he doesn't want to lose Bonifacio's speed. "Boni's speed is his tool," Gonzalez said. "You put him eighth and you kind of negate it." Gonzalez said Coghlan is a good enough hitter to bat anywhere in the lineup.

> The Marlins could potentially tie a club record tonight -- one they set last year -- by hitting another home run. Wes Helms extended Florida's streak to 13 games last night with his fourth-inning blast off Jamie Moyer. The Fish have hit the fourth-most home runs in the majors since 2007.

> Wednesday starter Burke Badenhop will be on a 65-70 pitch limit. "He's hit 45 a couple times," Gonzalez said of Badenhop, who has worked in long relief stints all season. "We don't want to push it more than 65 or 70." Gonzalez said the Marlins will likely need Badenhop or another pitcher to fill in the fifth starter's role for another start until Anibal Sanchez, Rick VandenHurk or Ricky Nolasco are ready to fill the void by June 7th.

Meyer was once a boo bird too

PHILADELPHIA -- Marlins reliever Dan Meyer was once a member of the boo gallery here in Philadelphia. Meyer, who grew up in nearby Woodbury, NJ (about a 15 minute drive from Philly), shared a few stories with us yesterday about his childhood and what it was like coming to Veterans Stadium when he was a kid.

Meyer knows well you need to have thick skin to play in the city of brotherly love. So, when he came in to pitch in the seventh inning in Monday's 5-3 win against the Phillies, he felt right at home when the boo birds began chirping.

"I watched them boo Santa Claus when I was eight," said Meyer, referring to the infamous Eagles game in which a man dressed as Santa Claus was booed during the game. "You can be the hero one night and the next night they’ll bury you. Philly fans are known for being the hardest fans in sports. I’m a diehard Eagles fan. So, I fit right in."

Meyer, who said he attended about 5 to 10 baseball games a year growing up, admitted he used to be one of the kids who would harrass opposing pitchers during warmups. There's one story that stays with him to this day.

"When I was like 10, I was trying to harass Randy Johnson," Meyer said. "It’s kind of an embarrassing story. I was a nine year old kid. I had a baseball and I wanted him to sign it for me. He was doing his work. Now, I understand. But at the time, I wanted him to sign my ball. So, I went from being the nice kid to yelling at him. Some of the stuff I said wasn't very nice... I can only wish and hope and play as long as he has.

Would he like to ask Johnson about it when the Giants visit the Marlins June 5-8? "There’s no way he remembers it," Meyer said laughing. "It would be funny if he did. But I know I’m just a piece of dust in his life."

May 25, 2009

Better curveball helping Volstad

PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Volstad could have lost his cool when Ryan Howard tattoed his second home run of the game off him to start the sixth inning Monday night. The 22-year old right-hander could have put the Marlins tired bullpen in another predicament.

But he didn't. He kept working. And he picked up five more huge outs for the Marlins, who instead of blowing another lead, added to it and protected it one of the few times this month. Wes Helms will get most of the credit for the Marlins win, but nothing means more to this team right now than getting efforts like they got from Volly.

"We had a good outing yesterday by JJ and another good one by Volly in a tough ballpark and that’s a good sign," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Now, we got to get that rolling a little bit, hope our starters keep it going."

The Marlins won back-to-back games for only the third time since their 11-1 start and for the first time since they won the first two at Colorado.

Volstad was able to make that happen because his curveball was working. After the game, he admitted he's been using it more and keeping hitters off more. It was the first thing Gonzalez talked about.

"I think it all started with that curveball," Gonzalez said. "It didn’t look like they were taking very good swings off him. They were pounding the strike zone. You are going to give up home runs to a hitter like Howard, who is a hell of a hitter. But I’m very encouraged by the way he pitched, the way he kept his cool."

Catching up with rookie Chris Coghlan

PHILADELPHIA -- Rookie left fielder Chris Coghlan is learning quickly you got to be ready for anything with the Marlins. An infielder in college and the minors, he's just begun getting used to playing in the outfield again (and for the first time since he was in Little League).

Chris Coghlan Monday against the Phillies, he experienced another first with the Fish -- batting leadoff. "It's probably the first time I'm going to do that since high school," said Coghlan, who took the top spot in place of Emilio Bonifacio, who got the night off. "I'm not looking at it any different. [Bench coach] Carlos [Tosca] told me you have a great approach, just be yourself. The way I see it, leading off is just for the first inning. You just want to be a tablesetter."

Don't count on Coghlan be the tablesetter for long. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Bonifacio will be back in the spot Tuesday. But down the road, you never know.

“I definitely feel he can give you good at-bats,” Gonzalez said of Coughlan, who was 5-for-32 in the Marlins homestand. “It’s funny because if you didn’t know the batting average and were just watching the games, you are thinking he’s hitting higher than he’s hitting. You think .280 with the at-bats and the walks. I think the batting average will come. I think he can handle it.”

Although his numbers aren't great right now (.191 batting average, 7 walks, 12 strikeouts), Coghlan has more patience than Bonifacio and has better than average speed, too. In two seasons in the minors, Coghlan stole 63 bases and was caught just 17 times.

"I'm not a guy who is a burner. I'm definitely not Bonifacio and there are guys who are faster than me on this team. But I consider myself a fast baserunner," said Coghlan, who has just one steal in 15 games. "I go off my instincts, what I feel. Obviously in the minor leagues you are able to run more. Up here, you have Hanley [Ramirez] behind you and you don't want to chance the out. And in the eight hole, it's the same thing with the pitcher behind you."

As for his fielding, Coghlan (who has two errors) feels like that is coming around too. “I feel a lot better. Cody [Ross] and [Jeremy Hermida] Herm help me a lot, give me advice,” Coghlan said. “I’m just learning on the fly. I try to make it as simple as possible, make the routine plays and hit the cutoff guys. That’s what Bo [Porter] preaches. Read the ball and make no false steps. That’s what I try to do.”

A couple more quick notes from before the game...

> Manager Fredi Gonzalez said former Marlins starters Anibal Sanchez and Rick VandenHurk have been making good strides in their comebacks from injury. Sanchez pitched three innings in a simulated game Sunday and will pitch a side session Tuesday before getting a start Thursday in Jupiter. VandenHurk threw three innings for the Hammerheads, tossing 54 pitches and giving up three hits, one run, two walks and striking out three. VandenHurk will pitch on the side Wednesday and start Saturday in Triple A New Orleans. Both pitchers will throw between 70 to 75 pitches in their starts.

> The loss of workhorse left-hander Renyel Pinto (elbow inflammation) hurts. The Marlins are down to just one lefty in their bullpen -- Dan Meyer. The good news, though, is their right-handed relievers have been doing a pretty good job against lefties. Entering Monday, left-handed opponents were hitting .200 off Kiko Calero (5-25, 8 BBs, 8 Ks), .186 off Leo Nuñez (8-43, 11 Ks, 7 BBs), .091 off Brian Sanches (1-11, 1 BB, 1 K) and .250 off Matt Lindstrom (10-40, 9 Ks, 9 BBs).

> Burke Badenhop will start Wednesday against the Phillies -- his first start since May 18 of last year.The right-hander has gone 2-2 with a 5.75 ERA in 20-1/3 innings pitching in long relief. With a day off between series Thursday, Gonzalez said it would give his bullpen time to rest.

Badenhop told me he feels like he's done well in spots, but has to avoid the big inning. "There have been a couple outings that have hurt me statistically wise," Badenhop said. "I think my last three I’ve left guys on base. I really strive to finish innings and those have kind of killed me. I threw two shutout innings against the Dodgers and then I give up four. The D-Backs game I leave two on. Those runs -- I have to completely shut those off. But otherwise, I think I’m doing alright.

May 16, 2009

Marlins sparkle in win over Dodgers

There's a really good chance Saturday night was the last time the Marlins are going to have Pom Pom giveaway night. In case you weren't at Land Shark Stadium you probably missed the silver lining in the Marlins 6-3 win over the Dodgers.

It was all over the field -- silver strands from the 15,000 pompoms given away before the game. Fans spent most of the night tossing those strands in the air, which eventually landed on the field. Players weren't happy. Dan Uggla called the situation "brutal." John Baker, who hit a two-run home run to break a 2-2 tie in the fifth, got deeper.

"Absolutely brutlal,'' Baker said. "The thing that was really frustrating is you look up and see people shaking them like its a joke. Its frustrating when stuff is flying all over the field and they're shiny and they hit the lights... I think you focus for the moment and your OK. But seeing stuff all over the baseball field... baseball is obviously America's past time and to see like that all over the field is very frustrating for a player."

Of course, at least they won and they were plenty of encouraging signs.

Andrew Miller's five innings in his first start since he went on the DL April 20th with an oblique strain wasn't glorious. But he picked up the win and got stronger as the game progressed.

"His final two and half innings were outstanding," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "His breaking ball was good, his fastball outstanding. That was a good start for Andrew."

Baker agreed. "I felt he did great. I think he made a breakthrough in the middle of the game. Anybody could see it watching on the velocity from the third inning on. [Pitching coach] Mark [Wiley] told him if your going to miss, miss throwing your good stuff. All of a sudden, you see 93, 94, 95 and it turned around for him. You have to give him credit battling through a shaky start. That's a tough lineup even without Manny Ramirez in it."

> After the game we learned utility man Alfredo Amezaga injured his left knee rounding third base in the eighth. Gonzalez said Amezaga would get reevaluated before Sunday's game. It's the same knee Amezaga hurt while playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

Marlins want to give relievers relief

The Marlins haven’t done many things well over the last month – except get good production from their bullpen.

After Friday night’s loss to the Dodgers, they made a move to try and make sure that production doesn’t slip – sending outfielder Brett Carroll down to the minors to make room for Saturday night starter Andrew Miller and keep a total of 13 pitchers on the roster. According to manager Fredi Gonzalez, having the extra arm will help alleviate some of the extra work his relievers have had to do this season.

Entering the weekend series, the Marlins bullpen was fourth in the majors in innings pitcher. Kiko Calero, who pitched a third of an inning and walked two batters Friday, leads the majors in appearances with 21. Left-handers Renyel Pinto and Dan Meyer aren’t far behind.

“You don’t want these guys worn out by the end of June,” Gonzalez said. “So by having the extra arm, it’s going to protect us.

“Now, on the other hand, we’re going to have to wait until late in the game to make a defensive move to improve our defense in the outfield. But I feel like [rookie Chris] Coghlan isn’t that far away… I think the more he’s out there, the more comfortable we’re going to be having him out there in games.”

The Marlins aren’t the only team in baseball who have 13 pitchers on their 25 man roster. The Dodgers are one of a handful of teams that do, too.

As it stands, that leaves the Marlins with 12 position players or four backups – utility man Alfredo Amezaga, catcher Ronny Paulino, third baseman Wes Helms and outfielder Ross Gload. Gonzalez said if the Marlins ever got into a pinch at catcher, they’d have three guys they could turn to – Coghlan (who caught in high school), Helms and Amezaga.

“I’m pretty sure Amezaga could do it. I’ve asked him,” Gonzalez said. “But he told me ‘You don’t want me back there.’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said ‘I’ll show all your catchers up. I’ll embarrass them all.’ And you know what, he may. But I’m pretty sure we’d have to get him high school shin guards.”

In the midst of facing the second of three consecutive Dodger lefties, Gonzalez has decided to give catcher John Baker a rare start against a left-hander tonight. “I didn’t want him sitting out for three days,” Gonzalez said.

Baker is hitting .182 this season (2-for-11) vs. southpaws. Ronny Paulino, who went 0 for 2 against Eric Stults Friday, will start Sunday against Clayton Kershaw.

Saturday's Marlins lineup: 1. Bonifacio 3B, 2. Coghlan LF, 3. Ramirez SS, 4. Cantu 1B, 5. Baker C, 6. Uggla 2B, 7. Hermida RF, 8. Ross CF, 9. Miller P.

SOUND BYTES: For those of you who would like to hear complete interviews from the postgame and pregame interviews we conduct, a page has been created here on MiamiHerald.com where we upload the audio we collect. I uploaded interviews from last night's game as well as what Joe Torre had to say about Manny Ramirez's meeting with the team yesterday. Check it out: Marlins audio.