Marlins notes: Yelich on taking Jennings for a dip; Capps' first win; rotation picture

Whether its dunking on the game's hero being interviewed post-game or bathing them in shaving cream, the Marlins know how to come up with creative ways to celebrate.

Saturday night, after they finally got Dan Jennings his first victory, they came up with another -- taking their skipper for a dip in the pool at The Clevelander.

For Jennings it turned out to be more of a bath than anything else. In the clubhouse, per team tradition, he was covered in shaving cream -- and other things.

"Obviously it's been kind of a frustrating couple of weeks for us," said left fielder Christian Yelich, who said he and Dee Gordon had been kicking around the idea pregam about taking their manager for a dip after they finally got him his first win. "This game is kind of about having fun and stuff like that and we kind of wanted to get back to that. It kind of started off as a joke and after we got in here after the win last night everybody was saying 'Let's go in the pool!' We did it. Jumped in."

Yelich said he'd been in The Clevelander pool once before during his rookie season in 2013. But Yelich said it's the first time most of the team went in together.

"It was kind of a cool moment," Yelich said. "[The shaving cream baths are] something that kind of happens whenever there is a first in the big leagues for you. I really won't tell you what it is, but it's something happens after your first save, first win. After that, everybody went to the pool. I don't really think it's that big of a deal. But it's nice to loosen it up and get back to having fun. When you're having fun you play looser. It's the better way to go about things."

Said first baseman Justin Bour: "The way we got that win, it was just a good time. I don’t know if I did a bellyflop or a backflop [into the pool]. Whatever it was I got the most out of it."

> According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Jennings became only the 12th manager in baseball history to pick up their first win in extra innings -- joining Cy Young among others. Young served as a player/manager of the Boston Americans (who became the Red Sox) for six games in 1907 and pitched the 14th inning of an 8-4 win over the Philadelphia Athletics. So Young picked up the win as a manager and pitcher.

CAPPS AN UNSUNG HERO

Reliever Carter Capps picked up his first win as a Marlin in Saturday night's 13-inning marathon -- and he earned it. Capps pitched a career-high three innings and struckout a career-high six in only his second appearance since he was recalled from Triple A New Orleans on Wednesday.

His fastball was registering between 96 and 98 miles per hour and he was mixing in some impressive sliders. Acquired from the Mariners for Logan Morrison at the 2013 Winter Meetings, the Marlins have been working on adjusting Capps' delivery for the last two years so he has better command. 

"That was definitely my best big league outing, so I was pretty excited about that," Capps said. "That's probably the best I've felt with my slider command."

Said Jennings: "I tip my hat to John Duffy, our Triple A pitching coach and Charlie Corbell our minor league roving pitch coach. They spent time working with [Capps]. There was a mechanical adjustment that was made. To his credit, he did the work, he got the adjustment and he came out there last night and was just wow."

ROTATION STILL NOT SET

The Marlins will be hitting the road after Sunday's game for a six-game trip through Pittsburgh and New York and still haven't announced who will take the spots of Henderson Alvarez and Mat Latos in the starting rotation on Tuesday and Wednesday.

But it's become clear Justin Nicolino won't be one of those guys because he pitched Saturday for Triple A New Orleans. Nicolino threw 101 pitches and pitched seven innings of two-run ball in a 4-2 win over El Paso to improve to 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA on the season.

Right-hander Jose Urena, who made two quick relief appearances with the Marlins earlier this year, hasn't pitched for New Orleans since Monday. He leads the Pacific Coast League with a 1.21 ERA and is 4-0 this season. Jennings again Sunday morning brought up long reliever Brad Hand as a potential fill-in. 

"I have to tell you he's been absolutely impressive in his role and what he's adjusted to down there," Jennings said of Hand, who is 0-1 with a 5.64 ERA in 13 relief appearances this season and is 4-18 with a 4.54 ERA in 31 career starts.

"I see a lot of team first mindset, team first mentality and that's huge."

The Marlins are hoping to have some clarity on the health of Alvarez after he has an MRI sometime Sunday. Asked if they might shelve Alvarez (0-4, 6.45) for the remainder of the season because this is the second time he's gone to the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, Jennings responded: ""Let's hope not. No. Maybe for the rest of this month."

"He's working very diligent to strengthen that," Jennings continued. "The shoulder is the shoulder. It's one of those things where after the season starts nobody feels 100 percent. There's a lot of wear and tear on their parts, so you just go to strengthen it up and focus on that area and that's what he's doing now pretty intensely. He will find a way to get through this because he's a competitor and he's athletic."

Jennings said he's hoping to have Alvarez and Latos back not long after they are eligible to come off the disabled list. 

"Based on what I heard thus far, it seems like some of them it could be the 15-days and then have them back ready," Jennings said. "Maybe in that 15 to 20 [days] window. That's best case."

August 11, 2008

Olsen and Favre ready to go

Scott Olsen has never missed a start because of an injury, and he’s not planning on missing his next one Thursday against the Cardinals.

            “I’m good to go,’’ said Olsen after he threw a bullpen session at Dolphin Stadium Monday afternoon. “I’ll be out there Thursday.’’

            Olsen injured his ankle covering first base Saturday and there was some concern if he would be ready to make his next start, but both Olsen and the Marlins believe he will be fine.

            Olsen has made every start since coming to the big leagues. He made 31 starts in 2006, 33 last season and has started 24 games this season.

            Olsen does have a new jersey. It’s fresh off the rack: a Brett Favre New York Jets jersey was hanging in Olsen’s locker when the club began a home stand Monday. The jersey is from New York, where the Marlins just played a three-game series against the Mets, and it’s from Luis Gonzalez, who seems to be everywhere this team needs him to be.

“He (Luis) said he was going to go try and find a Favre jersey, and I told him if he found one, pick one up for me, too,’’ Olsen said. “Two days later, ding, ding, ding, there it is.

“I was never a Packers fan,’’ said Olsen, who grew up in the Midwest. “But I’ve always been a Brett Favre fan.’’

June 29, 2008

Olsen off to a fast start

Guess Scott Olsen was ready for Sunday's game against Arizona.

Olsen opened the game by striking out the side on 13 pitches in the first inning. He struck out Stephen Drew on three pitches to start the day. His first four pitches were strikes, and 8 of his first 11 were in the strike zone.

May 17, 2008

Olsen's velocity

Is there a problem with Scott Olsen's velocity.

After three innings, Olsen has yet to throw a pitch in the 90s. He is relying on a lot of off-speed stuff and hitting the corners with a fastball that has topped out at 88-89 mph.

May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Matinee -- LIVE from D.C.

ArodWASHINGTON -- Everyone seems to be doing the Fish once more, South Florida's pro baseball team doing quite well in case you haven't heard.

The Marlins are winning games on the field and making winning deals off it, locking up Hanley Ramirez to a six-year deal. Good feelings about the deal in the Marlins clubhouse on Saturday, players saying they are happy to see this organization make a commitment to the future.

Sure this news also quiets some of the low payroll talk these guys face in every city (including Miami Gardens) they visit. The Marlins are playing well right now, helped along by a favorable schedule, sure. But, as a guy who covers the Florida Panthers can attest, wins early in the season count just the same as ones in the final weeks.

The Fish are eight games over .500 and they have the pitching and the offense and right now even the defense to keep up these winning ways. You have to think the Marlins are going to win a good portion of their next eight (today with Olsen throwing against the Expos, four games at WKRP in Cincinnati and three at home against the KC Royales with Cheese) before the NL West leading D-Backs come to South Florida.

But lets not get ahead of ourselves. No local television on today's game, and not sure if you can catch it at your local watering hole on Center Ice, err the MLB Package, or not. If not, catch Dave Van Horne and Glenn Geffner on the radio and remember to check back here throughout the day. Will be working Fish Bytes old school for those without a radio but with a laptop handy.

-- Come on, call your Mom. Tell her we all send her our best.

-- Fish Bytes and On Frozen Pond send out congratulations to San Diego's Greg Maddux for getting his 350th career victory last night. Think he's a Hall of Fame candidate now, or does he need to do more?

-- Do you realize the Marlins .611 winning percentage coming into today is second only to the D-Backs in the National League, and third overall (Boston is at .615). Florida's 22 victories rank them fifth in baseball. That's pretty heady stuff there.

-- Couple changes on the lineup today. As planned, Alfredo Amezaga back in center, leading off. Mike Rabelo also behind the plate (Matt Treanor played past three games and it's a night-day dealio). For the Expos, old pal (unless you're a Red Sox fan) Aaron Boone starting at first and batting fourth. He pinch-hit last night and was robbed thanks to a terrific catch in left by Brett Carroll.

THE LINEUPS

Olsenbat Florida: CF Amezaga; RF Hermida; SS Ramirez; 3B Cantu; 2B Uggla; LF Gonzalez; 1B Helms; C Rabelo; P Olsen.

Montreal: SS Lopez; 2B Belliard; 3B Zimmerman; 1B Boone; CF Milledge; LF Pena; RF Dukes; C Flores; P Hill.

-- Here are some bonus quotes on the Hanley Ramirez signing from yesterday:

Manny Acta: “He’s special. He’s one of those few guys that you can say that. Hanley can do whatever he wants int the game. It’s that simple. He can hit a home run. He can bunt and steal second and third and score on anything. He’ll take a walk. He’ll hit over .320, almost guaranteed. He can do everything he wants in the game. He’s one of those legit five-tool players. there are a lot of guys a lot of people throw the five-tool guy at them and they’re not. This guy is a five-tool guy – legit.”

Dan Uggla: “I think it’s a great move. He’s going to be one of the best players in the game for a long time. He’s a winner and I think it’s really smart on their part. I’m real excited for Hanley. He plays his butt off.’’

Josh Willingham: “Fans want to be familiar with their players and they want to know the team is going to be commited to them. For him, to know he’s going to be around for a long time, maybe that’ll bring more fans out. I don’t know. It is good.’’

Luis Gonzalez:“It shows people that this organization is committed with the stadium coming. In the past, they’ve had to make moves to accomidate things because of the lack of fans coming out. By agreeing with Hanley, that shows there’s a commitment there where we’re going to do what we have to do to keep players like that and lock them up long time. That’s a commitment to the fans.’’

Fredi Gonzalez: “He’s one hell of a player, a good player. We’ve hit him third the past six, seven days and he gets on base, drove in some runs, walks, steals. His game hasn’t changed from being leadoff now that he’s in the three hole. If he gets on, he’s a threat to score.’’

-- Other news from today: Mike Jacobs still out, could play in the Natti. Josh Willingham will not do anything today, Fredi G saying his back was bothering him in BP yesterday. Willingham will travel with team to Ohio, maybe get in some BP there before getting his minor league rehab assignment.

-- About to get started here at Nationals Park, a number of the Marlins sporting some kind of pink today as park of baseball's annual Cancer awareness day. Some guys are wearing pink sweatbands (good luck breaking a sweat today), cleats or batting gloves. A good number of pink bats coming out as well. The Nats are giving out white caps with the Walgreens W in pink with the Cancer ribbon on the bill.

GAME TIME -- GAME TIME -- GAME TIME

-- First pitch from Shawn Hill (not the former Panthers defenseman) at 1:36 p.m. Alfredo Amezaga took a ball, did not hit the first pitch over the left field wall like Cody Ross did Saturday night...

Ironically, Sean Hill the hockey player is from Minnesota; Shawn Hill the baseballer is from Missasaugua, Ontario (which is outside of Toronto, home of the airport and, more importantly, Woodbine Racetrack.)

-- The US National softball team is here. I did not notice Jenny Finch. I was looking.

T1: Fish go 1-2-3; B1: Very efficient inning by Scott Olsen, puts down Nats in order on a mere six (yes, six) pitches.

T2: Marlins lead 1-0; with one out, Dan Uggla hit by pitch; races to third on bloop single by Luis Gonzalez and scores on sacrifice fly to center by Wes Helms. FLA 1-0. B2: And on pitch No. 9, Aaron Boone ties 'er up, line drive homer to center. 1-1. But, that's it for Nats. Hanley robs Lastings Milledge for the second straight night as Wash goes 1-2-3 after homer. Olsen now at 18 pitches.

T3: Jeremy Hermida and Hanley single with two outs, Cantu ends it by grounding out 5-3. Going on WQAM here for a few minutes, shall return.. B3: Nationals pick up three runs in the inning; Ronnie Belliard's 2-run homer to left makes it 3-1, then Aaron Boone doubles, error on Amezaga in center allowing Zimmerman to score. WASH 4-1.

T4: Marlins go out quietly 1-2-3. Abe Lincoln wins the President's Race (a cool rip-off of Milwaukee's Sausage Race) after Teddy Roosevelt runs into the crowd! That crazy president....B4: Wily Mo Pena walks to lead off the inning, but he didn't go anywhere as Olsen puts the Nats down after that. Still 4-1.

T5: Mike Rabelo singles to lead things off, gets taken out at second on Olsen's fielder's choice; Olsen out at second on Amezaga's fielder's choice for out No. 2; Amezaga makes sure he doesn't get into that mix, steals second before Hermida grounds out to second. Still 4-1. B5: Felipe Lopez walks to open things, moves to second on a Belliard groundout and is caught trying to steal third (larceny!). Zim flies out to deep center. Still 4-1...

T6: Nothing really happened, except Dan Uggla homered to center to pull Miami within two at 4-2. B6: Boone leads off with single, gets wrapped up in a 6-4-3, then Pena grounds out. Still at 4-2...

T7:  Two outs and Olsen is out; Brett Carroll pinch-hitting; no win for Olsen (6 ip, 6h, 4r, 4ER, 2HR) today...Carroll grounds out, it's uno-dos-tres...Also, a scoring change from the third. No error for Amezaga and a triple for Boonie...Still 4-2. B7: Jesus Flores doubles off Logan Kensing with one out, pinch-hitter Nick Johnson strikes out for No. 2 and Felipe Lopez flies out deep to center as Amezaga tracks it down on the track..

T8: Marlins tie score...Hermida deposits pitch in right field bleachers after Amezaga runs out an infield single...4-4, no outs in the 8th..Marlins lead again...Uggla homers again, puts this one in right field as well...Fish up 5-4 with two outs in the eighth ('The Ocho').....end of the inning, a big one indeed, Fish up 5-4...B8: Renyel Pinto in for the Marlins; gives up a walk to Belliard to start things off, then the slumping Zimmerman grounds into a 6-4-3 double play for outs 1 and 2. Boonie just flew out to right.

T9: Marlins go 1-2-3, here comes Gregg (and the usual 'It Ain't Over' clip from Bluto on the big screen). Here's the full scene, minus the F-bombs courtesy of IMDB.com:

D-Day: War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Bluto Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough...
[thinks hard]
Bluto: the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go!
[runs out, alone; then returns]
Bluto: What ---- happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my [grass] from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer, he's a dead man! Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer...
Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.
D-Day: Let's do it.
Bluto: LET'S DO IT!

B9: Kevin Gregg in relief to close things out. Milledge up first, takes a free pass to first. Willie Harris has a broken-bat flare caught in right by Hermida for out numero uno. Elijah Dukes pops out to Uggla in foul territory for out number two. Jesus Flores up with two outs and a man on, sends shot back to Gregg how tossed to first for final out.

Your final from Washington, Florida 5-4 over the Nationals. Been fun covering the Marlins these past few weeks. See you all later.

May 07, 2008

Olsen didn't have to wait long

The pic of the night (by Herald photog Joe Rimkus) from Tuesday's 3-0 Marlins victory over Milwaukee came in the ninth after Scott Olsen was lifted after 8 2/3 innings -- one out away from ending the Marlins 213-game drought of not having a complete game.

Olsen pulled his jersey over his head as he waited for closer Kevin Gregg to get the final out. It took one pitch for Gregg to retire Bill Hall on a fly-out to right.

"Everybody was pulling for him to get the complete game,'' Gregg said. "I probably wanted him to get it more than he did. It's a accompishment. He pitched a two-hitter and had given up only one hit going into the ninth. I knew I wasn't going into the game unless he gave up a run or loaded the bases.

"Fredi doesn't want him to be in a position to lose the game,'' Gregg said. "So when the bases were loaded I knew I was going in.''

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Olsen did load the bases on his 121st pitch of the night.

Olsen, who threw 120 pitches against the Nationals earlier this season, joked: "Hey, that's a new record for me.''

May 06, 2008

Olsen's no-hit bid died early

There wasn't much buzz in the press box about Scott Olsen's early no-hit bid Tuesday. Olsen didn't give up a hit until the fourth when former UM hero Ryan Braun hit a one-out double.

Usually there's some chatter about a no-hit bid, and there's always a no-hit pool in the press box after the fifth inning. Ollie didn't get us that far.

Luis Gonzalez has changed the Marlins'  clubhouse with his class and leadership. It's night and day since last year. But it;s also nice to see Gonzo get a few hits. He already helped the Marlins win a game with a homer earlier this season, but has had a tough time in his role off the bench.

He had two hits in his first two at-bats Tuesday, driving in the first Marlin run with a single in the second and ripping a double in the fourth. It's still early and those two hits raised Gonzo's batting average from .226 to .250.