September 30, 2012

Healthy Josh Johnson nearing completion of a full season Monday night

Josh Johnson won't measure his success in 2012 in terms of wins and losses.

Johnson feels he will achieve the biggest goal he set for himself Monday night when he pitches his final start of the 2012 season against the Mets. The outing will signify a fully healthy season for the Marlins ace, who returned from a shoulder injury that limited him to only nine starts last season.

Johnson (8-14, 3.81 ERA) will make his 32nd start of the season giving him the most in a season in his career since he started 33 in 2009. Johnson was an All-Star in 2010.

"Getting through the season healthy was the biggest thing for me this year," Johnson said. "I didn't really set any goals as far as numbers or wins. The biggest thing was stay healthy and be able to go out there night in and night out and get outs."

Although Johnson, like most of the Marlins starters this season, has been durable, it's been a frustrating season in terms of results.

Johnson has pitched 191.1 innings this season and has 165 strikeouts, but has allowed 180 hits (just four shy of his single-season career-high) and has allowed 81 earned runs - his most ever in a single season. Johnson's 14 losses will be his most as well and more than he had combined the past four seasons.

The biggest problem has been lack of run support.

Johnson has been receiving a Major League-worst 2.92 runs per nine innings, and only 2.32 during his past 12 starts. The second-lowest is Nathan Eovaldi (2.94) who started Sunday. And former teammate Anibal Sanchez (3.28) has the second-worst for a pitcher with at least 30 starts this season.

Johnson, however, said he's feeling well physically after a long season, something he's taking as a positive sign heading into next season.

"All the rehab I did last year put me in the correct position with my shoulder to be in this spot," Johnson said. "You're always going to be a little sore and tight at the end of the year, but overall my shoulder feels as good as it did at the start of the year."

Sunday's lineups

Phillies (79-79): Rollins ss; Pierre lf; Utley 2b; Ruiz c; Brown rf; Schierholtz cf; Ruf 1b; Orr 3b; Hamels p

Marlins (67-91): Hernandez cf; Petersen lf; Reyes ss; Stanton rf; Lee 1b; Solano 2b; Buck c; Velasquez 3b; Eovaldi p

August 12, 2012

Marlins to call up C Rob Brantly; Hayes optioned to NOLA

           The Marlins optioned catcher Brett Hayes to Triple-A New Orleans following Sunday’s game and will bring up recently-acquired catcher Rob Brantly.

            Brantly, a 23-year old left-handed hitting catcher, was part of the trade July 23 that sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit. Brantly hit .365 with two home runs, four doubles and 11 RBI in 14 games for New Orleans.

            “When we traded for him, we knew he had pretty good offensive upside,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. “It’s a small sample size, but he’s hit the ball very well. The pitchers down there love him. He’s still working on some defensive stuff, but we feel like he can work on them up here and take a look at him.”

            Beinfest said although John Buck remains the starting catcher, the team will find ways to get Brantly a good amount of playing time to get him Major League experience and begin to evaluate him at that level.

            “When you give up the kind of guys we did to get him, it’s because we felt he can be an every day catcher in this league,” Beinfest said. “I don’t think you want to bring him up and have him sit. You want to look for some advantageous situations for him, but he needs to play.”

            Guillen said: “We’re going to try to figure out playing time and how many games a week because he’s being brought up to play.”


Emilio Bonifacio to rehab in Jupiter Wednesday

            Emilio Bonifacio is scheduled to start a rehab assignment Wednesday in Single-A Jupiter, and said he’s on track to return to the team during its four-game series in Colorado this week.

            Bonifacio sprained his thumb Aug. 3 in Washington while fielding a ground ball, and is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday for the series finale against the Rockies. He re-injured the same thumb that had kept him out for an extended amount of time earlier this season.

In addition to hitting the ball off the tee Saturday, Bonifacio said he has resumed other baseball activities such as fielding and catching.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said he felt moving Bonifacio back to the outfield upon his return might be the safest move. Bonifacio started 47 games in center field and started 14 at second base after the Marlins traded Omar Infante to Detroit.

 “I’m ready to go,” Bonifacio said. “It doesn’t really bother me as long as I can play.”

July 22, 2012

Stanton progressing; Ramirez still out

The Marlins are trying to avoid falling to seven games under .500 for the first time this season.

With the team in dire need of any offensive spark, it got some good news regarding injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton. An update Marlins executive vice president Larry Beinfest got from the team’s training staff said that Stanton is progressing as he continues to work his way back from knee surgery.

Stanton has been hitting balls off the tee and doing some light throwing for three days, and may be ready to take some batting practice at some point during the upcoming homestand.

            Stanton, who had arthroscopic surgery July 9 to remove two loose cartilage fragments from his knee, is expected to miss at least another 2-4 weeks.

As expected, Hanley Ramirez did not start for the third consecutive game. Ramirez, whose hand was almost fully wrapped Sunday, is recovering from an infection on the cut above the knuckles on his right hand that he suffered July 8 in St. Louis when he punched a cooling fan.


Marlins (44-50): Reyes ss, Bonifacio cf; Lee 1b; Morrison lf; Ruggiano rf; Dobbs 3b; Infante 2b; Hayes c; Sanchez p.

Pirates (53-40): Presley lf; Walker 2b; McCutchen cf; Jones rf; McGehee 1b; Alvarez 3b; McKenry c; Mercer ss; Karstens p.

July 21, 2012

Hanley Ramirez out again; Ozzie Guillen thinks he could be out for a while

Hanley Ramirez’s infected right hand kept him out of the Marlins starting lineup for the second consecutive game.

Ramirez told reporters Saturday his status is “day-to-day.” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, however, used a different term to describe the timetable for his return from the injury that stemmed from his punching a cooling fan July 8 during a game in St. Louis.

“Hanley’s not day-to-day,” Guillen said. “It’s more like ‘2 days-by-2 days.’ His hand is a little bit better today, but just a little bit. I don’t see that much difference between yesterday than today.”

Guillen said it would be a “miracle” if Ramirez would return for Sunday’s finale against the Pirates, and said a return during the team’s upcoming six-game home stand is “optimistic.”

I don’t know [when he’ll be back],” Guillen said. “I know he still can’t grab a bat. They have to go by the doctors and trainers and see how he feels. The infection seems like it’s pretty strong. We’ve got to play by ear. If you want to, call it day to day, but to me it’s ‘check every two days.’ Maybe, we can have him pinch run, but that’s it.”

Ramirez pinch ran Friday in the ninth inning and stole a base. On Saturday afternoon, he kept his hands tucked away in a sweatshirt he wore in the team clubhouse.

“I’m just waiting for the swelling to go down,” Ramirez said. “I have probably about 50-60 percent use. I can still move my fingers. I just can’t grab the ball or the bat. Once I can do those things I’ll be back.”

Guillen said Friday he heard the infection was caused by Ramirez not properly taking his medication for the original injury. Ramirez said Saturday he forgot to take it only one day.

“[The infection] happened overnight,” Ramirez said. “It was pretty bad. I had pain and it kept swelling up. I’m taking the same pills. I think I got an alarm now every time so I don’t forget.”

Said Guillen: “Hanley’s a grown man. He should know how to do that, but he didn’t. And now it’s too late. Now, hopefully he will from now on.

“But I think the problem started in St. Louis when he did what he did. Players don’t realize it until after the fact. When [something like] that happens, you are hurting the ball club not just yourself and that’s what we’re dealing with right now.”

July 20, 2012

Hanley Ramirez out for Friday's game vs. Pirates

Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez’s moment of rage nearly two weeks ago in St. Louis caught up to him Friday, forcing him out of the team’s lineup, possibly for multiple games.

            Ramirez left PNC Park early Friday afternoon and visited a doctor in Pittsburgh to treat an infection that developed around the area on his right hand where he cut himself punching a cooling fan in the dugout during a game July 8th in St. Louis.

Ramirez received two stitches above his right ring finger when the injury occurred in the sixth inning of that game. He missed the remainder of that game, but returned immediately after the All-Star break.

“[Ramirez’s hand] looked pretty ugly and it was pretty sensitive,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “I was a little worried about it. Hopefully, it will come out soon. You can’t play around with that stuff. We have to prevent it from becoming a big deal. That’s the kind of thing you have to be careful. You have to take the time to cure it and hopefully it’s right away.”

Guillen, however, was miffed by the apparent reason for the infection. Guillen said he heard it formed due to Ramirez not properly taking his prescribed antibiotics.

“How do you forget to take a pill the doctor tells you to take?” Guillen said. “Hopefully the doctor finds exactly the right pills and I will tell him open your mouth, like a baby, and put them in his mouth and make sure he takes his pills every night.”

Greg Dobbs took Ramirez’s place at third base and hit sixth Friday in the Marlins’ lineup. The Marlins said Ramirez returned to the park approximately an hour before the start of the game.

Emilio Bonifacio and Jose Reyes each said Ramirez was showing no ill effects from the injury recently during the series following the All-Star break against the Nationals and Cubs.

“[Emilio Bonifacio] and some of the other guys saw it, and said it was bad,” shortstop Jose Reyes said. “Hanley was good the past few days. He was playing with it fine.”

Ramirez, who has been the subject of trade rumors the past couple of days, has gone 6 for 26 since the All-Star break with two home runs, three RBI and has struck out 11 times.

July 16, 2012

Marlins reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo has sprained elbow

According to the Marlins, an MRI has revealed that relief pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo has suffered a UCL sprain in his right elbow.

As of Monday evening the team has not given a timetable for his return.

Oviedo walked off the mound Saturday night in a rehab appearance at Triple A New Orleans after recording only one out because of right elbow discomfort.

Oviedo was back in Miami Sunday and was examined by team doctors. Manager Ozzie Guillen spoke to the media at 4:15 Monday afternoon and said Oviedo's MRI results were being evaluated.

Oviedo is eligible to return from his eight-week suspension for age and identity fraud on July 23.

April 12, 2012

Charles Barkley supports Ozzie Guillen

Saw an article in USA Today talking about a radio interview Thursday morning on The Dan Patrick Show, between host Patrick and former NBA star Charles Barkley.

Barkley said he has “reached out” to suspended Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen.

Barkley told Patrick he hadn’t spoken to Guillen, but as someone who had “made some stupid mistakes,” he understood what the Marlins manager, who served the second of a five-game suspension Thursday was going through.

“I don't condone what Ozzie said, but he's apologized,” Barkley told Patrick. “I reached out to him just to tell him to keep his head up.”

Barkley said he would have also reached out to recently-fired University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino, too, if he knew him.

“When you are living in that storm, you think the world is going to end,” Barkley told Patrick. “It's easy for everybody to go crazy on you on radio and TV because everybody gets the God complex when they're on television and radio, thinking like they ain't never done anything wrong. Everybody is just God, judge and jury on you and just crucifies you.''


            The Phillies announced that former outfielder and University of Miami star Pat Burrell will officially retire next month. Burrell, who hit .257 with 251 homers and 827 RBI, will sign a one-day minor league contract and retire as a member of the Phillies.

April 09, 2012

Ozzie Guillen will return to Miami Tuesday to address Castro comments

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said prior to Monday’s game against the Phillies that he would travel back to Miami after the game and hold a press conference Tuesday to address the recent comments in a Time magazine article concerning Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

            Guillen was quoted in a recent online article by Time Magazine as saying he respected Castro for having been able to remain in power in Cuba as long as he has.

Guillen later apologized for the comment during the team’s road trip this past weekend to Cincinnati where he said: “I’m against the way he [Castro] treats people and the way [he has treated] his country for a long time. I’m against that 100 percent.”

“I was planning to do something Friday, but tomorrow we have the day off and I want to make everything clear so people can talk to me face to face,” Guillen said. “They can ask me whatever questions they want, and the sooner the better for the people, for the ball club and for me. I want to tell people what is going on in my mind and what I believe.”

Guillen said he has been struggling with the situation the past three days, and hasn’t been able to sleep.

The Marlins did not release an exact time for the press conference as of Monday morning, but Guillen said it would take place at Marlins Park.

“I want the people there,” Guillen said. “I feel embarrassed. I feel guilty not because I’m not lying, but because this thing hasn’t let me sleep for three days. Only my wife knows how bad it’s been last few days. I feel very guilty, sad and embarrassed. Anyone who wants to be there, feel free. I want to be there by myself and I want the Cuban people to understand what I’m going to say because everything I’m going to say is true.”

Guillen said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction and knew how deeply it would affect the Cuban community.

“I have to face it,” Guillen said. “I have to make people feel good about themselves. I will say what I said a couple of days ago. I don’t want to just make a statement and that’s it because I think when you do that, that’s a bunch of crap.

“I feel sad because I know I hurt a lot of people,” Guillen said. “I’m Latino. I live in Miami. I have a lot of friends, and players [that are Cuban]. They know who I am. They know how I feel.”

Guillen said he had not spoken to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria about it and didn't think this would affect his job status. He the saddest part for him was to apologize to Cuban broadcasting legend and Hall of Famer Felo Ramirez.

Ramirez, the Marlins Hall of Fame spanish radio announcer, did not wish to speak much about the situation but said he felt Guillen was doing the right thing by returning to Miami.

Guillen said he also apologized to Cuban-born Phillies pitcher Jose Contreras.

“Obviously it’s something that was going to affect people a lot and [Guillen] realizes that,” Ramirez said. “I think he will answer everything [in Miami].”

The ripple effect reached members of the Cuban community even in Philadelphia.

Phillies spanish radio announcer Rickie Ricardo, who was born in New York but whose family migrated from Cuba, said the situation was something that could be more damaging to the team’s image than anything negative on the field.

“Let’s hope Ozzie addresses it and clears things up,” Ricardo said. “That’s a subject that’s untouchable. This team could go 0-50 and it wouldn’t hurt the Cuban community as much as him saying something like that.”