August 05, 2010

Marlins sign veteran infielder Chad Tracy

Hey fans,

Andre Fernandez filling in for Manny and Clark today. Here's some news on a move the Marlins made today:

   The Marlins signed free agent infielder Chad Tracy Thursday in
the hopes of adding depth at the third base position.

   Tracy, 30, was recently with the New York Yankees' Triple-A
affiliate, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, before being released last
week. Tracy began the season with the Cubs, and hit .250 in 28
games before being sent down to the minors. At Scranton, Tracy
hit .324 with six home runs and 18 RBI in 68 plate appearances.

   Tracy, a left-handed batter, spent six seasons with the
Diamondbacks and is a career .279 hitter.

   "I was sitting at home [in Charlotte] when the Marlins
called,'' Tracy said. "I didn't have any idea they'd call.
There's always possibilities all over the place and different
variables.''

   Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said before Thursday's game
that Tracy will be used primarily off the bench, and should get
some playing time at third base.

   "This year, [while managing in the minors], I saw him when we
played the Cubs Triple-A team in Iowa,'' Marlins manager Edwin
Rodriguez said. "In that series, he had eight or nine hits. He's
a very good hitter. A good defender, playable at first or
third.''

   The move came a day after the Marlins optioned outfielder
Bryan Petersen and catcher Brad Davis to Triple-A New Orleans,
and activated catcher Brett Hayes from the disabled list.

   Tracy said he'd gladly conform to any role the Marlins give
him.

   "It's whatever I can do to help,'' Tracy said. "The reason I
left the Yankees was because I didn't want to play in minors
anymore. I'm happy to be back up.''

April 02, 2010

OF Scott Cousins preparing to start in New York

JACKSONVILLE -- With only 72 hours remaining before the start of the season, the Marlins still aren't sure who their starting right fielder will be when they take on the Mets at CitiField Monday night. But Scott Cousins is preparing like he'll be that guy. 

Scott CousinsWith Cody Ross still battling back from a mild calf strain, Cousins, 25, said the Marlins called him Thursday morning and told him to begin mentally preparing himself for his big league debut.

"They told me to come up here and play for Jacksonville, and travel up with them tomorrow to Greensboro to play for Greensboro and if things have been going the way they've been going with Cody, I'll be in New York. If he's feeling better, like he's ready to go, then I'm going back to [Triple A] New Orleans," said Cousins, who was scheduled to start in center Friday night for the Suns, who are hosting the Marlins one the first of the club's two final exhibition games.

"They said it was very likely [I would be in New York]. They didn't give me a percentage or anything like that. They just said to prepare my mind like I'm going to New York."

Ross, sidelined since March 23rd, played in a minor league game Friday afternoon on a back field at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter. As a designated hitter, he went hitless in five at-bats against the Mets low Single A affiliate. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said Ross is scheduled to play twice more this weekend in minor league games where he'll test his calf in the outfield.

"The trainers and coaches said he looked OK," Gonzalez said. "But, we'll always lean on the side of caution.

"He hasn't played the field and you have to play the field and stay out there for nine innings and run around. But today was a good sign. I don't mind losing him for four days and playing it safe than bringing him back too early and all of a sudden it's a month in a half."

If Ross isn't ready for the opener, he will begin the season on the disabled list. In that scenario, the Marlins would place him on the 15-day DL, retroactive to March 26. The earliest he would be eligible to return would be April 10, when the Marlins host the Dodgers on the first Saturday night at home of the season.

Cousins is pulling for Ross to be healthy. But he certainly wouldn't mind an opportunity to fulfill his big league dreams, too.

A third round draft choice in 2006 out of the University of San Francisco, Cousins fractured his knee cap crashing into the outfield pole in Single A Jupiter with two months to go in the 2008 seasons. After having surgery, he didn't produce on offense like he was expecting to last season, hitting .263 with 12 home runs, 74 RBI and 27 stolen bases for Double A Jacksonville. But this spring with the Marlins, he showed he could swing a stick against big league pitching, hitting .286 with two home runs, four RBI in 21 at-bats and 11 games.

"They told me it could be four days, 10 days, two weeks -- it all depends on how he's doing," Cousins said. "But for me to fullfill a lifelong goal and dream -- Opening Day in New York, it would be unbelievable."

July 29, 2009

Andrew Miller gets hurt after another poor outing

    According to Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, pitcher Andrew Miller rolled his right ankle Wednesday afternoon during his second minor league start with Triple-A New Orleans.

     Gonzalez said the play happened while Miller was chasing down a bunt down one of the base lines. Prior to the injury, however, Miller had another poor outing.

In one inning, Miller gave up four earned runs, while walking two and hitting a batter. In two starts, Miller has now gone 0-2 with 10 earned runs and 11 walks, six hits and eight strikeouts.

The development raises the question of who will be the Marlins' 5th starter for the near future? And do they now feel added urgency to make a trade for a starting pitcher?

There's of course Sean West, who pitched will earlier this season, but he may not be ready. Anibal Sanchez needs more time to recover. And even if Burke Badenhop starts Saturday, is he ready to be a part of the rotation?

Gonzalez said the team is having discussions on ways to improve the team, but did not elaborate. And he has yet to officially name a starter for Saturday's game against the Cubs, which is a day after the MLB trade deadline.

Here is tonight's lineup for the Marlins: 1. Coghlan lf; 2. Bonifacio 3b; 3. Ramirez ss; 4. Cantu 3b; 5. Hermida rf; 6. Uggla 2b; 7. Ross cf; 8. Baker c; 9. Johnson p.

July 28, 2009

Carlos Tosca managing the opener; starting lineups

Hey Fish Byters, Andre Fernandez filling in for Clark and Manny tonight from the LandShark.

Marlins bench coach Carlos Tosca will manage tonight's opening game of their three-game series against the Braves, while Fredi Gonzalez serves a one-game suspension handed down Monday. The game will not count toward Tosca's managerial record, however. Tosca managed the Blue Jays from midway through the 2002 season to the latter part of the 2004 campaign, compiling a 191-191 record.

Reliever Burke Badenhop will serve out the three-game suspension he received following Sunday's game against the Dodgers when he hit Orlando Hudson with a pitch following Hanley Ramirez getting hit by Dodgers pitcher Jeff Weaver. Although Badenhop remains a likely possibility to head a "bullpen" start in Saturday's game against the Chicago Cubs, Gonzalez said he has yet to name a starter.

Here are tonight's lineups:

- Marlins: 1. Coghlan lf; 2. Bonifacio 3b; 3. Ramirez ss; 4. Cantu 1b; 5. Hermida rf; 6. Uggla 2b; 7. Ross cf; 8. Baker c; 9. Nolasco p.

- Braves: 1. Nate McLouth cf; 2. Martin Prado 2b; 3. Chipper Jones 3b; 4. Brian McCann c; 5. Garret Anderson lf; 6. Yunel Escobar ss; 7. Casey Kotchman 1b; 8. Ryan Church rf; 9. Jair Jurrjens p.

May 03, 2009

Marlins getting burned on the bases

CHICAGO -- Stolen bases. It wasn't the reason the Marlins lost to the Cubs Saturday, but it could become a real problem the Fish have to face all season. So far, the Marlins simply haven't been doing a good job stopping opposing teams from moving into scoring position with their speed.

Ronny Paulino Saturday, catcher Ronny Paulino got lit up in his second consecutive start, allowing three Cubs to steal second base. It was the same story when he was behind the plate Thursday. The only reason Paulino was able to catch a base stealer Saturday -- and end his personal streak at six -- was because Joey Gathright slid past second.

This season, Paulino has been one of the worst at catching potential base stealers in baseball and so are the Marlins, who are second-worst in the NL to San Diego (26). So far, opponents have been able to steal 21 bases while getting caught just five times. Paulino has been burned for most of them, throwing out just three in 19 attempts. John Baker has caught two of the seven potential base stealers who have run on him.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez, however, didn't put much of the blame on his catchers when I asked him about it Saturday. "We got to do a better job holding runners as a pitching staff," Gonzalez said. "We've got guys who are a little slower to the plate and we're addressing that. You don't want to give away bases."

And for what it's worth -- for all the talk about the Marlins' speed -- the Fish are actually middle of the road when it comes stealing bases themselves. Florida has stolen 13 bases and been caught six times.

April 26, 2009

Maybin moves up to leadoff spot Sunday

Manager Fredi Gonzalez unveiled a few changes to his Sunday afternoon lineup against the Phillies and Marlins killer Jamie Moyer.

Cameron Maybin will bat leadoff for only the second time this season on Sunday when the Marlins face nemesis Jamie Moyer. Emilio Bonifacio is going to get the day off (just the second time he hasn't been in the lineup) and in his place Cameron Maybin will get to enjoy batting leadoff for only the second time this season. Bonifacio, who has been struggling at the plate lately, could probably use the break. He’s 3 for his last 35. Then again, he’s had some pretty good success against lefties this year (batting .409). And the Marlins could use all the help they can get against Moyer, who is 11-1 against Florida in his career.

Maybin has batted in front of the pitcher 10 of the 16 times he’s been in the lineup for the Marlins this season, hitting .194. In his one leadoff appearance, he went 1 for 4 with a walk and two strike outs.

The Phillies by the way will be giving ice cold Jimmy Rollins the day off. The 2007 NL MVP is hitting .162 this season in 16 games. He’s 1-for-9 in this series against the Marlins.

> Phillies: 1. Shane Victorino, CF; 2. Eric Bruntlett, SS; 3. Chase Utley, 2B; 4. Ryan Howard, 1B; 5. Jaysen Werth, RF; 6. Raul Ibanez, LF; 7. Pedro Feliz, 3B; 8. Chris Coste, C; 9. Jamie Moyer, P.
> Marlins: 1. Cameron Maybin, CF; 2. Jeremy Hermida, LF; 3. Hanley Ramirez, SS; 4. Jorge Cantu, 1B; 5. Dan Uggla, 2B; 6. Wes Helms, 3B; 7. Ronnie Paulino, C; 8. Cody Ross, RF; 9. Graham Taylor, P.

MAKING MOVES: Marlins relief pitcher Logan Kensing got more than the loss Saturday. He got his walking papers, too.

The 26-year old right-handed reliever was designated for assignment after the game to make room for Sunday starter Graham Taylor, who was called up from Double A Jacksonville to pitch in place of the injured Andrew Miller.

Kensing was 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA in six games with Florida and has spent parts of the past six seasons with Florida. When asked after Saturday’s loss why it was Kensing being sent down, Gonzalez said, “I don’t know. We had to make a move.”

No matter how Taylor pitches Sunday against the Phillies, expect the 24-year old to stick around for at least one more start – at least until Miller gets healthy. Gonzalez said Miller began long tossing on Saturday. The left-hander suffered an oblique strain and went on the disabled list on April 20.

As for Taylor, Gonzalez said it was time to give the young junk-ball pitcher a shot.

“It’s been a couple years now and his numbers in the minor leagues are the numbers you want. He’s a guy who will give you a lot of innings, lot of strikeouts, not very many base on balls. Those are the type of guys you want. And we’re going to give him an opportunity to come up here and pitch in the big leagues.”

CANTU BANGS INJURED WRIST: During the Marlins failed 10th inning, 2-out rally Saturday night, first baseman Jorge Cantu needed a moment to deal with the pain of his deeply bruised left hand and wrist.

Cantu, who started the rally with a double, said he banged his injured hand on second base when he reached back for the bag to avoid sliding past it. Gonzalez and several trainers came out to check on Cantu, who remained in the game.

After the loss, Cantu told us in the locker room he was fine and was expecting to make his second straight start Sunday after missing three consecutive games.

“I felt it a little when I swung. It’s just a little stinger is all it is, nothing big,” Cantu said. “It’s going to be like this for another three, four weeks. It’s very tender. That’s why I’m putting a ton of ice on it after every game. It’s a deep bone bruise. All I can do is ice it, give it time.”

April 25, 2009

Lindstrom: "I have to mix my pitches better"

Matt Lindstrom didn't get a good night's sleep Friday and he didn't receive any supportive phone calls from friends around the league after his meltdown against the Phillies. The life of a closer can feel pretty lonely at times.

Matt Lindstrom The 6-4, 210-pound hard throwing right-hander is learning -- among other things in his new role -- that coming into a ninth inning situation can be hard. But the good news for Marlins fans, who unleashed their venom on Lindstrom on the airwaves and on message boards, is that the 29-year old felt like he learned something last night after spending a few extra hours watching himself on video replays. 

"Last night was embarrassing for myself. No excuses. I just didn’t get it done," Lindstrom said from his locker Saturday, making sure to answer every question from reporters (even if all of them pertained to his worst night in baseball). "But I know what I have to do now to have more success -- and that’s mix my pitches better and stop getting behind hitters, giving them a hitter’s count."

"The only real explanation I have [for the wildness] was that is it was tough to harness [the fastball]. I felt good. My release point seemed like it was there. My ball just had an unusual little late life and cut on it. I’d get behind and I’d have to come with strikes. I didn’t utilize my breaking ball enough. I think I started with the four hitter and the first time I threw [the breaking ball] was to the nine guy. I just got to mix my pitches a little better."

For what it's worth, Marlins fans might want to cut Lindstrom a little slack. Friday's outing was just his 13th opportunity in a save situation in his three seasons in the majors. The two home runs he gave up? Before Friday, he'd only surrendered three in 143 appearances. And, this was the Phillies he was pitching against.

The bottomline is his fastball wasn't working and when he tried to throw it for strikes, the Phillies were sitting on it. "There’s probably quite a few pitches I few I wish I could have had back, ones I didn’t throw with quite as much conviction as I would have liked to," Lindstrom said. "The problem was I think I had about six inches of cut on my four seemer. It started in off the middle third and then breaking and [catcher John] Baker would be going like this [extending his arms to catch it]. It was frustrating. Then, I had to kind of ease one in there just to throw a freaking strike. That’s not going to cut it – especially when these guys are timing it."

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he had a talk with Lindstrom before Saturday's game in the weight room. But the talk wasn't about baseball. “This guy has only had 13 opportunities to save games in three years,” Gonzalez said. “You aren’t going to create that ninth inning stuff that goes on in the seventh. The adrenaline, 30,000 people screaming, facing the middle of the lineup. He’s got to feel that and get that.”

Gonzalez said while the option was there Friday to stick with Leo Nunez, who retired the top of the Phillies order 1-2-3 in the eighth, the only thing he was thinking about heading into the ninth was giving Lindstrom (who had five days off between outings) a chance to experience the ninth.

"You can [go with Nunez]," Gonzalez said. "But don’t you want to try and develop your closer? Don't you want to develop a guy whose only had 13 opportunities to save games in three years? You got to develop other pieces. Yeah, you could run Nunez out there. But he’s our guy that we’re going to go to."

Gonzalez said he believes Lindstrom has all the ingredients the Marlins want in a closer. "Stuff wise he's got it. The big arm, 96 miles per hour. His breaking pitch is being developed to be an above average pitch. His two seamer is working," Gonzalez said. "Now, he needs to develop the other stuff that comes with winning games."

Cantu back in lineup; Lindstrom won't pitch tonight

A night after blowing a golden opportunity to take the first game of the series at Dolphin Stadium against the World Champion Phillies, the Marlins got some good news regarding their lineup. First baseman Jorge Cantu will be back in it.

Cantu, who flew back home early from Pittsburgh this week to get a cortisone injection on his deeply bruised left hand and wrist, apparently had a good session of batting practice early Saturday. It was enough to convince manager Fredi Gonzalez to put Cantu back in the cleanup spot.

"We’ll keep an eye on him," Gonzalez said. "I’m sure it’s going to be some days where it feels a little sore, but he said he’s made tremendous progress in the last three days."

Cantu's bat will definitely be welcomed. The Marlins have produced just nine runs in their last three games. Cantu is hitting .341 this season He and outfielder Jeremy Hermida (.308) are the only regulars hitting better than .300.

Here are the lineups for both teams...
> FLORIDA: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, 3B; 2. John Baker, C; 3. Hanley Ramirez SS; 4. Jorge Cantu, 1B; 5. Dan Uggla, 2B; 6. Jeremy Hermida, LF; 7. Cody Ross, RF; 8. Cameron Maybin, CF; 9. Chris Volstad, P
> PHILADELPHIA: 1. Jimmy Rollins, SS; 2. Shane Victorino, CF; 3. Chase Utley, 2B; 4. Ryan Howard, 1B; 5. Jayson Werth, RF: 6. Raul Ibanez, LF; 7. Pedro Feliz, 3B; 8. Lou Marson, C; 9. Chan Ho Park, P.

LINDSTROM WILL TAKE A DAY OFF: Closer Matt Lindstrom, meanwhile, will get the night off. But it's not because he's coming off the most embarrassing night of his career. According to Gonzalez, they're giving Lindstrom the night off because he threw 38 pitches last night.

"If it wasn’t 36, 37 pitches he threw [we’d use him tonight]," Gonzalez said. "We still got to be careful with his arm. If it was 16, 20 pitches. I think we’re going to stay away from him because it was 38 pitches."

In case the Marlins are in position tonight to close out the game again in the ninth, Gonzalez said he would play tonight's game by feel. "It will probably be a matchup thing. We'll see how it goes."

INJURED RELIEVER GETS MOUND WORK: Marlins right-handed reliever Rick VandenHurk pitched for the first time off a mound on Friday since he left a spring training game against the Mets on March 28th. VandenHurk, who said he likely tweaked his elbow while pitching for the Netherlands during the World Baseball Classic last month, is still likely a month or so away from coming back to the Marlins.

"It’s going to be another probably five or six times off the mound before he faces hitters," Gonzalez said. "And that’s not going to be every other day. It may be two days off, three days off, that kind of stuff."