March 31, 2014

McGehee gets first crack at hitting cleanup behind Stanton; Furcal update

Placido Polanco, Marcell Ozuna, Logan Morrison, Justin Ruggiano, Joe Mahoney, Ed Lucas, Austin Kearns and Greg Dobbs all got a chance to hit cleanup behind Giancarlo Stanton last season.

Casey McGehee will be the first to have those honors this season. Skipper Mike Redmond tabbed the 31-year old third baseman as the team's Opening Night cleanup hitter because he said he wants a right-handed bat to follow Stanton when the team faces a left-handed starting pitcher.

Getting somebody to hit behind Stanton who other teams fear is vital to the Marlins success. According to, only the Giants Pablo Sandoval (33.9 percent) saw fewer strikes than Stanton (38.2 percent) among all big league hitters last season.

"I spent a lot of time hitting cleanup behind Prince [Fielder] in Milwaukee," McGehee said. "I've kind of used that as a frame of reference -- just to not get upset or let one at-bat be bigger than the next if they do decide to pitch around him, which I definitely understand. I just want to try to have good at-bats. Whether you get a hit or not, at least make the pitcher work."

The Rockies have another left-hander Brett Anderson scheduled for Tuesday's game, but will send right-hander Jordan Lyles to the mound Wednesday. Left-handed hitting first baseman Garrett Jones will probably slide in behind Stanton in the lineup that night. 

McGehee hit .292 with 28 homers and 93 RBI last season in 144 games for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japan Pacific league. The last time McGehee hit cleanup in an MLB game was July 17, 2012 as a member of the Pirates. He's only started and hit cleanup 23 times in his career and is a .218 career hitter with three homers and eight RBI batting fourth.

"He has some experience. He's been through the battles," Redmond said. "The key is to get Giancarlo as many good pitches to hit as he can. You go back to last year when we had Polanco hitting in that spot. I think that's an upgrade for us for sure."


Rafael Furcal appears to be targeting April 14th -- the day the Marlins return from their first road trip -- as the day he hopes to be off the disabled list and back in the Marlins lineup.

Furcal has been battling a tender hamstring since the middle of spring training and the Marlins are being cautious with the 36-year old second baseman, whom they paid $3.5 million to come in and serve as their leadoff hitter despite missing the entire 2013 season following Tommy John surgery. Furcal said he doesn't feel any discomfort when he fields or hits -- just when he tries to "push it" running.

"It's disappointing. I've had a whole year waiting for this moment," said Furcal, who said he will be playing in minor league games over the next couple of weeks. "But there are 100 more something games to go. I want to be healthy. I expect to play the whole year, not be hurt any more when I come back."

Furcal was the first hitter to step in the box in Marlins Park history. He grounded out to short against Josh Johnson in his first at-bat, but finished 3-for-5 that night.

> It will now be possible to know what day of the week it is by the color of the Marlins’ uniforms. Seriously.

Players will be wearing white jersey tops with black caps Monday throughThursday. On Fridays, they’ll be wearing white uniforms and red-orange caps. On Saturdays, it’ll be black uniform tops and black caps with red-orange bills. And on Sundays, they’ll wear red-orange jerseys with black caps.

Got that?

“There was an overwhelming amount of fan support for the red-orange caps last year and we didn’t wear them,” said Marlins president David Samson. “So this year we’re bringing them back.”

Samson said the red-orange caps are the team’s biggest sellers.


> Rockies: 1. Charlie Blackmon CF, 2. Michael Cuddyer RF, 3. Carlos Gonzalez LF, 4. Troy Tulowitzki SS, 5. Justin Morneau 1B, 6. Wilin Rosario C, 7. Nolan Arenado 3B, 8. DJ LeMahieu 2B, 9. Jorge De La Rosa LHP.

> Marlins: 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Jeff Baker 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Casey McGehee 3B, 5. Garrett Jones 1B, 6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 7. Marcell Ozuna CF, 8. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 9. Jose Fernandez RHP

March 26, 2014

Dobbs returns, Ozuna having "much better at bats" lately, Furcal still working his way back

LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Greg Dobbs, whom the Marlins will be paying $1.7 million this season to serve as their primary left-handed pinch-hitter, is back in the lineup today after missing two weeks with a strained left quad.

Dobbs hasn't played in a Grapefruit League game since March 11, but had been getting at-bats in minor league games as a designated hitter over the past two days. He's only had 13 Grapefruit League at-bats thus far and is hitting .231 this spring.

Dobbs turns 36 on July 2nd and hit just .228 last season and .208 (10 for 48) as a pinch hitter. Dobbs hit .275 and .285 his first two seasons with the Marlins.

"He understands what he has to do to prepare himself and get himself ready to play," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's been a while since he's played in a regular game. But Dobber knows how to hit. So I'm not too worried about him."

> Redmond said the Marlins will officially announce the rest of the starting rotation (only Jose Fernandez's start on Opening Night has been declared) after left-hander Brad Hand pitches in Thursday's game against the Cardinals in Jupiter. At this point it would be very surprising if the rotation after Fernandez wasn't Nathan Eovaldi, Henderson Alvarez, Jacob Turner and Tom Koehler.

> It's looking more and more like Marcell Ozuna might be the Marlins' Opening Day center fielder after all. Ozuna, hitting just .180 this spring entering Wednesday's game, has been having "much better at bats... over the last week to 10 days," according to Redmond.

Ozuna had the game-winning RBI double in Tuesday's 6-5 victory over the Cardinals and is 4-for-13 (.307) over his last four games with a pair of home runs and four RBI. He's struckout 16 times this spring and walked eight times.

While the Marlins are happy Ozuna has drawn those walks, they also would like to see 23-year old slugger be a little more aggressive and not take fastballs he should be swinging at. 

"Sometimes for young guys spring training can be tough because you're working on stuff too. Not only are guys competing and trying to win spots, but they're also working on their games, trying to tighten up their swings," Redmond said.

"Sometimes it takes a little bit to get going. His at-bats have been much better. We just want to continue to see him be aggressive at the plate. That's the big thing for him."

> Second baseman Rafael Furcal (hamstring) remained in Jupiter Wednesday and played in a minor league game for the third day in a row. Redmond said Furcal was scheduled to play five innings of defense, the first time he's done so since aggravating his hamstring on March 15.

Mike Hill, President of Baseball Operations, said Tuesday the Marlins still hadn't made a decision yet if Furcal will begin the season on the disabled list or not.

"He says its feeling better," Redmond said of Furcal's hamstring."But still at the end of the day, he hasn't played that much. We'll see how he feels after the game today and have a plan of attack going forward the last few days of spring training."

Furcal has only had 18 Grapefruit League at-bats, and if he doesn't play in another spring game he would be eligible to come off the disabled list on April 5th -- after the Marlins' first five regular season games. But Hill said if the Marlins feel Furcal is close to returning they would get him into a Grapefruit League game.

The Marlins play the Cardinals Thursday in Jupiter and then close out the spring with back-to-back games in Tampa against the Yankees.

> Redmond said there's no reason to worry "right now" that shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (groin tightness) might not be ready for Opening Night. "He said he's feeling better," Redmond said. "So we'll see tomorrow how it is, how it's doing. We'll make sure he's feeling good [before putting him in another spring game]."

> Miami’s pitching staff comes into Wednesday's game with the lowest team ERA in the National League this spring at 3.35 (257.2 IP/96 ER), ahead of Pittsburgh (3.57). The staff has recorded a total of 219 strikeouts, second in the NL behind Chicago (230) and fifth overall behind Oakland (228), the Yankees (227) and Cleveland (223). Miami has the best road record among NL clubs, going 10-3 away from Jupiter. The team is also 6-2 in one-run games.

> The Marlins are scheduled to use LHP Mike Dunn, RHP Chris Hatcher, RHP Carlos Marmol and RHP Henry Rodriguez out of the bullpen today. Minor League RHP Justin Jackson is also available. Hatcher has yet to allow a run in nine innings this spring, striking out eight and walking just two in that time. Marmol has gone 5 1/3 innings this spring without allowing a run, and has two strikeouts in three of his five outings.


> Marlins (17-10-2): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Reed Johnson RF, 3. Marcell Ozuna CF, 4. Derek Dietrich 3B, 5. Jeff Baker 2B, 6. Greg Dobbs 1B, 7. Ed Lucas SS, 8. Jeff Mathis C, 9. Nathan Eovaldi RHP

> Braves (11-17-3): 1. Jason Heyward RF, 2. Tyler Pastornicky 2B, 3. Freddie Freeman 1B, 4. Chris Johnson 3B, 5. Justin Upton LF, 6. Ryan Doumit DH, 7. Evan Gattis C, 8. Andrelton Simmons SS, 9. Jordan Schafer CF, RHP Julio Teheran

March 17, 2014

Former first round picks Heaney, Moran among 17 cuts on Monday morning

JUPITER -- With their trip to Panama and a pair of split squad weekend games now behind them, several Marlins spent Monday morning sharing shopping carts as they moved their gloves, uniforms, bats and shoes from the big league clubhouse over to the minor league clubhouse.

Among the 17 players who picked up and moved out: 2012 first round pick and left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney, who at one point this season figures to find his way up to Marlins Park, and 2013 first round pick Colin Moran. Heaney gave up five hits and two earned runs over 7 2/3 innings this spring. He also walked two and struckout four. Moran went hitless in six at-bats this spring, but drew three walks and scored two runs against the Yankees.

Both were among 13 players reassigned  to minor league camp on Monday. The others: left-handers Adam Conley, Josh Spence, Greg Nappo and James Leverton; Rett Varner, right-handers Bryan Evans and Nick Wittgren; catcher Austin Barnes; infielders Danny Black and Mark Canha; and outfielder Joe Benson. 

Four others were optioned back to the minors. Right-hander Sam Dyson, left-hander Brian Flynn and catcher Rob Brantly to Triple A New Orleans and left-hander Edgar Olmos to Double A Jacksonville.

> Manager Mike Redmond said pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs (strained quad, last game March 11th), second baseman Rafael Furcal (hamstring, last played Saturday) and utility man Ed Lucas (hamstring, last played Thursday) will begin working their way back into the lineup after Wednesday's off day. Redmond said it's likely all three will begin getting at-bats in minor league games.

"I think we'll probably start out of them back out there. It's just easier to control the situation," Redmond said. "You don't have to have them run the bases if you don't want them to run the bases."

The Marlins are being careful with Furcal and will start him on a running program first, Redmond said. Is the team concerned he only had 18 at-bats this spring and might not be ready for the start of the season?

"I think it's a concern. I think we all talked about him being healthy. It's getting later in camp and he doesn't have a lot of at-bats," Redmond said. "At the same time too he's played a long time. I think he knows what it takes for him [to be ready]. I'm not as worried for him about the at-bats. I just want him to go out there and feel good and have his legs under him. I think that's the most important thing at this point."

> With a lot of pitchers scheduled to pitch Monday, Redmond said the team sent relievers Carlos Marmol and Mike Dunn to pitch in a minor league game so they could get their work in.

"We try to see different guys pitch over here in the stadium," Redmond said. "We obviously know what Dunn can do."


> Mets (8-9-2): 1. Matt den Dekker LF, 2 Ruben Tejada SS, 3. Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF, 4. Zach Lutz 1B, 5. Eric Campbell 3B, 6. Anthony Recker DH, 7. Juan Centeno C, 8. Anthony Seratelli RF, 9. Omar Quintanilla 2B. LHP John Lannan.

> Marlins (11-7-2): 1. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 2. Christian Yelich CF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Garrett Jones 1B, 5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 6. Jeff Baker 2B, 7. Marcell Ozuna LF, 8. Casey McGehee 3B, 9. Henderson Alvarez RHP.


March 13, 2014

Marlins to get first taste of new replay system -- albeit a little limited -- today vs. Tigers

LAKELAND -- The Marlins will play in their first instant replay game of the spring this afternoon against the Tigers. Just don't consider it a complete dress rehearsal.

Unlike during the regular season when umpires in New York's Replay Command Center will watch video of the play in question using the "indisputable video evidence" standard when deciding whether to overturn a call, somebody inside of a TV van parked outside Joker Marchant Stadium will be doing the reviewing this afternoon.

The camera angles used also won't be as good as during the regular season, Marlins manager Mike Redmond cautioned.

"We'll see how it goes," Redmond said. "It would be nice to have a play -- at least one play that we could review, get used to how we're going to do it during the season.

"I know this system is totally different than what we're going to have during the season. I can't really say it's a tune-up. It's basically exactly what we've been doing for the last two weeks just with the mechanics of being able to review a play. We still have limited camera angles. So we're kind of at the mercy of the trucks and whatever angle they get of the play. I think there's [been] a lot of inconclusive pictures so far [in other spring training games]. At least that's the way I've seen it."

Baseball's new adopted replay rules allow managers to make one challenge per game (two if the first challenge results in an overturned call) and allows umpires to initiate a review from the seventh inning on.

The Marlins will have video coordinator Cullen McCrae and newly hired administrative coach Pat Shine watching the game on a laptop this afternoon. When they feel the need to appeal a play they will use a walkie-talkie system to contact bench coach Rob Leary and tell him the team should challenge the play.

Here what is reviewable under the new rules: Ground-rule doubles; fan interference calls; boundary calls; force plays at all bases (except whether a middle infielder touched second base during the attempt to "turn" a double play); tag plays on the base paths (whether a runner was tagged or whether the runner touched a base); fair/foul calls on balls hit into the outfield; catch/trap calls on balls hit into the outfield; time plays (whether or not a run scored prior to the third out); whether a runner passed a preceding runner; scorekeeping issues (including the count, number of outs, score or substitutions).

Redmond said the Marlins plan on challenging anything they think they should and won't be saving their challenges for later innings.

"We've talked about it. My philosophy is going to be to use it," Redmond said. "If we can get a guy on base or get an out [we'll use it]. We talk about 27 outs. If we can get one of those outs using replay -- it doesn't matter if it's early in the game or mid game -- we're going to do it.

"I know they talked about saving challenges for the big plays. But you never know when the big plays are going to come. It could be in the first inning. It could be the first hitter of the game. You never know. But that's kind of going to be our philosophy. I'm sure they'll be some trial and error with this system. But it will be like that for everybody. I think we all hope it doesn't slow down the game and there's not games where there are four or five or six tough calls. Hopefully, like they say, we're only using this thing every four or five games."

There are four other games in which the team will have the expanded replay system available for us: Sunday at the Twins (Fort Myers), next Wednesday versus the Cardinals (Jupiter), March 23 at Detroit (Lakeland), and March 29 at Yankees (Tampa).

> Redmond said he expects infielder Jeff Baker, who strained his quad getting out of the batter's box on Monday, to play Friday night against the Mets in Jupiter. Second baseman Rafael Furcal (hamstring) will likely play Saturday in Jupiter if he doesn't have any setbacks, Redmond said. Both players were expected to go through full baseball activities for the first time Thursday. They hit in the batting cages and played catch in Jupiter on Wednesday. 

> Redmond said Reed Johnson, Brian Bogusevic, Donavan Solano and Greg Dobbs -- all bench players for the Marlins -- were participating in Triple A game Thursday in Jupiter to get extra at-bats. 

"It's a good way to get to get guys in there, get six, seven, eight, nine at-bats quickly without having to play defense," Redmodn said. "They can just go work on the offensive part of it."


> Marlins (8-4-2): 1. Jake Marisnick DH, 2. Christian Yelich LF, 3. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 4. Garrett Jones 1B, 5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 6. Casey McGehee 3B, 7. Marcell Ozuna CF, 8. Ed Lucas 2B, 9. Adeiny Hechavarria SS. RHP Jacob Turner.

> Tigers (7-6-2): 1. Rajai Davis LF, 2. Steve Lombardozzi 2B, 3. Miguel Cabrera 1B, 4. Torii Hunter DH, 5. Austin Jackson CF, 6. Steven Moya RF, 7. Danny Worth 3B, 8. Bryan Holaday C, 9. Eugenio Suarez SS. LHP Drew Smyly.

March 11, 2014

Mr. Versatility Ed Lucas makes way around Marlins infield as utility job competition heats up

FORT MYERS -- During his 10 years in the minors, Marlins utility man Ed Lucas made his way around to every position except catcher.

"In the minor leagues I always tried to talk my manager into one of those nine innings, nine position things," Lucas said. "We were in a pennant race so there was never a real good opportunity for me to do that."

In Monday's 11-1 win over the Mets, the 31-year old former Dartmouth standout did get to pull off something pretty cool -- albeit in a spring training game. He went around the horn for the Marlins, playing third, shortstop, second and first base over the final four innings. It's the first time in his career, Lucas said, that he's played more than three positions in the same game. It might also be the first time a Marlin has ever done it.

According to, only four players since 1914 have played all four infield positions in the same regular season game. And those four players actually played all nine positions in the same game. No player has ever played just the four infield positions in the same game, in other words.

The players who lined up at all nine positions in the same game: Shane Halter, 2000 (Detroit); Scott Sheldon, 2000 (Texas); Cesar Tovar, 1968 (Minnesota); Bert Campaneris, 1965 (Kansas City).

"[Ty] Wigginton told me he played five [positions] in one game," said Lucas, who usually carries four gloves with him to games (middle infield, third base, first base and outfield). "I have a catchers glove but hopefully I wont use that."

There were times in the minors Lucas said he considered "shutting it down." But last year he got his call-up with the Marlins and is making the most of it now.

Although manager Mike Redmond expects Lucas and Donovan Solano to be in a dog fight for the Marlins' utility job through the end of the spring, it's pretty evident Lucas' ability to both play first base and be the team's emergency catcher gives him a bit of a leg up in the competition. Redmond joked Tuesday that Lucas could even pitch if needed.

Both Lucas and Solano came into Tuesday's game against the Red Sox swinging hot bats this spring. Solano is hitting .375 (6 for 16, 3 doubles, 2 RBI). Lucas is hitting .353 (6 for 17, 1 HR, 4 RBI).

"That's going to be a long, tough [decision] at the end," Redmond said. "But that's good. Those are the kind of decisions we want to have to make. We want guys to come in and make the most of their opportunities and make it tough on us to make a decision. I think every manager would say that."

Redmond said the Marlins know Lucas can play short and wanted to get a better look at Solano there this spring.Lucas played short in six games last year for the Marlins, starting three. He saw most of his action at third base (61 games, 56 starts).

Solano played at short in five games back in 2012. He spent most of last year at second (93 games, 92 starts). Solano said shortstop is his natural position and it's where he spent the majority of his nine minor league seasons (387 games, .951 fielding percentage).

"When [Rafael Furcal] signed the organization told me what they think about me," Solano said. "I've just come to camp this spring with the attitude I had in 2012 when nobody knew about me. I just want to play hard, put my [jersey] number on and play good."

> Redmond said Monday's injuries to Furcal (hamstring) and infielder Jeff Baker (upper quad) aren't bad. 

"I think they both came in [Tuesday] feeling better than anticipated so that's good for us," Redmond said. "They're going to be day-to-day. We'll get them the out there moving around the next couple days. We'll see how they progress.

"This is the time of spring training, those first couple weeks, that two-to-three week period where guys start getting banged up a little bit. We want to monitor that, keep all our guys healthy. We have time to get these guys at-bats and do what we need to do to get them ready for Opening Day. We don't want to push them until they are physically ready to go out there and play."

Neither player was scheduled to head to Panama this coming weekend to face the Yankees. So it's likely they'll be playing in Jupiter if they're healthy. 

"We got a lot of games coming up this weekend with us going to Panama and everything," Redmond said. "It would be nice to see them back out there and playing. We'll just wait and see. We're not going to push them."


> Marlins (7-3-2): 1. Donovan Solano SS, 2. Christian Yelich LF, 3. Marcell Ozuna CF, 4. Derek Dietrich 2B, 5. Casey McGehee 3B, 6. Brian Bogusevic RF, 7. Ed Lucas 1B, 8. Greg Dobbs DH, 9. Rob Brantly C. LHP Brian Flynn

> Red Sox (4-7-1): 1. Grady Sizemore CF, 2. Dustin Pedroia 2B, 3. David Ortiz DH, 4. Mike Napoli 1B, 5. Jonny Gomes LF, 6. Xander Bogarts SS, 7. David Ross C, 8. Bryce Brentz RF, 9. Jonathan Herrera 3B. RHP John Lackey.

March 08, 2014

Former Braves pinch-hitter Reed Johnson ready to face his old team

LAKE BUENA VISTA -- The Marlins get their first look at the reigning National League East champion Braves today at ESPN's Wide World of Sports.

For veteran outfielder Reed Johnson it's sort of a homecoming. Reed spent the last two seasons with the Braves and tasted the playoffs for the first time in his career last year.

A non-roster invitee at Marlins camp, Johnson, 37, has to overcome some odds to make the Marlins 25-man roster. The team traded Justin Ruggiano for Brian Bogusevic, who is most likely going to win the fourth outfielder spot.

But Johnson has value. While his overall offensive numbers weren't particularly strong in 2013 (.244, 1 HR, 11 RBI in 74 games), Johnson did perform well as a pinch-hitter. He batted .297 with an .801 OPS in 44 pinch-hit at-bats.

Reed admires what the Marlins young outfield looks like and thinks the team is in for a good season.

"Being in the East last year in Atlanta I got to see them quite a bit," Reed said. "To see those guys from the beginning of the year to the end of last year it was like night and day. It's a team you didn't really want to face. With the pitching staff they had and then having a lead late in the seventh inning with Dunn, Qualls and Cishek to close out the game. It made it tough."


Baseball's new instant replay system has been used in several Grapefruit and Cactus League games already, but the Marlins have yet to play in a game where replay has been available. They will Thursday, though, when they travel to Lakeland to face the Tigers.

It's the first of five "replay games" for the Marlins. The others: March 16 at Twins, March 20 vs.  Cardinals, March 23 at Tigers, and March 29 at the Yankees.

In Friday's 7-3 win over the Cardinals back in Jupiter, the Marlins had a bit of a controversial play that could have used instant replay help. In the fourth inning, Jeff Mathis hit a ball off the wall near the right field line. Umpires first ruled it foul. But after manager Mike Redmond ran out on the field, the umpires convened and decided to award Mathis a double.

"We've talked about going out there at times if there is a play that's really close, whether it is a replay game or not," Redmond said. "Just to get used to going out there and the mechanics of [challenging]. That just seemed like a perfect time to go out and see what they saw on that play.

"They were going to meet anyway. I think somebody saw it and knew that was the right call, and they got it right. I think the umpires want to get the calls right. If one of them sees it, I don't think they're afraid to overturn it. They want to get them right. And that's good."

> In order to avoid facing the Mets in back-to-back outings, Redmond said Jose Fernandez will skip his next scheduled start Monday and pitch in a simulated game back in Jupiter.

Right-hander Kevin Slowey, who has faced the Mets in both of his spring appearances, will pitch in a B game against the Mets to also avoid facing their regulars again.

Left-hander Brad Hand will start opposite Bartolo Colin in the regularly scheduled game against the Mets at 1 p.m. in Port St. Lucie.

"We can control the situation back there and the number of pitches and get the exact number of pitches we want out of him," Redmond explained of Fernandez, the Marlins' scheduled Opening Day starter. "There's really no reason for him to go and face the Mets again. He'll get plenty of opportunities to do that during the season. And Slowey too. It just worked out that staying with the rotation he's faced the Mets every single time. We can pitch Slowey in a B game. He gets his pitches. We know what he can do."


> Marlins (6-2-1): 1. Donovan Solano 2B, 2. Reed Johnson RF, 3. Marcell Ozuna CF, 4. Jeff Baker 1B, 5. Casey McGehee 3B, 6. Ty Wigginton DH, 7. Brian Bogusevic LF, 8. Ed Lucas SS, 9. Rob Brantly C. RHP Jacob Turner

> Braves (2-6): 1. Jason Heyward RF, 2. B.J. Upton CF, 3. Justin Upton LF, 4. Ryan Doumit C, 5. Gerald Laird DH, 6. Ernesto Mejia 1B, 7. Tommy La Stella 2B, 8. Ramiro Pena SS, 9. Philip Gosselin 3B. RHP Freddy Garcia.

February 27, 2014

Samson's quick exit on Survivor stunned Marlins

JUPITER -- Marlins closer Steve Cishek was looking forward to watching Survivor this season.

Not anymore. 

Marlins President David Samson was the first of 18 castaways on the reality TV show to get voted off the island by his peers Wednesday night -- just an hour into the 28th season's debut show.

Although many Marlins players say they don't watch the show regularly or even at all, a few said they did tune in Wednesday to see how Samson would do. 

"It was quick," relief pitcher Chris Hatcher said. "I never really watched Survivor, but I thought he would have lasted a little longer than that.

"I was actually prepping my taxes a little bit, getting ready. When Samson spoke I would listen a little bit, but other than that I really didn't watch. I just saw him get voted off.

"Honestly, what's the key to the show? Is it MacGyver skills? Is it knowledge? Is it brute strength? I couldn't figure it out. If it's internal politics I'd be the first one out too."

Samson got to the island and was quickly elected his team’s leader. But it didn't take him long to lose support and be dubbed "a schemer."

After being eliminated, Samson said he “had no hard feelings” and that he played the game as he thought it should be played. “I consider myself the luckiest guy in the world," he said.

"When I watched the show it looked like there were other people I would have voted off," pitcher Tom Koehler said. "But there's other things that happen that you don't really see. There's obviously a reason he was the one to go home. Some of them said he was the biggest threat for them going forward. I guess that's why they got rid of him right away."

Cishek said seeing Samson get voted off "drove me nuts."

"I don't know if I'll watch it again," Cishek said. "That other guy was just sitting in his underwear with a majestic background. You could hear in the interview he didn't even want to be there. He wanted to be fed grapes while lounging. Samson was right from the start.

"I can't believe that other girl made it through two rounds. She's a nuclear physicist and she can't even put two blocks together. It's kind of ridiculous. Put me on Wipe Out or something where I can control my own destiny."

> Manager Mike Redmond said pitcher Henderson Alvarez, who had an infection in his right shin drained recently, looked better on Thursday and was walking around camp without his crutches. "I take that as a positive sign," Redmond said.

> Right-hander Angel Sanchez, the lone remaining piece in the Ricky Nolasco trade with the Dodgers, didn't give up any runs over two innings in Wednesday's start against the University of Miami. But he wasn't exactly happy with his effort.

Sanchez struckout two, but walked a batter, gave up two hits and made a fielding error.

"Physically I felt good. The only thing was I wasn't too happy," he said. "I thought I could have done better. I could have had better focus when I was pitching. I could have looked better fielding on the mound. But in the end I did my job. I didn't let anyone touch home plate. I was just working on my breaking pitches, hitting the strike zone and putting my fastball through the strike zone."

Sanchez is expected to begin the season in Double A Jacksonville.


> Marlins: 1. Donovan Solano SS, 2. Derek Dietrich 2B, 3. Marcell Ozuna CF, 4. Jeff Baker 3B, 5. Greg Dobbs 1B, 6. Ty Wigginton DH, 7. Reed Johnson LF, 8. Matt Angle RF, 9. Kyle Skipworth C, LHP Justin Nicolino.

> FIU: 1. Tyler Hibbert CF, 2. Julius Gaines SS, 3. Aramis Garcia C, 4. Josh Anderson 3B, 5. Edwin Rios 2B, 6. J.C. Escarra 1B, 7. Louis Silverio RF, 8. Roche Woodard LF, 9. Chris May DH. RHP Chris Mourelle.

September 12, 2013

Redmond says it's time to move on and focus should be on Jose Fernandez's bid for Rookie of the Year

A day after saying his young ace "ruined the night" for hot-dogging his first career home run in his last start of the season, Marlins manager Mike Redmond said Thursday it's time to move on and the focus should be on Jose Fernandez's bid to earn National League Rookie of the Year honors. 

"He's a young kid and he's going to be one of the top pitchers in this league for a long time. You want your pitchers and players to be judged for the way they pitch and the way they compete, not the theatrics," Redmond said.

"Unfortunately for him what gets overshadowed by last night is the year that he's had and how dominant he's really gone out there and pitched. We should be talking about him for rookie of the year. For me he is. We should be talking about how great a year he had as a pitcher and rookie of the year instead of what we are."

Redmond took some criticism from the public and a few MLB analysts for being too harsh on his best player.

"Everybody has their opinion and if you're only watching two clips of that game than I can see how they can say whatever they want," Redmond said. "But if you're around here and this clubhouse every single day... I think the important thing is we're a young team, 30 games under, we're teaching guys to respect the game and play the game the right way. That's a teaching moment, learning moment for Jose. I know he understands where I'm coming from and where his teammates are coming from and that's it."

Fernandez, who apologized profusely after the game Wednesday for embarrassing his teammates and coaches, admitted he was a little too amped up. After the benches cleared and play returned to normal, he said several of his teammates took him into the batting cage area underneath the stadium to talk to him.

"For sure, I can promise 120 percent that will never ever happen again," Fernandez said. "No matter what happens in the game, I'll never show anybody up. To me that's embarrassing."

Closer Steve Cishek said the situation was also addressed in the clubhouse after the game.

"He's a competitor and you want to play around anyone that is like that," Cishek said. "Every single game he's gone out there he's been fiery, yelling at himself, whatever it is to get himself going. He's fun to watch. Like I said before, he's good kid, but let one get away from him, got a little too excited. It happens. He's going to learn from it, we're going to learn from it and we're all going to move on."

Cishek there is no doubt in his mind Fernandez should be the rookie of the year.

"I'm not disappointed. He was unbelievable this year," Cishek said. "If you've ever seen him throw a bullpen we knew he was going to be good. But we never expected, I don't anybody knew it was going to be ridiculous like this. He was outstanding all year. It's no surprise he finished it well or that he capped it off with a homer. It's all he tries to do in pitcher's [batting practice] anyway.

"Everyone is not going to be puppy dogs out there and he has that little extra gear. But like I said he's young. You see a lot of young guys lose it out there. But like I said before I guarantee you he'll learn from this and it will be forgotten about."

> With Nathan Eovaldi getting scratched from his scheduled start Thursday and his back still tight, the Marlins are moving their rotation around before opening a four-game series Friday against the Mets.

Left-hander Brad Hand (1-9, 4.54 ERA in his career) will make his first start of the season Friday. Right-handers Henderson Alvarez and Jacob Turner will pitch in Saturday's double-header. New York native Tom Koehler will pitch Sunday. The Marlins still haven't decided who will start Monday when the team heads to Philadelphia. 


> Braves (87-58): 1. Elliot Johnson LF, 2. Justin Upton RF, 3. Freddie Freeman 1B, 4. Evan Gattis C, 5. Chris Johnson 3B, 6. Andrelton Simmons SS, 7. Dan Uggla 2B, 8. B.J. Upton CF, 9. Freddy Garcia RHP.

> Marlins (54-9): 1. Chris Coghlan LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Christian Yelich CF, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Logan Morrison 1B, 6. Ed Lucas 3B, 7. Adeiny Hechavarria SS, 8. Rob Brantly C, 9. Brian Flynn LHP.

August 17, 2013

Excitement over Monday's Jose Fernandez-Yasiel Puig showdown already spilling into Marlins clubhouse

The Marlins and Giants played a 24-run slugfest Friday night and still have two games left to play, but the focus has already begun to shift to Monday when the red-hot Dodgers come to town.

That's the night National League Rookie of the Year candidates and Cuban-born stars Yasiel Puig and Jose Fernandez will face off against each other here in Little Havana. Puig is being made available to the media before the game Monday and there will be plenty of reporters here to talk to him.

Fernandez? He's doing his best not to make too much of the showdown.

"I'm not facing Yasiel Puig on Monday," Fernandez said, correcting a local Spanish station TV reporter in the clubhouse Saturday. "I'm facing a good lineup. Puig is one of the best hitters. They got a lot of guys, a lot of All-Stars and good players that have been playing well. I'm really looking forward to it and doing a good job, trying to get a W for my team."

Do you keep track of other guys in the NL Rookie of the Year race, Jose?

"I keep track of every five days when I've got to pitch. That's what I keep track of," Fernandez said. "I don't really mind what other people are doing. As long as we're winning, that's what I care about.

"The only thing I know and can tell the fans is I'm going to give 100 percent and I'm going to try to make sure we win."

At last check, StubHub still had 789 tickets available for $9.95. That's a pretty good deal to come watch two of the most exciting young players in the game face each other -- and a red-hot Dodgers team take on the Marlins.


Third baseman Placido Polanco said Saturday he is still "a little off balance" after being hit in the back of the head by a fastball in the eighth inning Friday. Manager Mike Redmond said he's not going to play Polanco Saturday, but is hopeful he could be available Sunday.

"The trainer asked me a real tough question: What day was it? That's a question we don't even know when we're OK," Polanco joked Saturday.

"According to what I feel it should be a day or two. If I would have a headache today or worse that would be bad. But I don't."

Back when he was with the Tigers in 2006, Polanco was struck in the face by an Esteban Loaiza pitch. It kept him out a week. "That was worse," Polanco said.


Even though he smacked two home runs -- his first two of the season at home -- and drove in four runs Friday, the suddenly-hot Justin Ruggiano isn't in the Marlins lineup Saturday.

"I don't think anything," Ruggiano said when asked if he was surprised not to be in the lineup. "I think Redmond had my back when I was 0-for-a-month. I have all the respect in the world for him. The patience he had with me when I was going through a rut. I have so much respect for him and how he handled it when I was doing nothing. The decision he makes the rest of the year, whenever I'm always going to have his back with whoever he puts out there."

Redmond, who is starting rookie Jake Marisnick in center to get him more playing time, laughed when he was asked why Ruggiano wasn't in the lineup.

"It's funny because when he was 0-for-38 you guys thought I was crazy when I batted him in front of Stanton," Redmond said. "Now, he's 6-for-8 and you're wondering why I'm not playing him. It's funny. He's swinging the bat good. Hopefully he'll get a hit coming off the bench. Jake is a young guy. We want him to get out there and get time."

> Although pitcher Nate Eovaldi said he didn't think he was tipping his pitches after giving up a career-high 12 hits and nine earned runs in Friday's loss, Redmond said there were "a couple little things" the Giants "could or couldn't pick up" on. Redmond said pitching coach Chuck Hernandez has already told Eovaldi about them to make sure he doesn't repeat it in his next start.

"It's always good to stay on top of guys' mechanics so they're relentless in their consistencies and deliveries and glove placement, how they take signs. It's definitely something every guy needs to be aware," Redmond said. "Chuck and [bullpen coach] Reed [Cornelius] are relentless on that stuff, watching video and making sure guys are consistent."

> Redmond was happy with the one shutout inning of work rookie right-hander Arquimedes Caminero delivered Friday night and reiterated control will be the most important thing for him. Caminero plunked a batter when a slider got away from him, but came back and struckout the final hitter he faced.

"You have to have off-speed pitches, whether it be a slider or split finger," Redmond said. "As you can see, fastballs get hit really hard in the big leagues. Although we'd love to say you could throw 98 at the knees and get somebody out, you definitely got to have a reliable off-speed pitch, breaking ball you can go to. That's what's going to make him successful because you can't always rely on the fastball -- especially against experienced hitters. That's just something he's going to have to continue to work on."


> Giants (54-67): 1. Marco Scutaro 2B, 2. Brandon Crawford SS, 3. Brandon Belt 1B, 4. Buster Posey C, 5. Hunter Pence RF, 6. Pablo Sandoval 3B, 7. Roger Kieschnick RF, 8. Gregor Blanco CF, 9. Matt Cain RHP.

> Marlins (46-74): 1. Christian Yelich LF, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Giancarlo Stanton, 4. Logan Morrison, 5. Ed Lucas, 6. Adeiny Hechavarria, 7. Jake Marisnick, 8. Koyie Hill, 9. Henderson Alvarez RHP.

August 07, 2013

Double-A LHP Andrew Heaney's scoreless streak snapped Tuesday in no-hit loss

Andrew Heaney has had a spectacular July that was recognized Wednesday when he was named the Marlins' Minor League Pitcher of the Month.

But his 33-inning scoreless streak came to an emphatic halt Tuesday night as did Double A Jacksonville's 11-game winning streak when the Suns were no-hit by Cubs prospect Eric Jokisch.

Heaney gave up three runs on four hits in the first and ended up yielding five earned runs in a start that lasted only three innings. It was the first runs given up by Heaney since June 29.

Second baseman Avery Romero, the Marlins' third-round pick in 2012, was named the Marlins Minor League Player of the Month.

The start of Wednesday's game was delayed due to rain.


Redmond said first baseman Casey Kotchman, out since June 9 with a strained left oblique, was close to playing some rehab games.

Starting lineups

Marlins (43-68): Yelich lf, Lucas 3b, Stanton rf, Morrison 1b, Solano 2b, Hechavarria ss, Marisnick cf, Brantly c, Koehler rhp.

Pirates (68-44): Marte lf, Walker 2b, McCutchen cf, Alvarez 3b, Martin c, Jones 1b, Harrison rf, Mercer ss, Morton rhp.