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Saturday update: Marlins; Crowder on Fins and more

 Ten notes on a Saturday:

 ### The Marlins’ pitching problems have been compounded by the fact that several prospects stalled this year in the minors – with Brad Hand among the exceptions. Alex Sanabia, now with the big-league team, was sidelined most of the season with a right forearm injury and pitched only 21 2/3 innings in Triple A, going 0-3 with a 7.89 ERA.

Lefty Sean West, who the Marlins thought would be in the rotation by now, was 5-8 with a 5.59 ERA in Triple A New Orleans, allowing 149 base-runners in 87 innings. The Marlins certainly aren’t counting on him at this point.

Eli Villanueva and Tom Koehler, who both pitched well at Double A last season, had tougher times in Triple A. Villanueva went 7-11 with a 5.35 ERA, with 258 base-runners allowed in 165 innings. Koehler went 12-7 with a 4.97 ERA, with 223 base-runners allowed in 150 innings.

### Lefty Chad James, the Marlins’ No. 1 pick in 2009, won five of his last seven decisions after an 0-13 start, at Single A Jupiter. He had a 3.80 ERA but allowed 224 base-runners in 149 innings. Omar Poveda, acquired in the 2009 Jorge Cantu trade with Texas, had some good moments at Double A (8-6, 4.32).

### One bright spot was left fielder Christian Yelich, the team’s 2010 first-round pick who hit .312 with 15 homers and 77 RBI at Greensboro, a low-level Class A team.

### Channing Crowder, cut by Miami in July, said the Dolphins shouldn’t expect Reggie Bush to get a lot of yardage running between the tackles. He’s a “glorified receiver,” Crowder said on his WQAM show Friday. Still, Crowder predicted Miami will go 10-6.
FYI: Bush’s 294 receptions are the most for an NFL running back since 2006.

### One Dolphins defensive player insists the offensive line has run-blocked much better in practice than it did in the preseason games against Atlanta and Tampa Bay, when the running game was awful. We can only hope.

 “We have a chance to be a great offensive line,” Pro Bowler Jake Long insisted Friday. “Mike Pouncey is doing a great job.”

Even though Long hasn’t played in preseason, he said he won’t be rusty because “practice is pretty much at the same speed.”

### Encouraging: Chad Henne, who completed only 10 of 40 passes thrown over 20 yards last season, finished the preseason with seven passing plays of 20 yards or more (fourth in the league) and two of 40 yards or more (second in the league). Yes, he failed to hit a couple of deep balls in the Carolina game, but there was progress.

### Henne’s career numbers in six games against New England: 58.6 completion percentage (less than his 61.1 career mark), four touchdowns and five interceptions.

### If history is any indication, look for lots of Henne-to-Davone Bess on Monday. Three of the top four receiving-yardage performances by Bess have come against the Patriots (117, 96 and 87 yards).

### Sparano has had his team study last year’s special-teams breakdowns against New England, when Brandon Tate (who was cut last week by New England) returned a kickoff 103 yards, Patrick Chung blocked a Brandon Fields punt, and Kyle Arrington returned a blocked Dan Carpenter field goal for a touchdown. All three happened in the Patriots’ 41-14 win Oct. 4 in Miami.

 “At some point” on Monday, Sparano said, “they’ll try to see if we fixed it.”

Sparano believes his special teams are better, but “it’s kind of put up or shut up.” In particular, Sparano loves how Nolan Carroll, Jimmy Wilson and Jason Trusnik are doing on special teams.

### Ex-Dolphins quarterback Pat White’s football career appears over - or close to it - after he was cut by his UFL team last week.




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