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McIntosh visits Dolphins; suspension for Oviedo; Fins, Heat notes

Sunday night update: Redskins free agent linebacker Rocky McIntosh visited the Dolphins on Sunday night, agent Drew Rosenhaus said on his weekly segment on WSVN-Fox 7.

McIntosh, 29, has played all six of his NFL seasons with the Redskins, logging time at both inside and outside linebacker. At 6-2 and 242 pounds, he isn't much of a pass-rusher, with just eight career sacks.

A second-round pick out of the University of Miami in 2006, McIntosh had a career-high 110 tackles in 2010.

He started 59 of the 61 games that he appeared in from 2007 through 2010. But he lost his starting job to Perry Riley in Week 10 last season and finished the year with 65 tackles and one sack.

The Dolphins brought in free agent linebacker Philip Wheeler last weekend, but he signed with Oakland Friday night. If McIntosh signs, he likely would compete with Koa Misi for a starting job.

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Good thing the Marlins signed Heath Bell this winter, because they will not be seeing Juan Carlos Oviedo (the closer formerly known as Leo Nunez) anytime soon.

Even when he’s finally able to resolve his visa issues, more bad news awaits Oviedo when he returns to the United States. According to a source, Major League Baseball intends to suspend him for six weeks after his removal from MLB’s restricted list. Several people already have been informed of the suspension.

To escape the restricted list, Oviedo first must get a visa, which is probably inevitable but hasn’t happened yet. Oviedo was banished to the Dominican Republic and placed on the restricted list last September when it was discovered he used a fake name and age. He said he falsified his identity when he was young so that he could play professionally.

When he recently tried to secure a visa, he was told he must first complete community service in the Dominican Republic. He eventually will be brought back for another interview as part of the visa application process.

If he had obtained the visa in March, MLB intended to suspend him for two weeks of spring training and six weeks of the regular season. The Marlins are off the hook for his $6 million salary as long as he’s on the restricted list or suspended. Without Oviedo, they will use Edward Mujica as their primary set-up man. Oviedo converted 36 of 42 save chances last year, with a 4.06 ERA.


###  A few Marlins observations raised during my discussion with two scouts and astute MLB Network analyst and former Indians GM John Hart: The scouts said Hanley Ramirez has looked good at third this spring and ultimately might profile better there than at shortstop. “If Hanley is engaged, he still falls into the elite talent category,” Hart said. “What he hasn’t proven is that he’s a real good team player.’’…

Hart said “Heath Bell’s stuff was a tick down last year,” but a scout said he has thrown well this spring. Both scouts raved about reliever Steve Cishek. “He was throwing 93, and under-handers don’t throw with that kind of velocity. Very impressive.”… Everyone expects more from Ricky Nolasco. One scout questioned his focus, and why he “falls in love with a certain pitch and ignores one of his others.” Said Hart: “He gave up way too many hits last year for the kind of stuff he has.”

Carlos Zambrano’s control issues have been troublesome, but his velocity has encouraged scouts. “He’s a risk worth taking; you live with the baggage,” Hart said, adding that “Mark Buehrle will pitch with below average stuff, but he does all the little things a winning pitcher does.’’…. Hart said the Phillies’ starting pitching gives them the edge in the division and ranks the Marlins’ rotation between 8th and 12th among the 30 teams….

“The thing I really like,” Hart said, “is how dynamic they are at the top of the order with Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio. It’s disruptive, game-changing speed. The Braves and Phillies don’t have that.” Marlins special assistant Jeff Conine said Reyes and Bonifacio “are faster and will potentially steal more bases than Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo did when they created havoc” on the 2003 World Series team.


The Dolphins will check out UM draft prospects on Wednesday and Thursday, which reminds us that they have selected only two Hurricanes in the past 20 drafts (Yatil Green in 1997 and Vernon Carey in 2004). “It’s mind-boggling,” Ed Reed said at UM’s Hall of Fame inductions Thursday. “We’re right here!” Bryant McKinnie said. “You would think they would know us better than anybody.”

If the Dolphins sign McIntosh, he would be the only Hurricanes player on the roster - for now - because Carey is not expected to return.

The Dolphins insist they have no objection to drafting UM players, and they are believed to like a few departing Canes, including receiver Tommy Streeter.

Keep in mind this is a franchise that took John Jerry at 73 over Jimmy Graham (who went 95th) in 2010 when Bill Parcells mistakenly thought he could draft Graham in the fourth round; Jamar Fletcher (26) over Reggie Wayne (30) in 2001; selected Jason Allen 16th and traded the 51st pick for Daunte Culpepper in 2006 (instead of signing Drew Brees), thus eliminating any chance of drafting Devin Hester (57) or Eric Winston (66); and took Anthony Alabi over Chris Myers in 2005, among other moves. Choosing solid pro Daryl Gardener at 20 instead of Ray Lewis (26) in 1996 would have been regrettable if Jimmy Johnson hadn’t found a gem in Zach Thomas at No. 154 that year.

McKinnie said he, Reed and Jeremy Shockey used to talk about finishing their careers with the Dolphins, but “the Dolphins wouldn’t do that. In college, we all said we would take pay cuts to come to the Dolphins.”

McKinnie said he doubts that would happen now. "I don't know what direction this team is going in," McKinnie said.

Miami didn’t try to sign McKinnie or Shockey when they were free agents last year, opting for Marc Colombo and Jeron Mastrud. Wayne would have considered the Dolphins last month, “but it didn’t seem like they wanted me.”

### Several coaches gave a strong endorsement to Dolphins draft possibility Ryan Tannehill at last week’s NFL owners meetings, and ESPN’s Todd McShay said Friday: “I don’t think the difference between Robert Griffin and Tannehill is all that big. He has everything you look for in a future franchise quarterback if you develop him properly and you’re patient.”

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Tannehill “has shown NFL-style throws. You can make a good evaluation there. RG3 will really challenge the evaluations, because [Baylor was] not an NFL style offense.”… The Dolphins this week will resume talks with Titans free agent starting guard Jake Scott, who is very interested if Miami makes a decent offer.... GM Jeff Ireland told NFL.com that Miami made only one offer to a player who signed with another team: Matt Flynn. So why bring in Eric Winston, Mark Anderson, etc. and not even make offers? Unless there are health issues (and Winston was coming off an injury), why wouldn't you at least make an offer to proven quality players? Those two got big money elsewhere: Winston with the Chiefs, Anderson with the Bills.

### Even if Joel Anthony remains the Heat’s starting center, expect Ronny Turiaf to play comparable minutes on a lot of nights. Remember, the Heat played very well for a stretch with Turiaf alongside the four non-center starters against Dallas.

Turiaf, a solid defender, has shot 8-for-11 since signing here and also is a better rebounder than Anthony: 13.6 boards per 48 minutes so far, compared with Anthony’s 8.6. 

Of course, Erik Spoelstra loves Anthony’s skills as a screener and as a team and individual defender. With Anthony alongside the four other starters, that lineup ranks third in the league in plus/minus, behind – oddly enough – the Phoenix and Indiana starting units. But Anthony’s substandard rebounding numbers are difficult to overlook.

### And what about Eddy Curry? He hasn’t earned enough trust from the staff and said the lack of playing time (50 minutes all season) has been frustrating. “But I’m on a great team, so I can’t really complain. I still have a long way to go.” His offensive game “is still there” but coaches told him he must improve pick-and-roll defense.

### FIU’s Isiah Thomas, 26-65 in three seasons, told me he has no intention of giving up and trying another job. “You’re not going to come to a program like this and win in a year,” he said. “Normally it takes four or five years. The first year, I gave FIU my salary. Indiana’s Tom Crean is helping me a lot. I like what I’m doing and [athletic director] Pete Garcia has been great.”