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40 posts from July 2010

July 31, 2010

Marlins Get LH Reliever Will Ohman in Trade With O's

   The Marlins bolstered their bullpen at the trade deadline on Saturday by acquiring left-handed reliever Will Ohman from the Baltimore Orioles for minor-league pitcher Rick VandenHurk.

   Ohman, now in his eighth big-league season, gives the Marlins a veteran presence in the bullpen. In 51 appearances for the Orioles this season, Ohman has a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings. Lefties are batting .226 against him.Ohman Of particular interest to the Marlins: against Ohman, Washington's Adam Dunn is 3 for 18 while Philadelphia's Ryan Howard is 4 for 18 with a home run.

   Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said the deal was completed within the final hour of the 4 p.m. deadline.

   "We wanted to add a second lefty to go with (Taylor Tankersley) out in the pen," Beinfest said. "Ohman fit the bill. Experienced, and he's been real tough on lefties, and he's battle-tested. Really, since we did the trade with (Jorge Cantu) on Thursday, we've only had discussions about trying to add to the team, specifically to the bullpen. We have some ground to make up, but we believe in them."

   The Marlins have been interested in Ohman for several years. They will pick up the remainder of his salary for this season, or about $475,000.

   "He's aggressive, he's experienced," Beinfest said. "He's been in this division before with the Braves and we thought it was a good fit. As far as Vandy goes, still a lot of potential there. Great kid. We really didn't see an opportunity for him in the near future, so hopefully this will be a good fit for him moving forward."

   Beinfest said he is hopeful that Ohman can join the team in San Diego in time for Sunday's afternoon game. The Orioles are playing in Kansas City.

   Over his career, Ohman is 11-9 with a 4.44 ERA. In 261 career innings, he has struck out 255 and walked 132.

   VandenHurk has been up and down with the Marlins. He was 8-4 with a 4.68 ERA at Triple A New Orleans this season.

   "It takes a depth a little bit," Beinfest said of starting pitching within the organization. "Obviously we have (Sean) West, who is ready to go. Andrew Miller has really improved in Double A. (Alex) Sanabia is here. We have Elih Villanueva. So there's still is some depth."

July 30, 2010

Cody Ross Says if Marlins Trade Him, They Would Be "Cashing It In" on Season

  There are reports galore about teams contacting the Marlins about center fielder Cody Ross with Saturday's 4 p.m. (EDT) deadline looming. But Ross said he doubts he'll be traded and, that if he is, it would be a sure sign the Marlins are throwing in the towel on the season.

   "I think I'm staying," Ross said, "unless they want to cash it in for the season. That (trading Ross for prospects the way Jorge Cantu was the day before) would be cashing it in. It's fair to say. We're showing signs of life and you neverknow, these last last two months we could turn it around."

  Actually, teams were contacting the Marlins about Ross weeks ago.

  Marlins general manager Mike Hill said he and president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest spoke to every club in the majors on Friday "just to make sure we haven't missed anything."

  CANTU'S REPLACEMENT? THIRD BASEMAN BY COMMITTEE....With Cantu now gone, manager Edwin Rodriguez said he planned to give the bulk of the playing time at third base to Wes Helms and try to play Hector Luna -- called up Friday from Triple A New Orleans -- two or three starts per week. Rodriguez said Luna is about equal defensively to Helms.

  COGHLAN RE-EXAMINED.....The Marlins are continuing to hold out hope that Chris Coghlan can return to action without having to undergo surgery on his injured left knee before the end of the season. Coghlan saw another doctor on Friday in South Florida. Rodriguez said it could be about a week before the Marlins know for certain whether Coghlan needs surgery. If he doesn't, it could be three to four weeks before he's back in uniform. If Coghlan doesn't have surgery, he'll be sent to the minors for rehab work, not only for his swing, but to work out at third base. That's the position where the Marlins have him targeted. Rodriguez said Coghlan could become average defensively at third. His weakness: side-to-side range.


  Marlins: 1. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 2. Logan Morrison, lf; 3. Gaby Sanchez, 3b; 4. Dan Uggla, 2b: 5. Mike Stanton, rf; 6. Cody Ross, cf; 7. Wes Helms, 3b; 8. Ronny Paulino, c; 9. Chris Volstad, p.

  Padres: 1. Jerry Hairston, Jr., 2b; 2. Chris Denorfia, lf; 3. Adrian Gonzalez, 1b; 4. Miguel Tejada, ss; 5. Chase Headley, 3b; 6. Yorvit Torrealba, c; 7. Will Venable, rf; 8. Tony Gwynn, cf; 9. Wade LeBlanc, p.

July 29, 2010

Change Could Be Coming to Marlins Rotation -- Is West Next?

  There is a strong possibility the Marlins will promote Sean West from the minors and stick him in the rotation, perhaps as early as Tuesday. There's also a chance the Marlins could obtain a left-handed starter in any trade involving Jorge Cantu. Manager Edwin Rodriguez said upcoming rotation plans are unsettled, but offered no guarantees that Alex Sanabia would remain in the rotation following Wednesday's short and unsuccessful outing.

  In fact, by throwing just 43 pitches, Sanabia will be available to work out of the bullpen on either Saturday or Sunday in San Diego. Rodriguez said Sanabia needs to work on a third pitch, his slider. Sanabia faced just 14 batters in his abbreviated start on Wednesday against the Giants and gave up hits to nine of them. Granted, eight of them were singles, some of which slipped through the infield. But the bottom line was not good.

   "Right now he's going to (be in the bullpen) for the San Diego series and then we will figure out what we want to do after that," Rodriguez said. "We'll make a decison on how that series in San Diego plays out."

  The Marlins have an off day on Monday, which would enable the Marlins to move up everyone in the rotation and hold off on a fifth starter until Aug. 7. But Rodriguez said he wants to give every member of the rotation that extra day of rest. Sanabia, therefore, would be due up on Tuesday.

   West is coming off an impressive complete-game shutout on Tuesday for Triple A New Orleans, where he has gone 4-3 with a 3.12 ERA. He has a 46/19 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 57 2/3 innings. Perhaps more significantly, by promoting West, the Marlins would add a lefty arm that is now lacking in the rotation. 


   There are growing signs that the Marlins and Rangers are close to a deal for Jorge Cantu.

   The Colorado Rockies, losers of eight straight and sinking fast, are no longer bidding for Cantu,  according to Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports. In fact, the Rockies may be becoming sellers. Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports on the Giants' interest, or lack thereof, in Cantu. The Rangers are still in it. The uncertainty surrounding the trade deadline is wearing on Cantu, who admitted as much Wednesday. "It's a little hard to put it out of my head," Cantu said. "I can't hide it. It's right there, lingering. It might be affecting me in the field, too."


Fashion cop Edwin Rodriguez not only complained about Brian Wilson's orange spikes, but also told rookie newcomer Logan Morrison to cut his hair when he reported for duty with the Marlins with longer locks than are permitted under team policy. Morrison snipped off some of the shag but didn't lose his strength, scorching a pair of doubles on Wednesday in what was his second big-league game. Morrison also made an outstanding running catch to backhand a fly ball along the foul line in left. "You saw that play he made down the left field line, that was a great play," Rodriguez said. "His second day in the big leagues, playing a new position. And already he might be a Web Gem." Looks like Rodridguez was right.Click here to see for yourself.


   Today's lineups:

   Marlins: 1. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 2. Logan Morrison, lf; 3. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 4. Dan Uggla, 2b; 5. Jorge Cantu, 3b; 6. Cody Ross, cf; 7. Mike Stanton, rf; 8. Ronny Paulino, c; 9. Anibal Sanchez, p.

   Giants: 1. Andres Torres, rf; 2. Freddy Sanchez, 2b; 3. Aubrey Huff, lf; 4. Buster Posey, c; 5. Juan Uribe, 3b; 6. Pablo Sandoval, 1b; 7. Aaron Rowand, cf; 8. Edgar Renteria, ss; 9. Madison Bumgarner, lhp.

    Umpires: HP -- Lance Barksdale; 1B -- Ed Rapuano; 2B -- Tom Hallion; 3B -- Mike Estabrook


July 28, 2010

Marlins Cry Foul on Giant Pitcher's Orange Spikes; League Fines Wilson

  SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants closer Brian Wilson was fined $1,000 by Major League Baseball for wearing bright orange spikes on Tuesday during his outing against the Marlins. The Nike shoes, which were given to Wilson at the All-Star Game, do not conform with league rules.

   Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez complained about the shoes to umpires on Tuesday when Wilson took the mound, but no action was taken.

   On Wednesday, Wilson sat at his locker darkening in sections of the spikes with a black felt marker.

    "I think there's probably more important things you should worry about while managing a game," Wilson said. "They're just cleats. But, appraently, they have magical powers. I guess when you put the shoes on, you just automatically get 97 to 100 (mph) with cut on both sides of the plate, and then the ball disappears."

    Rodriguez said he thought the shoes could be distracting to Marlins hitters.

    "I guess our orange jerseys aren't distracting?" Wilson asked. "I think there are a lot of variables in baseball to worry about and you should start with your own team."

   Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson said he received a pair of all-teal Nikes during All-Star but does not plan on wearing them.

   "I thought they were uncomfortable," he said.

Cantu Wants Some of Uggla's Power

   Dan Uggla was talking to reporters after last night's game about his recent home run surge when Jorge Cantu, who was dressing at a nearby locker, overheard the conversation and inserted "Could you pass some (power) along over here?"

   These are tough times for Cantu, offensively, defensively and perhaps mentally.

   Cantu' bat is cold. He has not homered since June 23. His glove is worse than ever. After making an error and dropping a foul pop on Monday, manager Edwin Rodriguez took him out of the lineup on Tuesday, saying that the trade deadline is likely weighing on the third baseman. It was the second time in the past three games that Cantu was not in the starting lineup, and Rodriguez said his status is "day to day" as far as returning to the lineup. Maybe the Marlins are afraid that by playing Cantu -- and exposing his flaws to the Giants, Rangers and Rockies -- the worse their chances become of unloading him before Saturday's trade deadline.

    The latest: Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports tweeted that the Giants are becoming increasingly interested in Cantu, which is somewhat surprising considering how these first two days have gone for Cantu in San Fran. The Giants do have a young left-hander (Clayton Tanner) that the Marlins asked about during the winter meetings, so perhaps there's a possible fit there.


    SPEAKING OF UGGLA....The second baseman was hitting so many singles for awhile there that his brother started calling him "Judy" as in a Punch and Judy hitter. Uggla said he hasn't heard from his brother the past few days, though. Uggla hit two home runs on Tuesday to give him five over the past five games. He is now within one home run of equaling Mike Lowell's franchise record 143 homers.

Uggla has 21 home runs on the season, giving him five consecutive years of at least 20 and putting him on target for another 30+ season, which would be his fourth straight.

   "It's one of those numbers you do want to reach before the end of the season, and I've done this (20 or more) for the fifth time, and I'd like to do 30 for hte time time and just kind of keep things going," Uggla said.


    CREATIVE CELEBRATING, IDEAS ANYONE?....In the aftermath of the Chris Coghlan pieing episode, Rodriguez has instructed Marlins players to find a new way to celebrate their walk-off wins, something that doesn't pose quite as much physical risk. Be creative, Rodriguez told them. Anyone have any suggestions? I'll be happy to pass them along.

Bullpen Cracks Again In Marlins' 6-4 Loss to Giants


    SAN FRANCISCO – The bullpen for the Marlins has gone from boom to bust.

Ten days ago it was riding high on a scoreless innings streak that ranked as one of the longest in the history of the franchise. Since then, the bullpen has been giving up almost nothing but runs from one game to the next.

And so it was on Tuesday when reliever Brian Sanches took over in the eighth inning of a tie game and was promptly greeted by a Juan Uribe home run, followed by another blast off the bat of Edgar Renteria.

The result was a 6-4 Giants victory at AT&T Park.

Since the scoreless innings streak ended on July 19, Marlins relievers have given up 22 earned runs in 27 innings (7.33 ERA) and been tagged for seven home runs.

“I don’t have any reasonable explanation for that other than they’ve been overworked,” said Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez. “We’ve been playing so many tight games, we’re overworking our bullpen, and it’s showing up now.”

On a night when starter Josh Johnson failed to continue a streak of his own but still pitched solidly, and Dan Uggla smashed two home runs, the Marlins could not back up Monday’s victory with another over the Giants.

 Johnson was bidding to become only the second pitcher in the live ball era (since 1920) to give up two runs or less in 14 consecutive starts. But 13 was as far as he got, leaving Mike Scott of the 1986 Houston Astros alone at the top.

    The top half of the Giants lineup that proved to be Johnson’s undoing. Leadoff hitter Andres Torres had a pair of doubles, an infield hit, and scored twice. No. 2 hitter Freddy Sanchez went 2 for 3 and drove in a run. No. 3 hitter Aubrey Huff had a RBI double. And rookie cleanup hitter Buster Posey also drove in a run.

    The Giants scored three runs off Johnson, who went seven innings.

    “When you only allow three runs and call that an off day, it is amazing,” Rodriguez said of Johnson.

    But Johnson was spared the loss thanks to home runs by Cody Ross and Uggla. Ross cranked a two-run home run off Matt Cain in the fifth inning while Uggla clubbed two to raise his team-leading total to 21. It is the fifth year in a row Uggla has connected on at least 20 home runs for the Marlins.

Uggla’s low-altitude blast in the seventh and two-out shot in the ninth moved him closer to Mike Lowell’s team record. Lowell hit 143 home runs. Uggla now has 142.

Uggla, though, was dismayed the Marlins couldn’t do more for Johnson.

“We have not done a very good job of giving him run support,” Uggla said. “It’s frustrating for us because he’s picked us up so many times and it would be nice for us to pick him up.”

    The rest of the Marlins’ new look lineup struggled with Cain. On the night, the Marlins produced just five hits, three of them home runs.

    Hanley Ramirez, back in the leadoff spot due to Chris Coghlan’s freak knee injury, continued to slump offensively, going 0 for 3. Logan Morrison, fresh up from Triple A New Orleans, made his major-league debut and singled once in four at bats.

    Still the Marlins were in it until the eighth.

    Sanches, who has appeared in eight of the Marlins’ 12 games since the All-Star break, gave up a leadoff home run to Uribe on a 1-2 pitch and a two-run blast to Renteria.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little tired,” Sanches said. “I’ve pitched a lot. But it’s the situations I want to pitch in.”

Eight of the Marlins’ past 11 games have been decided by two runs or less.

“The pressure is there,” Sanches said. “Is it out of the ordinary? No. We’re used to dealing with it. We’ve been doing this long enough where we’re used to the close games.”


July 27, 2010

Coghlan Injury Could Have Trade Ramifications

    By now, everyone knows the story. Chris Coghlan tore up his left knee on Sunday when he pied Wes Helms with shaving cream after his game-ending hit. Bizarre, but true. Coghlan will miss at least three weeks and could be out six to eight if there's surgery. He was expected to see another doctor on Tuesday for a second opinion, but the initial prognosis is not good.

    The Marlins are calling up Logan Morrison from Triple A to take Coghlan's roster spot, and will have him split time in left with Emilio Bonifacio, at least according to manager Edwin Rodriguez. In addition, Rodriguez said he would consider moving Hanley Ramirez to Coghlan's leadoff spot. A lot of the lineup details were stll sketchy late last night.

    So what does this mean with Saturday's trade deadline looming? While it doesn't necessarily kill a Jorge Cantu trade, it probably has the Marlins thinking twice about it. The original plan, if Cantu was traded, was to call up Morrison, put him in left, and prepare Coghlan to take over at third. Now, with Coghlan out of the picture for who knows how long, trading Cantu would limit the Marlins' options. They would have to go with either Wes Helms or Emilio Bonifacio at third -- possibly for the remainder of the season -- and cross their fingers on the unknown with the rookie Morrison in left. Helms has not shown he's an everyday third baseman and Bonifacio is a wild card. And if the Morrison experiment in left doesn't work out, what then? They can't return to Coghlan and stick hiim back out there. In other words, losing Coghlan to injury AND trading Cantu diminishes their options to a dangerous level.

    If you were the Marlins, what would you do regarding Cantu? Hang on to him, especially now that Coghlan is out? Or roll the dice and trade him anyway?

Pie Celebration Lands Coghlan on DL with Knee Injury, May Require Surgery

   SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Coghlan might require surgery for a left knee injury he sustained on Sunday when he pied a teammate in the face following a walkoff victory on Sunday. Coghlan was placed on the 15-day disabled list after a MRI revealed he tore the meniscus cartilage in his left knee.

   If Coghlan undergoes surgery, he would likely be out six to eight weeks. The Marlins are calling up Logan Morrison from Triple A New Orleans to take his spot on the roster, and manager Edwin Rodriguez has issued a ban on pie celebrations as the result of Coghlan's freak injury.

   "This is just one of those freak things that happened," Coghlan said. "I knew right after it happened. I was going to pie Wes (Helms) in the face and when I jumped, I landed on my knee wrong."

  The injury is reminiscent of one suffered in May by the Angels' Kendry Morales, who broke his left leg when he jumped and landed awkwardly at home plate after hitting a walkoff grand slam.

    "I'm just saying around the league, hopefully through these couple of experiences that have happened to some players, just to be smarter with celebrating," Coghlan said. "It wasn't like I was trying to be hurt. It was just as simple as being excited and happy for my teammate for winning the game, and I just landed on it wrong."

  Coghlan said he knew almost immedately Sunday that he might have injured his knee. He had it iced. But the swelling and pain worsened on the flight to the West Coast.

   "When we found out what happened, we talked about it with the players," said Rodriguez, instituted an immediate ban on pie celebrations, which are common throughout baseball.

   Coghlan was last year's NL Rookie of the Year. Rodriguez said he would now use both Morrison and Emilio Bonifacio in left field, and said that he would consider putting Hanley Ramirez in the leadoff spot.

   "You just can't believe it," Helms said. "To do it that way is just one of those freak things. I don't think it's sunk in yet to everybody. When you look back at it, you're glad you had the celebration but you wish it could have been different."

    Helms agreed with the ban on celebratory pies.

    "I agree," Helms said. "It's kind of like that thing with Morales. Celebrations are fun but you hate for this to be the cancellation of celebrations. But you can take celebrations too far, and each time you celebrate, it just seems like it gets more and more exciting, and guys get more and more into it. Anytime you go after a guy on the field and chase him down and all, it's very dangerous. He might get stepped on, turn an ankle, whatever."

    The list of athletes injured during celebrations is longer than one might think. For a list, go here

Marlins Hang on To Defeat Giants, 4-3



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    SAN FRANCISCO – The Marlins are back in the black.

    With a 4-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday, the surging Marlins crawled back above .500 for the first time since June 3 and made further inroads in the division and wild card standings.

    It was the Marlins’ ninth win in their past 12 games.

    Typical of most of their recent wins, though, it wasn’t easy. Eight of the nine victories have been by two runs or less, and they had to survive a nail-biting finish to prevail on Monday.

    Ricky Nolasco led the way on the mound while rookie Mike Stanton drove in a pair of runs with a double and his eighth home run. Dan Uggla also added a solo shot as the Marlins closed to within 5 ½ games of the Giants in the wild-card race and moved into a third-place tie with the New York Mets in the N.L. East – 7 ½ games behind the Braves.

    The win for Nolasco was his fifth in his past six decisions.

    And the Marlins finally pinned a loss on Giants left-hander Barry Zito. Zito was 5-0 against the Marlins, the only team in the majors that had never defeated him.

    Uggla put the Marlins on the board in the fourth with a solo home run, his 19th of the season and his 140th as Marlin – three behind Mike Lowell on the club’s all-time list.

    Stanton connected with a home run off Zito on the fifth to make it 2-0, and the Marlins increased the lead to 3-0 in the sixth on Cody Ross’s sacrifice fly.

    Nolasco (11-7) held the Giants to four hits over 6 1/3 innings while striking out seven.

    The Marlins were leading 3-0 in the seventh when their fortunes took a turn for the worse. After Nolasco gave up a one-out walk to Pat Burrell, Taylor Tankersley was brought in to face Travis Ishikawa. But the Giants countered by sending up Aaron Rowand to pinch-hit, and he hit Tankersley’s second pitch for a controversial home run.

    A fan in the left field bleachers reached out with his glove to make the catch before Emilio Bonifacio could get his glove on it. But after reviewing replays, umpires decided that it was not fan interference and let the home run stand.

    The past few games have turned out poorly for Tankersley, who has given up six runs, including a pair of home runs, without recording an out over his past three outings.

    After Stanton doubled off the wall to drive in the run and make it 4-2, the bullpen preserved the win, with Clay Hensley pitching the eighth and Leo Nunez working the ninth for his 24th save, though not without tension.

    The Giants came up with a run in the ninth before Nunez struck out Edgar Renteria with the tying run on third to end the game.



July 26, 2010

Chris Coghlan Out With Left Knee Injury; Beinfest Talks

   SAN FRANCISCO -- Left fielder and leadoff hitter Chris Coghlan is not in the lineup for tonight's game against the Giants due to a left knee injury, the details of which are fuzzy. Coghlan was being examined by a doctor, so details should become available later.

  Coghlan was hit by a pitch near his right knee on Saturday but remained in the game and also played Sunday. Manager Edwin Rodriguez said he did not have more specific details. President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said he received a phone call Monday morning from team trainer Sean Cunningham advising him of the injury. Emilio Bonifacio started in place of Coghlan on Monday.

   Stay tuned for details.

   TRADE DEADLINE.....Jorge Cantu continues to be linked in trade rumors with the Rangers, and the teams have gone back and forth on names. But no deal is imminent, and I'm hearing that the Rockies have kicked up their interest level. The Giants have also expressed interest in Cantu.

    We spoke a moment ago with Beinfest, who told us this:

    "We've played well. Actually we've played better. So that's a good sign. But you have to look at the standings and be realistic. There's quite a few teams that are ahead of us in the wild card chase. We made a little bit of ground on the Braves, but they're still quite in the distance with the Mets and Phillies ahead of us. Are we going to force anything at this point? I wouldn't say so. Are we driven by the need to move money? That's a no. So whatever we do, it's not because we need to get the payroll in line or for some other reason. But there may be some things we may want to do now. We're going to open a new ballpark in 18 months and I think everything we do now is very important to opening that building. We want to be very competitive when we move in there. So we want to be careful with everything we do, and also there may be moves now that bear fruit when we get there, in 2011 and on to '12. That's kind of where we are. It's an interesting spot, but we are still coming from behind. We have to recognize that.

    Asked if he thought it would be sending a message to fans that the Marlins would be throwing in the town on this season if they traded away a regular for a prospect instead of major league help, Beinfest replied:

    "Not necessarily. Not if we think that the people that are coming up to replace or we got back in that trade are going to help us, possibly be better the remainder of this year and on into the future. So I wouldn't say that would necessarily say that would be a sign. If we think we have personnel who aren't here right now who can help make us better, then I think people should look at it that way."

    (Beinfest didn't address this, but the thinking within the organization is that if Cantu is traded, they would ultimately move Coghlan in to third base and call up Logan Morrison from the minors to play left).

    "We've been on the phone. There's some stuff out there. There's some people that want some of our people."

   Asked if it was safe to say that the Marlins might just stay the course and not do anything before  Saturday's deadline, Beinfest responded:

 "That's a possibility. Because there's no financially driven area here, you can stay as is. So that is an option."