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14 posts from September 2015

September 29, 2015

It's a 'nay': season over for Giancarlo Stanton

ST. PETERSBURG -- Not that the news comes as any surprise, not after months of speculation and wondering, but Giancarlo Stanton is officially done for the season. Stanton, who last played on June 26 when he broke the hamate bone in his left hand, was nowhere to be found Tuesday at Tropicana Field, and there was no locker with his name on it inside the visiting clubhouse here.

Manager Dan Jennings, who said it was "yay or nay" time for Stanton a few days ago, confirmed that the Marlins' slugger is a definite no-go for the final six games of the season after trying for three months to get back on the field.

"In fairness to Giancarlo, he gave his best effort trying to get back," Jennings said. "He wanted to be out playing. He just didn't have a comfort level in that hand. He tried, but it didn't let go."

Stanton said a couple of weeks ago that a hand specialist found "abnormal scar tissue" in his surgically repaired hand, which was a strong indication he wasn't going to make it back.

But Stanton and the Marlins held out hope the hand would be sufficiently strong enough to give it a shot. It didn't happen.

And so, for the second straight year, Stanton ended his season at home. Or wherever he happens to be at the moment. His 2014 season ended in mid-September when he was hit in the face with a pitch, and it was a given he wouldn't make it back. But this time, the initial prognosis was a four-to-six week recovery period and it was assumed he would be back for the final month, if not earlier.

Stanton was leading the league with 27 homers when he broke his hand in June and still ranks in the top 10 despite missing three months.

"He was on his way to be considered in the MVP race," Jennings said. "But he'll be back ready (in 2016)."

September 25, 2015

Carter Capps out for season; Dee Gordon is Marlins MVP

After trying to get back on the mound for the Marlins, reliever Carter Capps said he finally "ran out of time" and will not pitch again this season.

Capps, who established himself as a formidable setup reliever out of the Marlins' bullpen, last pitched on Aug. 3 before suffering a right elbow strain. He has been throwing bullpen sessions and on Thursday threw a simulation game.

But he said he was still feeling discomfort in his arm and decided the smart thing to do -- with only nine games remaining -- was just to shut down and wait for next season.

"I'll definitely be (ready to go) in spring training," he said. "I'll do my normal throwing over the offseason."


The time is drawing near when Giancarlo Stanton will also have to decide whether it's worth trying to make it back this season. Stanton has missed more than two months after breaking a bone in his hand.

"I think we're getting close to that, where he's either going to have a yea or a nay," said manager Dan Jennings. "Really, within the next couple of days -- this home stand -- he's at that point where he needs to feel like it is worth testing or it's time to shut it down and build for 2016. I know, in his mind, he's close to that."

Stanton hasn't taken batting practice in days.


Dee Gordon has been voted MVP of the Marlins for 2015 by the Miami chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Gordon is vying for the league batting and stolen base titles, and could garner the Gold Glove Award for his play at second base.

Members of the local BBWAA chapter also announced its other annual winners:

Rookie of the Year: catcher J.T. Realmuto

Charlie Hough "Good Guy" -- Tom Koehler

Jeff Conine Award (for determined play and exemplary attitude): Adeiny Hechavarria

September 24, 2015

Jose Fernandez eyes record home start to a career Friday vs. Braves

Jose Fernandez will look set a major league record and improve to 17-0 at home when he makes his final start of the season at Marlins Park Friday night against the visiting Braves.

Fernandez, 16-0 with 1.11 ERA in 25 career starts at Marlins Park, tied LaMarr Hoyt and John Allen for the most home wins without a loss to begin a career when he made his last appearance here against the Nationals Sept. 12.

"I know that it's there [the record]. I'm going to try and do my best. That doesn't mean I'm going to go out there and try any harder because I'm going to break the record," said Fernandez who in five career starts against Atlanta is 3-1 with a 1.32 ERA.

"Sometimes less is more -- I have a friend that tells me that all the time."

Fernandez (5-0, 2.18 ERA in nine starts in 2015) ramped up his workload from 69 pitches to 95 pitches in his previous start at Washington Sept. 18. Finishing the season strong -- and solving the mystery as to why he's just 5-8 with 3.82 ERA in 20 career road starts -- are what he says he’s most concerned with.

“There's nothing more that I want than to be healthy like I was in 2013,” said Fernandez, who after coming back from Tommy John surgery in July spent a month on the disabled list with a right biceps strain before returning Sept. 12.

“Everybody says the first year after surgery you aren't completely back. But I feel good right now. I just want to finish strong.”


Reliever Carter Capps (right elbow strain) and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (left hamstring) both participated in simulated games Thursday at Marlins Park and are close to returning according to manager Dan Jennings.

“Capps threw the ball very well,” Jennings said. “I’ve got to say based on what he just featured out there [he's] pretty close to ready or if not ready. Hech, we had two of our young men in instructional league drive down. It was good for him to track some balls live. Both guys are very close to being ready to go and go full tilt.”

Jennings said Hechavarria could be available to pinch-hit or play defense Thursday against the Phillies. 


Rookie first baseman Justin Bour belted his 19th home run of the season Wednesday, tying him for third with the Astros’ Carlos Correa among major league rookies. Only the Cubs’ Kris Bryant (26) and Dodgers' Joc Pederson (25) have hit more. 

Bour’s homers are the most by a Marlins rookie since Giancarlo Stanton hit 22 and Gaby Sanchez hit 19 in 2010 and ranks tied for sixth all-time behind Dan Uggla’s 27 homers as a rookie in 2006.

September 18, 2015

Nationals receiving no protection from father of Washington killer Justin Bour

WASHINGTON -- When Justin Bour was growing up in the D.C. area, his father was assigned to the Secret Service, protecting the lives of presidents. These days, Bour's father is retired and the first baseman for the Marlins is putting the hurt on the Washington Nationals, his hometown team.

Bour's three-run homer Thursday sparked the Marlins to a 6-4 victory over the Nationals. It was the fourth home run of Bour's career at Nationals Park. The only place where he's hit more is Marlins Park. Bour chalks up his success against the Nationals (lifetime .313 average and .960 OPS) to having faced them often so far in his young career.

It has nothing to do, he says, with having grown up in the area and watching them play. In fact, Bour said the first major league game he ever saw was the first one he played in. But Bour does have close ties to the area, where his father was often the closest person to the U.S. president.

"He was in transportation detail and he guarded both (George H.W.) Bush and (Bill) Clinton," Bour said. "He drove one of the limos for one of the inaugural."

Bour said if he wasn't playing baseball, "I'd probably be doing some sort of law enforcement."

Like father, like son, in other words.


Martin Prado was scratched from Friday's lineup due to a sore wrist he tweaked in Thursday's game, according to manager Dan Jennings, who termed the decision "precautionary" and said the third baseman could be back in the lineup on Saturday.

"It's just a little discomfort," Jennings said.


Carter Capps threw a sim game Friday and will likely throw one more before returning to the Marlins' bullpen, probably during the upcoming home stand, Jennings said.

"The volunteer list was very light," Jennings said of the hitters who stood in against Capps. "There were not many people running to grab a bat to face Carter Capps."

One who did was Marlins hitting coach Frank Menechino, who slapped a single up the middle on the only pitch he saw from Capps. But no one else managed to hit the ball out of the cage at Nationals Park.

Marlins bullpen catcher Jeff Urgelles said Capps is intimidating.

"The ball gets on you really, really quick," said Urgelles, who often warms up Capps in the bullpen but said facing him from the batter's box is an altogether different experience. "I've seen his delivery thousands and thousands of times. But when you're standing sideways and not facing him square, it's a lot different. I can see why he strikes out so many hitters, because when he's painting down and away, and throwing so hard, it's not easy to catch up to. No shot. Nobody has a shot."

September 17, 2015

Stanton return plans back on hold due to "abnormal" amount of scar tissue in injured hand

WASHINGTON -- The on-again-off-again status of Giancarlo Stanton is back on hold after tests performed earlier in the week on his injured left hand revealed an “abnormal amount” of internal scar tissue.

Stanton hasn’t taken batting practice since Monday in New York and doesn’t expect to step back in the cage again until Saturday at the earliest.

He said doctors in New York told him “the strength’s not there. Don’t overdo it. Do what’s manageable.”
Stanton said he still hopes to play before the end of the season.

But time is clearly running out. And he said the scar tissue won’t be gone anytime soon.

“Not in a couple of weeks,” Stanton said, understanding it might require the entire offseason for the hand to completely heal.

“That’s kind of the big speed bump as far as getting the strength back,” he said. “That has altered the anatomy of my tendons. So that’s what’s going on.”

After breaking the hamate bone on June 26 and undergoing surgery, Stanton was initially expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. But his recovery has taken far longer.

September 11, 2015

Jose Fernandez, Marlins to map out 2016 usage plan during offseason

The Marlins and Jose Fernandez want to avoid a Matt Harvey situation in 2016 and intend to map out a usage strategy before the start of next season.

"Whatever it is, we'll figure it out and we'll all try to be on the same page," Fernandez said. "In the offseason, I feel pretty comfortable we'll all have a meeting with the team, the doctor, (agent) Scott Boras and myself. I don't think it will be hard at all."

Fernandez, like the Mets' Harvey, returned from Tommy John surgery this season. And, also like Harvey, Fernandez is represented by Boras, who raised questions recently about an innings cap for Harvey, creating an end-of-season controversy with the Mets.

Fernandez would not talk specifically about Harvey.

"I prefer not to comment on it," Fernandez said. "A lot of things go into it. But I'm staying out of it."

What Fernandez would acknowledge is that he intends to design a plan with the Marlins beforehand to address any questions about how much he'll pitch in 2016.

"I think we're going to be careful," Fernandez said without going into specifics about a potential innings limit. "I think we're going to try to be careful, because it's a long run, and you want to make sure you stay healthy and you stay good as much as you can."

Fernandez said he and the Marlins had a plan in place this season in the event the team was still in contention in September.

"We kind of had a plan for this year if we would have made it to the playoffs," Fernandez said. "We talked about it in spring training. So we had it planned out -- the team, the doctor, the agent, myself -- (that) everybody could feel comfortable with. We were going to (implement) it if we were closer. After the All-Star break, we were going to sit down, see where we're at, and go from there. But there would have been a plan."

September 08, 2015

J.T. Realmuto joins Hanley Ramirez, Derrek Lee as only Marlins to hit inside-the-park home run and another over the fence in same game

J.T. Realmuto joined exclusive company Tuesday night, becoming only the third player in Marlins history to hit an inside-the-park home run and another over the fence in the same game.

The Marlins’ rookie catcher slugged his first one the traditional way in the second inning when he jumped on the first pitch from Brewers starter Taylor Jungmann and drilled it over the left field wall, an estimated 385-feet according to ESPN.

Then, Realmuto opened the fourth inning with a scorching, 411-foot line drive to center off Junggman that bounced high off the top of the wall and away from center fielder Domingo Santana, allowing Realmuto to circle the bases easily.

Realmuto joined Derrek Lee (April 12, 2003) and Hanley Ramirez (Sept. 27, 2006) as the only players in Marlins history to achieve the feat.

6/13/94 - Bret Barberie at St. Louis
6/2/95 - Alex Arias vs. Cubs
8/9/95 - Kurt Abbott vs. Rockies
8/12/95 - Kurt Abbott vs. Reds
4/5/97 - Edgar Renteria vs. Reds
5/29/97 - Kurt Abbott vs. Rockies
5/24/99 - Kevin Millar at Cubs
6/19/01 - Cliff Floyd vs. Pirates (Grand Slam)
8/12/01 - Mike Redmond vs. Astros
4/12/03 - Derrek Lee vs. Braves (also homered over fence)
5/19/04 - Hee Seop-Choi vs. Astros
6/13/04 - Juan Pierre at Tigers
9/27/06 - Hanley Ramirez vs. Reds (also homered over fence)
4/6/09 - Emilio Bonifacio vs. Nats
5/3/10 - Cameron Maybin vs. Brewers
6/30/15 - Dee Gordon vs. Giants
9/8/15 - J.T. Realmuto vs. Brewers (also homered over fence)

Marlins notes: Will Hechavarria be back this season? Capps is finally pain free

Adeiny Hechavarria

Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria tested his tight left hamstring out with some light running Tuesday at Marlins Park, but said he still felt discomfort.

With a little more than three weeks left in the season there’s a chance the 26-year-old Gold Glove candidate might not make it back in time to play. But he’s not giving up on the season just yet.

“Right now I’m around 70 percent,” Hechavarria said. “I think I’ll be back before the season ends. But to rush back from a hamstring isn’t easy. I’m not going to play until I don’t feel it at all. To play at 90 percent, you can hurt it again. If I can’t run right, bunt, steal bases, I’m not going to play like that.”

Hechavarria hurt himself legging out a bunt single in Atlanta Sept. 2. He said he had been feeling tightness in the back of left knee for about two or three weeks prior to that.

“They were giving me treatment for a couple weeks,” he said. “After that, in Atlanta, is when it tightened up a little higher up as I was running to first base. All of that in the back of your leg is connected.”

Hechavarria is having a career year at the plate (.281, 5 HRs, 48 RBI) and defensively. He leads the National League and ranks second only to Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier in Defensive Runs Above Average, regardless of position. Hechavarria also leads all NL shortstops in Ultimate Zone Rating (14.1), ahead of Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons (10.8), the defending Gold Glove winner in the NL at shortstop.

The Marlins tried to sign Hechavarria to a long contract this winter, but he declined. His value has clearly gone up. He’s under club control through the 2018 season.

 “I think he'll be back,” manager Dan Jennings said. “We just don't want him back out there and then he does tear it and then he's lost for the year. It will be a process. He did test it a little bit today and had some improvement. But he’s not ready to open it up yet. We're probably another day or two away from doing that to see exactly where it is.”


Marlins reliever Carter Capps finally had a pain-free bullpen on Tuesday.

The hard-throwing right-hander, who last pitched for the Marlins Aug. 2, has been on the disabled list with a flexor muscle strain in his forearm.

“I've thrown a couple [bullpens] but still had some pain when I was throwing off the mound,” Capps said. “The incline I guess was bothering me. This one, though was good, first time without any pain. I'm pretty excited.”

The Marlins were initially hoping Capps would return in early September. He said he has another bullpen session Friday and could have a third session after that before he’s finally cleared to return. But now, at least, Capps said he's confident he will pitch again in 2015.

Capps (1-0, 1.16 ERA, 30 games) was leading baseball with a whopping 16.84 strikeout per nine inning average when he went on the disabled list. The Marlins could eventually ask him to close games in 2016.

“I've had a good year,” Capps said. “Hopefully I can cap it off with a few innings at the end of the season.

> The Marlins on Tuesday recalled right-handed relief pitcher Scott McGough from Triple A New Orleans and claimed first baseman/outfielder Tommy Medica from the Padres.

Medica, 27, hit .233 with nine homers and 27 RBI in 240 at-bats this season with San Diego. A right-handed hitter, he could potentially compete with Justin Bour and Derek Dietrich for the first baseman’s job next year in spring training.

Although Bour is hitting .257 with 16 homers and 51 RBI, he hasn’t done enough to impress the front office into giving him the job outright.

“He's put himself on the map in some capacity,” Jennings said of Bour. “Truly what that will be, we'll determine that the rest of the season.”

Opening Day 2016: April 5 vs. Detroit; Marlins release home schedule

Is it too early to begin thinking about the 2016 season? Not if you've weathered through what's already been a tortuously long and dreary 2015 for the Marlins, who today released their home schedule for next season.

They'll open at home April 5 against the Detroit Tigers and notable former Marlin Miguel Cabrera. The Marlins will play the Tigers in a two-game set at Marlins Park before immediately hitting the road.

With the National League East matched up against the American League Central in inter league play next season, they're also down to host the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals at home while hitting the road to take on Cleveland, Detroit and Minnesota.

As I mentioned last week, a two-game set against Pittsburgh in Puerto Rico is in the works, either May 30-31 or June 1-2. But the Puerto Rican trip is still in the planning stages, from what I've been told.


September 07, 2015

Jose Fernandez expects to make his return Saturday vs. Nationals

Jose Fernandez said he should be back on the mound pitching for the Marlins Saturday against the Washington Nationals.

"I don't know how many pitches or what, but whatever it is I'll be ready for it," said Fernandez, who has been on the disabled list with a right biceps strain since his last start Aug. 7. "I still have to throw my bullpen and make sure everything is fine. But the plan is to pitch Saturday against Washington."

The staff ace threw 75 pitches in a sim game against his teammates at Marlins Park about two hours before Miami was set to open a three-game series against the Brewers.

"Command was there," Fernandez said. "Since the first inning I was all out. I wasn't over throwing. It's always great to be back out on that mound -- especially that mound right there."

Hitting coach Frank Menechino even stepped into the batter's box to face Fernandez Monday, eliciting a few laughs. Fernandez walked Menechino.

"I don't think it was a walk," Fernandez said with a grin. "I think the umpire got confused, he was looking somewhere else. Nah, but it's fun to get your work in. I really didn't care anyone was hitting. I had to get my work in. I treat that like a game."

After making his return from Tommy John surgery July 2, Fernandez made seven starts for the Marlins, going 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA before being yanked after making 76 pitches in five innings against the Braves Aug. 7.

Fernandez is 15-0 with a 1.14 ERA in 24 career starts at Marlins Park. Saturday's game is vital to the Nationals, who entered the day four games behind the New York Mets for first place in the National League East. The Marlins just took two of three from New York over the weekend.

"It means the world, means a lot, not only for my piece of mind, but for our team, finishing the season strong," Fernandez said. "[I'll know] going into next year everything is healthy and I'll be ready to go next year. It's really important to me.

"We're a good team when we're healthy. We just got to try to stay healthy, win some ballgames, finish the year strong, do the best we can."