March 2009

Bonifacio turning heads

Don’t discount Emilio Bonifacio winning the starting third base spot.

It’s no coincidence that the 23-year-old has more at-bats than any Marlin thus far in Spring Training. Right now, his numbers aren’t overwhelming .250 average in 60 ABs, and a .297 on-base percentage.

But in recent weeks, he’s been hitting the ball better, and the team is giving him every chance to develop into an every day player.

There are a couple of reasons why the club would like for him to succeed: Foremost, he is a quality defender, and secondly he has the type of speed that can change a game. Then there is the fact the Marlins traded two established players — Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham — for him. So they’d like for him to be more than a reserve.

A lineup that includes Bonifacio, Cameron Maybin and Hanley Ramirez is something the team thinks can cause havoc to opposing pitchers.

If Bonifacio is at third, Jorge Cantu will move to first base. Wes Helms would back up both spots.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Coghlan, Wood sent down

A couple of more promising prospects have been sent down to the Minor Leagues on Wednesday.

Reliever Tim Wood was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville, and infielder Chris Coghlan was reassigned to Minor League camp. Most likely, Coghlan will open the season at Triple-A New Orleans.

Wood, a right-hander, showed an impressive arm. He will get some more innings at Double-A, and he could get promoted during the season to help out in relief.

Coghlan, meanwhile, is a former first-round pick who played third base and second base in camp. He was drafted as a second baseman, and he has played a great deal at third base.

Coghlan is another prospect who is very close to being big league ready.

– Joe Frisaro

Stadium impact

The day after the Marlins’ new ballpark was finalized, the team saw an increase in interest for the regular season.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, the Marlins announced more than 15,000 individual game tickets were sold for the regular season.

On Monday, Miami-Dade County commissioners approved final documents on the 37,000-seat, retractable-roof ballpark at the Orange Bowl in Miami. Tickets for all Marlins home games are available at www.Marlins.com.

– Joe Frisaro

Tucker optioned

Before the Marlins faced the Twins on Tuesday, the team announced right-hander Ryan Tucker has been optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.

Tucker has appeared in three Grapefruit League games with one start. He has thrown 4 1/3 innings, and he’s walked eight while striking out three.

A first-round pick in 2005, Tucker is a promising prospect, who projects to be a starter. However, the team has considered using him in relief, and someday he could be a closer candidate.

At Triple-A, Tucker will be in the rotation.

– Joe Frisaro

Lindstrom progressing

If all continues to go well, Matt Lindstrom will throw for five minutes off the mound on Friday. The team hasn’t ruled out the hard-throwing right-hander being ready by Opening Day.

Lindstrom is recovering from a right rotator cuff strain that he sustained during the World Baseball Classic. The projected Florida closer began throwing off flat ground on Monday.

The plan is to build him up to throw for five minutes off the mound on Friday. From there, he likely will throw to hitting in live batting practice before he gets back into the game. It will be about a week before he is expected to be in game situations.

– Joe Frisaro

McPherson, Sanchez working out

A couple of wounded Marlins were back on the field doing drills on Tuesday morning.

Dallas McPherson, who has been dealing with a slight right oblique strain, was working at first base. And first baseman Gaby Sanchez, hampered by a sore left knee, was fielding grounders at first base.

Before getting back into Grapefruit League games, McPherson will play in a Minor League Triple-A game, where he will bat third and get about five at-bats.

Sanchez will need a couple of more days to be ready for games.

In other injury-related news, Alfredo Amezaga will see the doctor on Thursday. He is recovering from a left knee injury, and he is currently wearing a brace. He will be re-evaluated after seeing the doctor.

Reliever Scott Proctor remains on a no-throw status.

– Joe Frisaro

Marlins stadium passes

Miami-Dade County commissioners on Monday put to rest more than a decade quest by voting in favor of a roofed ballpark for the Marlins on the Orange Bowl grounds. Commissioners cast two separate votes. First passed, 9-4, and the second came back, 10-3.

Since winning the World Series in 1997, three separate Marlins owners have sought a baseball-only facility. Now that will become a reality. The next step is moving toward breaking ground by July in hopes of getting the building open by 2012.

From the time they entered the league in 1993, the Marlins have shared Dolphin Stadium with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.

The new park will have a retractable-roof and seat 37,000 on the Orange Bowl grounds in the Little Havana section of Miami. Major League Baseball has worked actively on the stadium effort, and there are indications that in a few years after the stadium opens, an All-Star Game will be awarded to the market.

– Joe Frisaro

Public hearings underway

The public hearing portion of the Miami-Dade County commission meeting lasted three hours, and 91 people spoke.

The room was packed, and this process will last a few hours. Many of the same people who spoke last Thursday at the city of Miami commission meeting talked in the open forum.

The latest is the vote could be around 10 p.m. So a long night is ahead.

The city passed the stadium by a 3-2 vote that day.

Thus far, the number of those speaking in favor of the stadium have out-numbered the opposition.

A few minutes ago, city of Miami commissioners entered the chamber.

The funniest moment of the hearings came when a supporter spoke up, and did a not-that-bad impersonation of Marlon Brando, Sly Stallone (as Rocky) and Ronald Reagan. He then quoted Tommy Lasorda.

The most tense moment came about 2:30 p.m ET when a group against the stadium caused a disruption in the room. They chanted “real jobs!” now and were escorted out of the room and told they cannot return.

– Joe Frisaro

Commission meeting today

Today is the day in the Marlins stadium quest.

Beginning at 1 p.m. ET, Miami-Dade County commissioners will vote on the 37,000-seat retractable-roof ballpark on the Orange Bowl grounds in Miami.

Needed to pass are nine of 13 votes. Shortly before 1 p.m., union carpenters were voicing their support outside of the commission building.

The vote is expected this evening.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Long rain delay

The game was delayed 2-hours, 39-minutes by rain, but it is now under way.

No lineup changes for either team. Hanley Ramirez was in the lineup for the first time since March 14, and he lifted a fly out to right field in his first at-bat.

Anibal Sanchez is slated to throw about 70 pitches.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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