March 2009

Marlins on the mend

Some quick injury information. Foremost, Hanley Ramirez took batting practice, crushed a few balls, and took grounders at shortstop, making strong throws to first base.

Ramirez has been bothered by a sore shoulder. He was back in the lineup at shortstop, hitting third against the Red Sox on Saturday.

Ramirez said he felt good.

Matt Lindstrom said on Friday he was planning on throwing Sunday. He was a day off. Lindstrom admitted he was trying to push it. Now, he is slated to throw off flat ground on Monday, which is seven days from the time he took the MRI on his strained right rotator cuff.

Dallas McPherson’s right oblique is not considered serious. He hopes to hit off the tee on Sunday, and be back by a few days after that. Gaby Sanchez’s bruised left knee is on the mend. He could be back by Tuesday or Wednesday.

— Joe Frisaro

Lindstrom close to throwing

It looks like it will be exactly seven days when Matt Lindstrom resumes throwing.

Dealing with a right rotator cuff strain, Lindstrom said on Friday that he is scheduled to throw off flat ground on Sunday.

The Marlins closer felt some tightness in his shoulder while pitching for Team USA last Sunday against the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. An MRI revealed the strain, and he was shut down from throwing for seven to 10 days.

Lindstrom estimates he will throw at 90 feet.

There still is no time frame for when he will return to game action. And it is doubtful he will be ready for Opening Day.

However, Lindstrom is encouraged with how he feels, and he doesn’t consider the injury serious.

— Joe Frisaro


Catching options

The Marlins may be in the market for a catcher, but it doesn’t look like veteran Josh Bard fits the mold.

The Red Sox placed Bard on waivers on Wednesday, which was the last day for a ballclub to place player on unconditional waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days. In January, Bard signed a one-year, $1.7 million non-guaranteed contract.

Indications are the Marlins have no interest in Bard as a backup to John Baker.

Florida has pursued Ivan Rodriguez, but the veteran opted to go to the Astros.

Mike Rabelo is a frontrunner to be the No. 2 catcher.

— Joe Frisaro

Hanley still hurting

Hanley Ramirez was a late scratch with a right rotator cuff tendinitis. The All-Star shortstop was examined on Wednesday and his status is day-to-day.

Ramirez was initially in the lineup to play the Nationals on Wednesday night. He was slated to play shortstop and hit third.

Meanwhile, reliever Scott Proctor, who has sore elbow, was shut down from his throwing program. He has been dealing with scar tissue from surgery last October. He is not expected to be ready for Opening Day.

— Joe Frisaro

Stottlemyre on Lindstrom

Matt Lindstrom’s strained right rotator cuff is a touchy point for Team USA.

Lindstrom felt some stiffness in his shoulder during his bullpen session before he entered Sunday night’s game in the eighth inning against the Netherlands.

Team USA bullpen coach Mel Stottlemyre said the Marlins closer didn’t say a word. Eventually, Lindstrom was lifted, and an MRI revealed the strain, and he is in a no throw period for seven to 10 days.

The injury likely will cause him to open the season on the disabled list.

“He didn’t give us any indication that anything was bothering him at all,” Stottlemyre said. “I feel really bad. He didn’t say anything. Of course, he wanted to go out there and compete, but we felt real bad. Hopefully, it’s not anything serious.”

A concern is when a player doesn’t speak up before he takes the mound.

“It’s one of those things you try to safeguard against as much as possible,” Stottlemyre said. “Make them realize that even though the competition is really fierce, they’re still at a stage in Spring Training where their arms are still building. It’s been a tough job for [Team USA pitching coach] Marcel Lachemann to try to reach a fine point. You want them to do well out there, and at the same time protect themselves, because they still are in Spring Training.”

— Joe Frisaro

Together again


Several Marlins sport fresh cuts

JUPITER, Fla. – The Marlins trimmed their list of players at Spring Training by five players, scratched two from their starting lineup and found out their closer was going to be out of action for at least the next 7-10 days.

But the list of healthy Marlins wasn’t the only thing getting smaller – so was the hair on some of their players.

One day after owner Jeffrey Loria made his first visit to Roger Dean Stadium since pitchers and catchers reported, several Marlins checked in with haircuts. Included among them were center fielder Cameron Maybin, reliever Leo Nunez, starter Josh Johnson and shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

“It’s a new thing,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’re trying to keep it nice and neat, and the guys have done a terrific job.”

The reason for the haircut mandate?

“Maybe jealousy on my part,” the bald Gonzalez joked.

Perhaps nobody was most affected than Johnson, who was sporting a full-blown afro at Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday.

The 25-year-old right-hander did say he was going to cut it off anyway, but he didn’t end up going to a barber, as reliever Logan Kensing – an amateur barber at best – ended up cutting Johnson’s and Nunez’s hair with a pair of clippers he bought at Wal-Mart.

“Somebody had to do it,” said Kensing, who usually has Dan Uggla cut his hair while they’re on the road.

— Alden Gonzalez

Pudge and Miguel

Former teammates who shared a World Series championship together in 2003 got together before Monday night’s game between Venezuela and Puerto Rico.

Ivan Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera shared a few words during batting practice. They posed for pictures and shared some thoughts.

Cabrera was a rookie for the Marlins in 2003, and Rodriguez was a standout catcher. On Monday night, they were competitors. Cabrera plays for Venezuela and Pudge is on the Puerto Rican squad.

“Cabrera is a nice guy, and he’s a good friend of mine,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a great hitter. He’s got big future. He’s done a lot now.”

Cabrera has emerged into an elite performer since his rookie season.

The two were teammates for a while in Detroit last year before Pudge was dealt to the Yankees.

“He’s a very smart hitter,” Pudge said.

Actually, three former players from Florida’s 2003 title team were in the park. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez with the Reds, made the trip from Sarasota to Miami to watch his native country, Venezuela.

Rodriguez took a few seconds to talk about Cabrera on Monday, a day where he has reached tentative agreement on a contract with the Astros.

I asked him if he is capable of playing 130 games like he did in the past.

He smiled and replied: “No comment.”

Considering he has incentives in his reported $1.5 million contract with the Astros, that number may meet an incentive.

— Joe Frisaro

Pudge to Astros

The Astros have been heavily scouting Ivan Rodriguez at the World Baseball Classic. And on Monday morning, they reached tentative agreement with the 37-year-old catcher, who has been a standout performer for Puerto Rico.

The Marlins also actively pursued Pudge. A source confirmed on Monday that it looks like Houston will be the choice.

Playing time became a big factor, and many within the game felt Houston provided the best opportunity for him to play regularly.

The Marlins have made it clear they like John Baker, and Pudge would have had to earn his opportunity in Florida.

“There was some interest, and we’ll kind of leave it at that,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. “Obviously, we have a lot of affection for Pudge and what he did in ’03, and there was some interest there. I don’t want to get into the ins and outs, but there was interest there.

“He made a choice, and that’s the way it goes. Hopefully, it works out for him.”

— Joe Frisaro

Lindstrom strained rotator cuff

Matt Lindstrom has a strained right rotator cuff, an MRI revealed on Monday.

Lindstrom experienced soreness in his right shoulder on Sunday night while pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. He is on a no-throw scheduled for seven-to-10 days, and he’s out of the Classic.

— Joe Frisaro