March 2009

Marlins make roster moves

As noted in the earlier blog item, Zach Kroenke wasn’t expected to make the team. And on Monday, the Marlins returned the lefty to Yankees.

A Rule 5 claim in December, Kroenke now heads back to New York. The cost to bring him in a few months is $25,000. It would have been $50,000 had he made the Marlins.

In other moves made on Monday, right-hander Dallas Trahern was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. Right-hander Chris Leroux was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville. Lefty Aaron Thompson was reassigned to Minor League camp.

— Joe Frisaro

Weighing decision on Kroenke

The Marlins are weighing what to do with lefty Zach Kroenke. A Rule 5 pick from the Yankees system in December, Kroenke has to make the club or be offered back to New York.

Indications are he won’t make Florida’s Opening Day roster. But that doesn’t automatically mean he can’t remain in Florida’s system.

Some options the Marlins have are: They can place the left-handed reliever on waivers and see if someone claims him. If a team does, though, Kroenke would have to make their club, or be offered back to New York.

Another scenario, Kroenke could be offered back to New York, but the Yankees could say they don’t want him. In that case, Kroenke could remain with the Marlins and be optioned to the Minor Leagues.

In two Grapefruit League appearances, he has one total inning, allowing seven runs while walking four and allowing four hits.

Rule 5 claims who make the team that draft him cost $50,000. Those who don’t and return to their original club cost the drafting club $25,000.

— Joe Frisaro

Lindstrom has sore shoulder

Closer Matt Lindstrom has a sore right shoulder, and he will undergo an MRI on Monday.

Most likely, he is done pitching for Team USA. The bigger concern now is the regular season.

In the eighth inning on Sunday against the Netherlands, he was lifted with two outs because of the shoulder discomfort.

Lindstrom began stretching his right side during a sequence with Sharnol Adriana, who lifted a sacrifice fly to right field. Lindstrom gave up a homer to Bryan Engelhardt in the inning, and he nearly caused a bench-clearing incident when his fastball to Vince Rooi sailed to the screen.

Lindstrom has experienced back tightness the past few years. But this time it is his shoulder.

— Joe Frisaro


Eyes on Pudge

As expected, a lot of scouts are on hand for the World Baseball Classic in Miami.

On the Ivan Rodriguez front, the Marlins remain a frontrunner, but there definitely is competition. The Twins, with Joe Mauer getting a second opinion on a back ailment, is a team that has interest.

If Mauer is only out for a little bit, though, they may not be a favorite to land Pudge. The Astros have a need behind the plate, but indications are Houston’s front office isn’t as interested.

The Marlins are well positioned, and the team is definitely following him closely in the Classic.

— Joe Frisaro

Pudge's market opening up

For the first time since winning the World Series in 2003, Pudge Rodriguez was back at Dolphin Stadium on Friday. The 37-year-old catcher playing for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic was in high demand.

Pudge addressed his chances of signing with the Marlins, and he noted that “communication” has been on-going with the team and his agent, Scott Boras. Pudge added that he wants to play, and he would be open to seeing some action at either first base or third base.

Clearly, playing time is part of the equation. With John Baker as the Marlins starter, Rodriguez would have to compete for his playing time. Nothing is guaranteed, but he would be hard pressed to find a starting job anywhere else.

Jon Heyman of reports on Friday night that the Giants and Twins also are interested in Pudge, joining the Marlins and Astros.

The Marlins are monitoring Rodriguez closely at the World Baseball Classic. The team is strongly considering signing him.

An 18-year veteran, Rodriguez has 2,605 career hits. He would like to reach 3,000, and to do so, obviously, he would need to play a few more seasons and see ample playing time.

His fit with the Marlins this year would be similar in some ways to 2003. Back then, he didn’t have much interest elsewhere, and both sides profited by his arrival. Rodriguez helped Florida win a World Series title, and he made himself marketable enough for a four-year, $40 million contract with Detroit.

If he signed with the Marlins this year, it again would be a one-year deal to position himself for a multiyear contract beginning in 2010.

— Joe Frisaro

Marlins first cuts

The Marlins made their first significant roster moves on Friday morning.

Veteran outfielder Jay Gibbons was released, ending his quest to hook on with the club after he last played in the big leagues in 2007.

Assigned to Minor League camp are: RHP Michael Wood, RHP Jose Ceda, C Miguel Fermin, C Kyle Skipworth, 3B Matt Dominguez and OF Michael Stanton.

The team also optioned OF Jai Miller to Triple-A New Orleans.

— Joe Frisaro

Amezaga out 4-6 weeks

A left knee sprain will keep versatile Alfredo Amezaga out four-to-six weeks.

Amezaga was examined in Miami on Tuesday by Dr. Lee Kaplan. The injury occurred while Amezaga was playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. On Sunday night, Amezaga went 2-for-5 against Australia. After the game, he felt stiffness in his left knee.

He returned to Miami on Monday, and saw the doctor on Tuesday.

With Amezaga out, Robert Andino and Emilio Bonifacio are candidates to fill his role as a all-purpose ultility player.

— Joe Frisaro


Lindsey living a dream

I wrote a story today about journeyman first baseman John Lindsey. I hope people read it, because, to me, John Lindsey is as much a Spring Training story as Hanley Ramirez.

Because for every Hanley Ramirez, who is expected to help the Marlins win, there are countless guys like John Lindsey, who want that chance to be a big leaguer.

If you not aware of John Lindsey, you’re not alone. He’s a 32-year-old first baseman who still is looking for his first big league chance. He was drafted in 1995, and is expected to open his 14th straight season in the Minor Leagues.

From what I’ve gathered in camp, he’s a classy guy, who is sort of a veteran leader to a lot of younger players.

Realistically, making the Opening Day roster is a long shot. But if he starts off in Triple-A, and performs, you never know if he will get that call up — even if it is for a few days.

Lindsey is continuing to pursue his dream, and it is easy to cheer for him.

After all, there is a lot of John Lindsey in all of us.

— Joe Frisaro

Proctor checks out OK

Some more good news for reliever Scott Proctor.

An X-ray taken on Monday came back negative, re-affirming there is no structural damage in the right-hander’s throwing elbow.

Proctor expects to pick up his throwing program on Thursday, and he is eager to get back to action.

The Marlins are counting on Proctor to be a key contributor in a late-inning setup role. He has appeared in one Grapefruit League game thus far, throwing a scoreless inning.

— Joe Frisaro

What's going on with Pudge

Quite simply, the Marlins have had very strong interest in Ivan Rodriguez for more than a week.

The team has had discussions with Pudge’s agent, Scott Boras, and the money parameters aren’t as big a holdup as opportunity. The Marlins are very high on John Baker, and Pudge wants to know he will have ample chances to play.

The bottom line is the Marlins can’t offer guarantees on how much Pudge would play compared to Baker. But the team can provide Rodriguez with the chance to compete for playing time.

There still is a strong belief that the Marlins will end up signing Rodriguez.

— Joe Frisaro