April 2009

Delay prompting Marlin reaction

The delay the Mets used to get pinch-hitter Omir Santos to the plate in the ninth inning on Wednesday at Citi Field is not going away without a Marlin reaction.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez on Thursday said the organization is in the process of contacting Major League Baseball for a response on what action could have been taken by the umpires.

“We, the Marlins, will talk to Major League Baseball because it could happen to somebody else,” Gonzalez said. “Just to make them aware. I don’t know if they could do something. I don’t know if they could put a clock on it. I don’t know. To go to the extreme of striking the guy out, without him being there.”

Baseball does have “pace of the game” rules. But to the Marlins knowledge, that applies, for example, when a player is on deck and he is taking too long to get into the batter’s box. If a delay is taking too long, an umpire could start having strikes called on the batter, even if no one is in the box.

On Wednesday, Santos was being called upon to pinch-hit for Ramon Castro with two outs and the bases loaded. Santos was in the bullpen warming up pitchers, and it took him several minutes to arrive to the dugout to get ready to hit.

Meanwhile, closer Matt Lindstrom was left on the mound. The umpires tried to hurry up the action, and Lindstrom was told he could throw a few warmup pitches.

The Marlins held on to win, 4-3, when Santos lifted a routine pop that was collected by shortstop Alfredo Amezaga for the final out.

The Marlins were worried that Lindstrom was being iced on the mound.

— Joe Frisaro


Hanley still hurting

Hanley Ramirez walked slowly to the batting cages behind the outfield wall at Wrigley Field. The All-Star shortstop took a few easy swings. The verdict?

“Not good,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez’s sore right hand still doesn’t feel right. So the Marlins once again will be without their 25-year-old sensation.

Ramirez is still hurting from being pegged on the right hand by a John Maine fastball on Monday when the Marlins were in New York.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was hopeful that Ramirez would be back on Thursday. Now, he will wait and see if Friday is more realistic. If it isn’t, then sometime during the four-game series with the Cubs.

What was encouraging in warmups on Thursday is Ramirez fielded some grounders at shortstop and he made throws to first base.

— Joe Frisaro

Kensing dealt to Nationals

Logan Kensing, who was designated for assignment on April 25, has been traded to the Nationals for Minor League pitcher Kyle Gunderson.

The 26-year-old Kensing made six relief appearances for Florida, and he was 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA. He was designated last Saturday, after he suffered the loss to the Phillies. He gave up two runs on four  hits in the 10th inning of that game.

Gunderson, a right-hander, has been assigned to Class A Jupiter.

— Joe Frisaro  


Marlins@School program

It’s that time of year for the Marlins@School program.

Details on the program that features the team reaching out to the South Florida area are in the community second of the www.marlins.com. Schools that are interested are encouraged to sign up soon.

The online program provides elementary school teachers, grade 4 through 6, with the opportunity to win a classroom visit by Marlins players, coaches, broadcasters and front office staff during Marlins@School Week (May 18 – 22).

For the seventh consecutive season, this online curriculum-enhancing teaching instrument assists educators in teaching Florida’s required standards on the following subjects: Language Arts, Science, Mathematics, Physical Education, and Geography. All five web-based chapters comply with FCAT requirements and are centered around six of the 2009 Marlins players as well as the Marlins Manager.

This downloadable program is designed to enrich the education of children by using the excitement and relevance of baseball as an additional teaching method. The program is available at no cost to all teachers and is accessible through the official Marlins@School website, www.marlinsatschool.com.

— Joe Frisaro

Hanley still sore

With his right hand still swollen, Hanley Ramirez as expected was not in the Marlins lineup on Tuesday night.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez called it “50/50” that Ramirez would be back on Wednesday in the afternoon affair with the Mets. Realistically, that may be pushing it.  

The good news is the All-Star shortstop is feeling a bit better. Ramirez was pegged on the side of his right hand on Monday night by a John Maine 94 mph fastball. There still is swelling, but Ramirez is able to move his hand pretty good.

“It still hurts,” Ramirez said. “It’s a little better. I want to make sure I’m 100 percent. When I feel I can go, I can go.”

— Joe Frisaro 

Regis to throw out first pitch

From time to time on his daily show — Live! With Regis and Kelly — Regis Philbin talks up the Marlins.

On May 4, Philbin will give some of his time to the club. That day, Philbin will toss out the ceremonial first pitch at Dolphin Stadium before Florida’s game with the Reds.

A year ago, Philbin jumped on the Marlins bandwagon early, saying they would be a team to watch. Florida responded with an 84-77 season, and a third place finish. The Marlins last year sent the celebrity host a package of team items, including a cap and a customized jersey.

— Joe Frisaro

Gaby Sanchez at third?

If Emilio Bonifacio’s offensive struggles continue, the organization has no shortage of third base candidates — at the big league and Minor League levels.

Based on where he’s played in recent days, prospect Gaby Sanchez also could be in the mix. Sanchez, who entered Spring Training as the front runner to win the first base job, has played third base for Triple-A New Orleans the past two days.

Chris Coghlan has been getting most of the work at third. Sanchez has seen action at third base before, but in recent years, first base has become his primary position.

Sanchez is hitting .313 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 17 games. 

Would the Marlins promote Sanchez in place of Bonifacio in the near future? That’s an option. Or the team could move first baseman Jorge Cantu back to third base, where he played last year, and use Sanchez at first.

Promoting the left-handed hitting Coghlan also could be a consideration.

In terms of relief pitching, right-hander Carlos Martinez is off to a terrific start. In 8 1/3 innings, he has nine strikeouts with three walks.

— Joe Frisaro


Citi Field tour



Our thanks to the Mets for taking the South Florida broadcasters and beat reporters on a tour of Citi Field on Monday. The place is really spectacular. Has similarities to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

Pictured above is the old apple that popped up on home runs at Shea Stadium, which is now a parking lot. That apple is well behind the outfield wall, but it is a reminder of the Mets old home.

The Marlins, of course, will be opening a new park in 2012. Unlike Citi Field, which has a retro baseball theme, the Florida’s retractable-roof stadium will be more contemporary.

— Joe Frisaro

Hanley to miss Tuesday

The Marlins entered Monday’s series with the Mets riding a six-game losing streak.

Now the team is dealing with the prospect of Hanley Ramirez being hurt.

In the first inning, Ramirez was plunked on the right hand/wrist by a 94 mph John Maine fastball.

An X-ray came back negative, and Ramirez is listed as day-to-day with a sore right hand.

Ramirez said he will definitely not play on Tuesday. He also didn’t think Maine hit him intentionally.

“I know they’re not going to miss a pitch over the plate,” Ramirez said. “If they’re going to miss, they’re going to hit somebody. That’s what they’re supposed to do. They’re fighting. There is nothing you can do, and I can’t control that.”

In an eight-pitch showdown with Maine, Ramirez had worked the count full when he was struck hard on the wrist. Clearly in pain, the 25-year-old All-Star drifted toward the Marlins dugout, and he was tended to by assistant trainer Mike Kozak.

Ramirez didn’t make an attempt to go to first base. Instead, he was immediately replaced by pinch-runner Ross Gload.

Ramirez entered with an eight-game hitting streak.

— Joe Frisaro

Kensing designated

In the 10th inning on Saturday night, Logan Kensing gave up two runs on four hits, and he was tagged with the Marlins loss to the Phillies.

After the game, the 26-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment.

The move was made to make room for left-hander Graham Taylor, who had his contract selected from Double-A Jacksonville. Taylor will make his Major League debut on Sunday, getting the starting nod in the series finale with the Phillies.

A second-round pick in 2003, Kensing appeared in six games for the Marlins, and his ERA was 9.82.

— Joe Frisaro