May 2009

Bonifacio back leading off

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez gave serious thought to hitting Chris Coghlan leadoff again on Tuesday, but ultimately opted to go with Emilio Bonifacio.

So after being given Monday off, Bonifacio was back in his familiar leadoff spot, while Coghlan was slotted eighth.

“Boni’s speed is his weapon,” Gonzalez said. “You put him in the eight hole and you kind of negate that.”

The feeling is Coghlan, a pure hitter, will be able to handle batting in front of the pitcher.

Gonzalez added that Coghlan is a second option to lead off on days Bonifacio doesn’t.

Tuesday’s lineup:

1) Bonifacio, 3B

2) Hermida, RF

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Baker, C

6) Uggla, 2B

7) Ross, CF

8) Coghlan, LF

9) Miller, P

Gonzalez is hoping to stay away from using relievers Dan Meyer and Matt Lindstrom on Tuesday. Kiko Calero is a candidate to close if Lindstrom isn’t used.

Also of note, Baker’s right leg, below the knee, has huge scrape marks. He had the skin torn off in the area when he was thrown out sliding into home plate on Sunday against Tampa Bay.

— Joe Frisaro

Homecoming of sorts for Meyer

Marlins lefty reliever Dan Meyer, who attended Kingsway Regional High School in South Jersey, remains a die-hard Eagles fan.

As a kid, he attended about five to 10 Phillies games a year at Veterans Stadium.

On Monday, Meyer left about 15 tickets for friends and family members. Additionally, a number of other friends were on hand. It was to the point where Meyer alerted his teammates in the bullpen to brace for some heckling when they were warming up.

Through his experiences at Philadelphia sporting events, Meyer has learned to expect anything.

“I remember when they booed Santa Claus,” Meyer said. “I was 8 and I was watching it on TV.”

Meyer once had a moment when he was younger where he shouted some things he wishes he hadn’t at Randy Johnson. At The Vet, Johnson was warming up and Meyer was seeking an autograph.

“It’s kind of an embarrassing story,” Meyer said. “I was a 9-year-old kid, and I wanted a baseball. I wanted him to sign it for me, and he was doing his work. Now, I can understand. But at time, he was trying to run and stuff, and I went from being the nice kid to yelling at him.”

— Joe Frisaro


Badenhop to start Wednesday

The Marlins have decided on who to start on Wednesday at Philadelphia.

Burke Badenhop will make his first start of the season. The right-hander has thrown out of the bullpen in long relief since he was called up from Triple-A New Orleans.

A sinkerball pitcher, the Marlins are hoping he can get his share of groundball outs in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.

How long Badenhop can go is up in the air. He did make two starts at Triple-A, but those came in early April.

His longest outing with the Marlins has been 3 2/3 innings and 53 pitches, last Wednesday against Arizona.

— Joe Frisaro

Coghlan leading off

Marlins have shuffled the lineup on Monday against Jamie Moyer.


1) Coghlan, LF

2) Hermida, RF

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Helms, 3B

6) Uggla, 2B

7) Ross, CF

8) Paulino, C

9) Volstad, P

— Joe Frisaro

Pinto placed on DL

Marlins left-handed reliever Renyel Pinto has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation, retroactive to May 23.

Taking Pinto’s place on the roster is right-hander Cristhian Martinez, who was recalled from Double-A Jacksonville.

Pinto has been one of the most heavily used pitchers in baseball this season. The lefty has appeared in 24 games, which is tied with Toronto’s Jesse Carlson for the second most appearances in the Major Leagues.

Florida’s Kiko Calero has appeared in an MLB most 27 games.

Pinto’s record is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA over 21 1/3 innings. He’s struck out 20 and walked 12.

— Joe Frisaro


Mistakes adding up

Until the ninth inning on Saturday night, the Marlins and Rays were playing a pretty competitive game.

Tampa Bay, however, blew it up open with six runs in the ninth inning. The Marlins ended up losing 10-3.

The way the Marlins lost was especially frustrating. In all, Marlins pitching walked nine, hit a batter and issued a walk. In the field, they committed three errors.

According to Elias, the last time an MLB team walked at least nine, hit a batter, recorded a balk, committed three or more errors and allowed 10 runs came in 1998. That year, the Mets did it in a 10-5 loss to the Cardinals on Aug. 21.

— Joe Frisaro

Amezaga still resting

Alfredo Amezaga, on the disabled list with a left knee contusion, still has not doing any baseball-related activities.

Amezaga said on Saturday that the knee still pinches from time-to-time. An MRI revealed a bone bruise, something the versatile utility player has never dealt with.

The Marlins placed Amezaga on the DL on May 21, retro to May 17. For now, he is doing extensive icing of the knee, and he’s riding the stationary bike.

— Joe Frisaro

Getting Ricky back on track

Sometimes a step backwards is all that is needed to move forward.

The Marlins are hoping that is the case with Ricky Nolasco, their Opening Day starter who was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans after Friday’s 15-2 loss to the Rays.

In nine starts, Nolasco was 2-5 with a 9.07 ERA, and he gave up eight runs in two innings against the Rays before he was optioned.

Best case scenario is Nolasco makes two starts with the Zephyrs, and he’s right back with the Marlins. Pitching coach Mark Wiley said on Saturday that’s his hope, but he noted there is no timetable.

Technically, a player optioned has to spend 10 days in the Minor Leagues before getting called back up again. That would change if there is a disabled list situation.

Nolasco will make at least two starts for New Orleans, and the Marlins have a plan of things they want him to work on while he is regaining his form. A top priority is getting the right-hander to regain command of his fastball, along with a boost in his confidence.

“I think he was putting pressure on himself to do well,” Wiley said. “He was over-throwing pitches, and kind of losing a little bit of his mechanics.”

A year ago, when Nolasco was 15-8, he was one of the top command pitchers in the National League. He attacked hitters, and worked his array of off-speed and breaking pitches off a crisp fastball.

This year, he’s been hurt with runners in scoring position. In those situations, his ERA is 16.88.

Before sending him down, the Marlins worked on just about everything imaginable to get the right-hander right. Some days he did two sessions with Wiley. His delivery was tinkered with. At times he was lifting his leg too high, and other times his elbow was dropping too low.

“Pitching is kind of a funny thing,” Wiley said. “The difference in throwing really well and really bad could just be a rhythm issue. Where you’re not trying to do too much. You’re just making quality pitches.

 “If you look throughout the history of baseball, it’s all about confidence. Confidence, performing well, and doing what you’re supposed to do. Getting comfortable within yourself, and not trying do too much. Not trying to overcompensate and overanalyze things.”

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins lineup vs. Rays

The Marlins will try to even the series on Saturday against the Rays with this lineup:

1) Bonifacio, 3B

2) Hermida, RF

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Uggla, 2B

6) Ross, CF

7) Paulino, C

8) Coghlan, LF

9) West, P

— Joe Frisaro

Marlins option Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco, Florida’s Opening Day starter and a 15-game winner last year, was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans after Friday night’s 15-2 loss to the Rays.

Nolasco worked two innings and gave up eight runs to Tampa Bay, as his record fell to 2-5 and his ERA rose to 9.07.

The Marlins on Saturday will select the contract of left-hander Sean West from Double-A Jacksonville. West will make his Major League debut and face the Rays in the second game of the series.

In other moves, lefty reliever Dave Davidson was designated for assignment, and right-hander Chris Leroux was recalled from Double-A.

— Joe Frisaro