June 2009

Tuesdays lineups vs. Nationals

Jeremy Hermida was back in the starting lineup with Washington going with right-hander Craig Stammen.

Here’s the lineups for Florida and Washington at Land Shark Stadium:


1) Coghlan, LF

2) Bonifacio, 3B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Hermida, RF

6) Uggla, 2B

7) Ross, CF

8) Baker, C

9) West, P


1) Guzman, SS

2) Johnson, 1B

3) Zimmerman, 3B

4) Dunn, LF

5) Willingham, RF

6) Dukes, CF

7) Gonzalez, 2B

8) Nieves, C

9) Stammen, P

— Joe Frisaro


Lindstrom's road to recovery

There is a chance Matt Lindstrom could begin a throwing routine as early as Friday.

Lindstrom had his right elbow re-examined by the Marlins medical staff on Monday, and some of the inflammation in his throwing arm is subsiding. He is encouraged by his progress thus far.

The Marlins placed Lindstrom on the disabled list on June 24 with a right elbow sprain. He is expected to be out four to six weeks. When he starts throwing, it will be basically catch off flat ground, and eventually he’d progress back to throwing off the mound.

Lindstrom has appeared in 32 games, and he has 14 saves in 16 chances. However, of late, he’s struggled with his command. In 29 innings pitched, he’s struck out 26 while walking 20.

For about three weeks prior to going on the DL, he felt some discomfort in his forearm and elbow.

With Lindstrom on the disabled list, manager Fredi Gonzalez is mixing and matching on his closer.

Leo Nunez collected the save in Monday’s 4-2 win over Washington. Nunez, however, faced one batter in the inning, but he recorded the final out when Josh Willingham lined a fly ball to center field.

Dan Meyer opened the ninth inning, and the left-hander recorded two outs, but also yielded two singles. Meyer has one save on the season, while Nunez has two.

— Joe Frisaro



Marlins Monday lineup

For Monday against Washington lefty Scott Olsen, the Marlins have a primarily right-handed hitting lineup.

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Boni, 3B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Uggla, 2B

6) Ross, CF

7) Paulino, C

8) Carroll, RF

9) Nolasco, P

— Joe Frisaro


Hanley driving in runs

Any doubts about Hanley Ramirez’s ability to drive in runs are now being put to rest.

Solidifying the No. 3 spot in the lineup, the Marlins 25-year-old All-Star shortstop is on sizzling RBI streak. Since 21, he has driven in at least one run in seven straight games. Over that span, his total is 17, including four home runs.

Ramirez now has a team high 51 RBIs to go along with his .333 batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .548 slugging percentage.

Until this season, Ramirez was primarily Florida’s leadoff hitter. In that role, he was a run scorer. The past two seasons, he scored 125 times in each season, which matched his franchise record. He also led the Major Leagues in runs scored in 2008, a first ever by a Marlin.

The question this year was how would Ramirez adapt to batting third? 

His career most for RBIs is 81 in 2007.

We’re seeing the answers. Ramirez is on pace for 107 RBIs this year. He also has 24 doubles this year, putting him on pace for 51, which would establish a franchise record. In 2006, Miguel Cabrera had 50.

This year, Ramirez has been especially dangerous with men on base. With the bases empty, he’s hitting .286. But with runners on, he is hitting at a blistering .392 clip, including .433 with runners in scoring position. With the bases loaded, he’s 4-for-6 (.667) with three grand slams.

— Joe Frisaro





Curtain call for Hanley


Photo by Robert Vigon/Florida Marlins

Hanley Ramirez gives a curtain call after his grand slam in the eighth inning on Thursday night against the Orioles.

The slam was Ramirez’s third of the season, and second in the series. He now ties the club record for a season with Cody Ross, who also has three this year. Jeff Conine (2004) and Bobby Bonilla (1997) also previously had three.

Ramirez entered the year without connecting a slam. In the three games with the Orioles, Ramirez had 11 RBIs, giving him a team most 47.

— Joe Frisaro


J.J.-Bartlett's Oklahoma connection

On Friday night, Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson is expected to pitch to Tampa Bay’s Jason Bartlett. Aside from being competitors, these two have a little history, dating back to Oklahoma.

Johnson, Florida’s ace pitcher, used to watch Bartlett play baseball at the University of Oklahoma.

In fact, Bartlett was a college teammate of Johnson’s older brother, Tyler, an outfielder at OU from 2001-03.

Tyler, listed at 6-foot-3, 220-pounds during his college days, was two school years ahead of Josh, who is now making a strong case to become a National League All-Star.

The Marlins drafted Johnson in the fourth round in 2002. Had the right-hander not signed with Florida, he planned on attending OU to be on the same team with his brother.

Many times Johnson watched the Sooners play, and he saw Bartlett at the college level before he became a big league shortstop. Greg Dobbs of the Phillies also played at OU at the time.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins seeking bullpen help

With Matt Lindstrom on the disabled list, and Leo Nunez dealing with a right ankle sprain, it’s no secret that the Marlins are exploring bullpen help.

Kiko Calero also is on the disabled with with right shoulder inflammation, but he is expected back around July 3.

Already, a couple of names have been floated out there in speculation. Right-hander Luis Ayala was designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday after he appeared in 28 games.

According to an American League scout who saw Ayala pitch recently: “He’s done. He’s got nothing left.”

The scout added that he wouldn’t recommend Ayala to his organization. That doesn’t mean the Marlins share the same point of view. The scout noted that Ayala is a Calero-type pitcher, meaning he throws a fastball and slider and has a similar style. Calero has been effective for Florida.

In his last outing, on June 20, Ayala’s fastball was between 89-91 mph.

LaTroy Hawkins of the Astros is another right-hander who may be available through a trade.

The trouble the Marlins are facing is every contending team is in the same boat — they all want relief help. For the candidates who might be available, the price is expected to be high.

The Marlins alternatives are to stay with what they have, patch the pen together until Lindstrom returns in four to six weeks, or try to catch lightning in the bottle with a journeyman such as Ayala. Typically, the Marlins won’t take on money if the player they are bringing in is not a real upgrade over what they already have.

If they are more creative, the Marlins may end up dealing away a regular and look to make a bigger impact. In 2004, Florida put together a deal that included Brad Penny and they acquired from the Dodgers Paul Lo Duca, Juan Encarnacion and Guillermo Mota.

The Marlins could offer either outfielder Jeremy Hermida or Cody Ross — both arbitration-eligible — in hopes of luring in a veteran reliever. With Cameron Maybin playing better at Triple-A New Orleans, he could fill center field if the Marlins opt to deal a regular.

In the meantime, the team will explore all possibilities.

— Joe Frisaro


Nunez will get closer look

Dan Meyer got to experience the thrill of closing on Wednesday night. But what about Thursday? What if a save situation arises again, would the left-hander get the ball?

Maybe not, because that would mean he is throwing in three straight games. Also, the Marlins are leaning toward giving right-hander Leo Nunez, who has been regularly working the eighth inning, the chance to close.

“When Nunez is ready to go, I think we’ll give him an opportunity to do it,” Gonzalez said. “Or Meyer. Maybe Nunie goes two days in a row, and Danny goes the next day. We’ve got at least four weeks to figure it out and use both of those guys.”

Nunez was unavailable in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the Orioles because of a right ankle sprain. The team is being cautious with him. But all things being equal, Nunez should get most of the saves chances now that Matt Lindstrom is on the disabled list with a right elbow sprain.

Lindstrom has been told not to throw for about four weeks, and he could be out as long as six weeks.

— Joe Frisaro


Lindstrom on disabled list

The Marlins on Wednesday afternoon placed right-hander Matt Lindstrom on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow sprain.

The hard-throwing right-hander is on a no-throw status for four weeks. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the team would mix and match the closer spot. Leo Nunez, Dan Meyer and Brian Sanches are closer options.

Replacing Lindstrom is right-hander Chris Leroux, who was called up from Double-A Jacksonville.

Late after Tuesday night’s 7-6 win in 12 innings over the Orioles, Lindstrom said he felt soreness in his forearm area, and it affected the command of his slider. Lindstrom was throwing 98 mph.

Lindstrom struggled in the ninth inning on Tuesday. He entered with Florida ahead, 6-3, but with two outs and no one on, he allowed four straight singles. Lindstrom was relieved by Sanches, who allowed the game-tying single.

Nunez also is dealing with a sprained ankle, but he said on Wednesday that he is ready to pitch.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins Wednesday lineup

The Marlins lineup on Wednesday against the Orioles looked pretty similar to Tuesday. No significant changes:

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Boni, 3B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Hermida, RF

6) Uggla, 2B

7) Ross, CF

8) Baker, C

9) Nolasco, P

— Joe Frisaro