July 2009

Ayala absent on Monday

The Marlins will be without reliever Luis Ayala on Monday night at San Diego.

The veteran right-hander returned to his home in Arizona to be with his wife, who gave birth to a baby boy when the Marlins were traveling to San Diego after Sunday’s game in Miami.

Ayala is expected to rejoin the team on Tuesday.

Florida’s bullpen already is thin after six relievers combined to throw 5 1/3 innings in Sunday’s 5-0 loss to the Phillies.

The Marlins are currently carrying 13 pitchers, and the team likely will keep that number, at least through the rest of the road trip, which begins in San Diego on Monday and wraps up in Los Angeles on Sunday.

— Joe Frisaro



Marlins-Padres lineups

The Marlins lineup has a little wrinkle in it on Monday night at San Diego. For the first time this year, Dan Uggla is slotted in the seventh spot. Uggla has mostly hit fifth or sixth.

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Boni, 3B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Hermida, RF

6) Ross, CF

7) Uggla, 2B

8) Baker, C

9) VandenHurk, P

Padres lineup:

1) Everth Cabrera, SS

2) Tony Gwynn, CF

3) Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

4) Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B

5) Chase Headley, LF

6) Will Venable, RF

7) Luis Rodriguez, 2B

8) Jose Lobaton, C

9) Tim Stauffer, P

— Joe Frisaro


VandenHurk officially added

After Sunday’s loss to the Phillies, the Marlins announced right-hander Rick VandenHurk would make the start on Monday at San Diego.

The transaction became official on Monday morning, Pacific Coast Time.

VandenHurk was called up from Triple-A New Orleans, where he was 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA in nine starts. Optioned to Triple-A was infielder Andy Gonzalez, meaning the Marlins are going with 13 pitchers and 12 position players.

The 24-year-old VandenHurk opened the season on the disabled list with a right elbow injury. He pitched for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

This will be the right-hander’s first MLB appearance of the season and 23rd game in his big league career, including 22 starts.

The 6-foot-5 VandenHurk made four starts for Florida in 2008, going 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA. He opened the season as the Marlins No. 2 starter, but struggled early. He was optioned to Double-A after two starts, and his ’08 season was marred by an elbow injury.

VandenHurk will have a chance to solidify the No. 5 spot in the rotation. This will be his first appearance against the Padres.

— Joe Frisaro


Monday starter uncertain

Scratch Burke Badenhop off the list of potential starting pitchers for Monday night at San Diego.

After tossing two innings, and being tagged with the loss, on Friday night against the Phillies, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez ruled out using Badenhop in the series opener with the Padres at PETCO Park.

“We probably wouldn’t use Badenhop,” Gonzalez said.

The next option could be Rick VandenHurk, who is at Triple-A New Orleans. A decision is expected on Sunday.

VandenHurk has big league experience, but he has yet to pitch for Florida this season. He opened the year on the disabled list with right elbow inflammation. He pitched in the World Baseball Classic for the Netherlands.

VandenHurk has enjoyed success at New Orleans, posting a 4-1 record with a 2.77 ERA in nine starts. The right-hander last pitched on Thursday, but his outing was cut short to three innings, which basically means it was a tuneup to be ready to go on Monday.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins Saturday lineup

Marlins center fielder Cody Ross was bothered by flu-like symptoms on Friday, and he still played all 12 innings in a 6-5 loss to the Phillies.

On Saturday, Ross was given a breather. Brett Carroll made his first start of the season in center field.

The Marlins lineup on Saturday:

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Boni, 3B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Hermida, RF

6) Uggla, 2B

7) Baker, C

8) Carroll, CF

9) Johnson, P

Phillies lineup:

1) Rollins, SS

2) Victorino, CF

3) Utley, 2B

4) Howard, 1B

5) Ibanez, LF

6) Dobbs, RF

7) Feliz, 3B

8) Bako, C

9) Blanton, P

— Joe Frisaro


Rainy day in Miami


Groundbreaking set for Saturday


One of the most anticipated days in franchise history will take place on Saturday.

The much-anticipated ceremonial groundbreaking is slated from 10 a.m. to noon on the Orange Bowl grounds in the Little Havana section of Miami.

Open free to the public, fans are encouraged to arrive early to witness the festivities on the site of the future home of the Marlins. The first 1,000 fans will receive a coupon for a ballpark-style lunch and a commemorative groundbreaking pin.

The ceremonial portion of the event will begin at 11 a.m., and it will feature the unveiling of videos and renderings of the new ballpark. The hosts of the event will be broadcasters Dave Van Horne and Felo Ramirez.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig will be among the VIPs at the event, as will be officials from Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami.

A ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Charlie Hough to Benito Santiago, the “battery” in the franchise’s inaugural game in 1993.

Groundbreaking will feature entertainment and refreshments for fans.

The new ballpark is scheduled to open in 2012, and the retractable-roof facility will seat 37,000.

— Joe Frisaro

Rotation possibilities

The Marlins have yet to announce their starting pitcher for July 20 at San Diego. One reason is the team is weighing a number of possibilities.

“It all depends on the next three days,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’re looking at different scenarios.”

One option is to stay with what the team already has. Long reliever Burke Badenhop has made one start this season, but he’s been effective in a long relief role. The Marlins like him in that role, but this could be a one-start situation. The team could go with Badenhop in the opener with the Padres on Monday.

A second option is to dip into the Minor League system. Rick VandenHurk, at Triple-A New Orleans, had an abbreviated three-inning start on Thursday. If the team wanted, it could bring up the right-hander, who has big league experience in the past.

At New Orleans, VandenHurk is 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA in nine starts.

There is another factor in play, too. The Marlins have off days on July 23 and July 27. Because of those two days, besides Monday, they wouldn’t need a fifth starter until Aug. 1 at home against the Cubs.

Chris Volstad is lined up for Tuesday in San Diego, and the order after the 6-foot-8 right-hander is Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson and Andrew Miller. Those four could stay in order through July 31, a Friday night home game with the Cubs.

If the team waits until Aug. 1 for the fifth starter, Sean West, optioned to Double-A after last Saturday’s game in Arizona, could work himself back into the mix.

— Joe Frisaro



Marlins Friday lineup

A night after being limited to one hit in a 4-0 shutout loss to the Phillies, the Marlins on Friday shuffled up their lineup.

Dan Uggla and Jeremy Hermida were out of the lineup against lefty Cole Hamels. Andy Gonzalez made his first start as a Marlin, getting the nod at third base and batting eighth. Emilio Bonifacio started at second base. On May 2 at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, Bonifacio also started at second, his natural position.

Hermida is 4-for-19 (.211) with two home runs off Hamels, while Uggla is 3-for-23 (.130). Wes Helms was going to get the start at third base, but the veteran was slowed by flu-like symptoms. He could be available to pinch-hit.

Friday’s lineup:

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Boni, 2B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Ross, CF

6) Paulino, C

7) Carroll, RF

8) Gonzalez, 3B

9) Nolasco, P

— Joe Frisaro



Groundbreaking on Saturday

A lot of attention is being paid to the Marlins’ four-game series this weekend with the Phillies, and for good reason.

Entering Thursday night four-games out, the Marlins have a prime opportunity to make up ground in the N.L. East. There is a playoff-like atmosphere for the franchise in the series. 

During the next four days, there also will be a historical event regarding the long-term future of the franchise.

From 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Marlins’ new stadium will take place on the Orange Bowl grounds in the Little Havana section of Miami. The July 18 groundbreaking is open to the public, free of charge.

Those planning on attending are encouraged to arrive early.

— Joe Frisaro