August 2009

Maybin recalled, Ayala designated

About two hours before the September call-up period began, the Marlins made some moves.

After Florida lost 5-2 to the Braves on Monday night at Land Shark Stadium, the team announced reliever Luis Ayala was designated for assignment, and center fielder Cameron Maybin was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans.

The Marlins also announced Rick VandenHurk will be recalled on Tuesday from Triple-A, and the right-hander will start against the Braves on Wednesday.

Catcher Brett Hayes also will be called up from Triple-A, and reliever Burke Badenhop will be reinstated off the disabled list and added to the roster on Tuesday.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins staying the course

The search for experienced pitching didn’t happen for the Marlins on Monday.

Brad Penny, who cleared waivers and became a free agent on Monday, signed with the Giants. The Marlins had been hopeful to obtain the veteran right-hander who was part of their 2003 World Series title team.

Penny was released by Boston and the Giants moved to the forefront as they seek to overtake the Rockies in the Wild Card race.

A few weeks ago, the Marlins also expressed in John Smoltz, who signed with the Cardinals.

By midnight Sept. 1, all teams must set their postseason rosters. Barring a trade before midnight, the Marlins are staying the course with players already in their organization.

The Marlins entered Monday tied with the Braves for second place in the N.L. East. Both teams are 3 1/2 games behind the Rockies and Giants, who are now tied for the Wild Card lead.

On Tuesday, rosters expand as the September call-up period begins.

“You’re going to have some guys coming up, to help with pinch-running, to help with defense, to help with pinch-hitting when you may want to save a guy until the later innings,” veteran Wes Helms said. “September helps out with those things. It keeps guys fresh. It’s going to be fun. We’re in a good position right now. We got a little lucky with Colorado getting beaten. We’re 3 1/2 games, and that’s very reachable as long as we do what we need to do.”

Manager Fredi Gonzalez noted that reliever Burke Badenhop will be a probable call-up on Tuesday. The team also is looking for a third catcher, and Brett Hayes at Triple-A New Orleans is expected to come up, if not on Tuesday then soon afterwards.

Rick VandenHurk, the probable starter for Wednesday against the Braves, also should be joining the team. If not on Tuesday, then by Wednesday.

— Joe Frisaro


Johnson going on rehab assignment

Marlins first baseman Nick Johnson, on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, will be going on a rehab assignment for Class-A Jupiter on Tuesday.

The plan is for Johnson to play at least two games with the Hammerheads, and the first baseman may be able to join the Marlins as early as Friday at Washington.

Johnson tweaked his hamstring during the first game of a double-header with the Rockies on Aug. 16.

— Joe Frisaro


Hanley slumping?

By the lofty standards Hanley Ramirez has set, you technically can say the Marlins’ All-Star is in a “slump.”

The National League’s leading hitter is hitless over his last eight at-bats, and his average dipped to .359, after standing at .366 after Friday night’s game.

Going two straight games without a hit is a rarity for Ramirez. The last time he went three straight games without a hit was from July 31-Aug. 4, but he was 0-for-6 in this stretch. Ramirez had two one at-bat games because he was resting a left knee contusion after he was hit by a pitch on Aug. 1.

The 0-for-8 rut is Ramirez’s longest hitless stretch since he was 0-for-12 on May 20-21. The Marlins had a double-header with Arizona on May 20, and he was 0-for-9 in those two games. On the next day, he was 1-for-5. But the 25-year-old was hitless through four at-bats before breaking the slide with a double in his final at-bat.

To show how consistent Ramirez has been, he didn’t go back-to-back games without a hit in June. And in the month of July, he had three total hitless games.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins Monday lineup

The Marlins open a big series with the Braves on Monday at Land Shark Stadium. The teams are tied for second place, both eight games behind the Phillies.

Florida’s lineup for Monday:

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Gload, 1B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 3B

5) Baker, C

6) Uggla, 2B

7) Ross, CF

8) Hermida, RF

9) Johnson, P

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins-Padres Sunday lineups

Ross Gload was back in the starting lineup for the Marlins at first base on Sunday in the series finale with the Padres.


1. Everth Cabrera, SS
2. Luis Rodriguez, 2B
3. Oscar Salazar, 1B
4. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B
5. Chase Headley, LF
6. Will Venable, RF
7. Henry Blanco, C
8. Tony Gwynn, CF
9. Mat Latos, P


1. Chris Coghlan, LF
2. Ross Gload, 1B
3. Hanley Ramirez, SS
4. Jorge Cantu, 3B
5. John Baker, C
6. Dan Uggla, 2B
7. Cody Ross, CF
8. Jeremy Hermida, RF
9. Sean West, P

— Joe Frisaro


Coghlan joins elite company

Chris Coghlan now has something in common with Ichiro Suzuki and Todd Helton.

Coghlan slapped a single to center in the seventh inning on Saturday against Adam Russell of the Padres.

It was the rookie’s 45th hit in August, matching a franchise record for most hits in a month. Hanley Ramirez also has 45 hits this month.

Luis Castillo previously set the mark, collecting 45 in August in 1999.

The hit also was the most by a rookie in the big leagues since Suzuki collected 51 for Seattle in August of 2001. Coghlan’s hit total is the most by an N.L. rookie since Helton of the Rockies had 45 in August of 1998.

Here’s the Marlins most hits in a single month:

Coghlan, 45 (Aug., 2009)

Ramirez 45, (Aug. 2009)

Castillo, 45 (Aug. 1999)

Juan Pierre, 43, (Sept. 2004)

Ramirez, 43 (Sept. 2006)

Miguel Cabrera, 42 (May 2006)

Dan Uggla, 42 (May 2006)

Kevin Millar, 41, (Sept. 2002)

Terry Pendleton, 40 (Aug. 1995)

Mike Lowell, 40 (Aug. 2002)

Ramirez, 40 (June 2009)

— Joe Frisaro




Rainbow in Miami



During the rain delay from my trusty camera phone.



Volstad's rotation spot open

Now that Chris Volstad has been optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, the Marlins have a rotation opening that won’t be completely answered for a few days.

“Maybe we will have more after this weekend,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Volstad, who was sent down after Friday’s 9-5 loss to the Padres, would have been in line to throw on Wednesday, Sept. 2. against the Braves.

Internally, Rick VandenHurk may eventually get the nod. VandenHurk is pitching for Triple-A New Orleans, and his last start was on Thursday. So he would be ready to go.

Gonzalez said that the team is leaning toward keeping Burke Badenhop, who is on the disabled list, in the bullpen when he is ready to return.

Badenhop threw 3 1/3 innings in a rehab assignment in Jupiter on Friday. Badenhop is expected to be a September call-up.

The Marlins are interested in Brad Penny, who is expected to clear waivers and become a free agent on Monday. If Penny is signed, he could take the mound on Wednesday. The Red Sox recently released Penny, who also is drawing attention from the Giants and Yankees.

As for Volstad, the Marlins are looking to get the 22-year-old straigthened out. He falls in line to start for New Orleans on Wednesday. The Zephyrs’ season ends on Sept. 7, so he could get two starts at Triple-A.

“We’re kicking around what to do,” Gonzalez said.

The Marlins are looking for Volstad to regain his command and confidence. He may throw a couple of three-inning stints, or even skip pitching on Sept. 2 in hopes of refining his delivery while he clears his head.

— Joe Frisaro



Ayala, Wood recalled

A depleted bullpen picked up two fresh arms on Saturday, as the Marlins recalled from Triple-A New Orleans relievers Luis Ayala and Tim Wood.

The two right-handers were added to help preserve a bullpen that has picked up 12 2/3 innings the past two games.

Ayala and Wood were added to fill the roster spots of Chris Volstad and Gaby Sanchez. Both were optioned to Triple-A on Friday night.

Both Wood and Ayala have split time this year with the Marlins and Triple-A.

Wood has a 1-2 record with a 3.18 ERA in 31 games with New Orleans. He last threw an inning on Thursday.

Ayala has made nine appearances with New Orleans, and he last threw on Wednesday.

Rosters expand on Tuesday, and the Marlins are hoping to preserve their bullpen until then.

The Marlins are shying away from their two primary long relievers, Cristhian Martinez and Brian Sanches.

Sanches threw 2 1/3 innings on Friday, and Martinez tossed 3 1/3 innings on Thursday.

Asked who was available for long relief on Saturday against the Padres, manager Fredi Gonzalez quipped: “Don’t ask me that.”

The Marlins are hopeful starter Ricky Nolasco can go deep into the game. However, if there is a need for a reliever to throw multiple innings, both Ayala and Wood are candidates.

Gonzalez said he is hoping to avoid using Sanches the rest of the weekend.

— Joe Frisaro


— Joe Frisaro