August 2009

Marlins Wednesday lineup

With John Baker getting a breather with a stiff back, Ronny Paulino was in the starting lineup for the Marlins on Wednesday against the Mets at Land Shark Stadium.

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Gload, 1B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 3B

5) Uggla, 2B

6) Ross CF

7) Hermida, RF

8) Paulino, C

9) Johnson, P

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins lineup vs. Mets

With Nick Johnson again not in the lineup on Tuesday, it raises the likelihood that the first baseman is headed for the disabled list. Johnson has been dealing with a right hamstring sprain.

Ross Gload again got the starting nod at first base for the Marlins on Tuesday in the series opener with the Mets at Land Shark Stadium.

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) West, P

— Joe Frisaro


Martinez recalled from Double-A

For the fifth time this season, Cristhian Martinez has been recalled by the Marlins.

The latest move was anticipated after Brendan Donnelly was placed on the 15-day disabled list following Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Braves at Turner Field.

Donnelly, 38, strained his right calf while fielding Matt Diaz’s sacrifice bunt in the eighth inning.

With the Marlins bullpen already heavily used, the Marlins needed a reliever immediately. So Martinez, who was optioned to Double-A on Aug. 20, was recalled. Normally, a player optioned must stay down 10 days before being called up. The rules, however, allow a player to return if there is a disabled list situation.

Martinez was initially recalled on May 21. He’s been up and down repeatedly since. He last pitched on Thursday at Houston, throwing 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief.

Donnelly’s injury isn’t regarded as serious.

“I don’t expect him to go past 15 days,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Donnelly technically went on the DL on Saturday.

The Marlins have some other relief options ready to return. Burke Badenhop, on the DL with a right trapezius strain, retired all 14 batters he faced in 4 2/3 innings of a rehab assignment for Class A Jupiter on Saturday. Badenhop is next scheduled to throw for Class A Jupiter on Thursday. But if he is needed at the big league level, he can be brought off the DL before that.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins Sunday lineup

For the first time since Wednesday night at Houston, Jorge Cantu is in the Marlins starting lineup.

Cantu had missed three starts with a stiff neck, but he was back on Sunday in the series finale with the Braves at Turner Field. Cantu is riding an 11-game hitting streak, and he’s 7-for-8 lifetime against Derek Lowe.

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Gload, 1B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 3B

5) Uggla, 2B

6) Ross, CF

7) Hermida, RF

8) Paulino, C

9) Nolasco, P

— Joe Frisaro



Donnelly going on DL

Not wanting to chance further injury, the Marlins are placing veteran reliever Brendan Donnelly on the 15-day disabled list.

The 38-year-old right-hander strained his right calf while fielding a bunt in Florida’s 4-3 loss to the Braves at Turner Field on Saturday night.

The injury occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning. Donnelly sprinted off the mound to field Matt Diaz’s sacrifice bunt. The reliever threw across his body while he was near the first-base line. He field discomfort on the play.

Immediately manager Fredi Gonzalez and trainer Sean Cunningham came to the mound. Donnelly threw a warmup pitch, and immediately was replaced by Matt Lindstrom.

The Marlins didn’t announce who would be called up for Sunday’s series finale with the Braves. A likely choice is Double-A Jacksonville right-hander Cristhian Martinez, who was optioned on Aug. 20. Martinez is eligible to return because it is a DL situation. Normally, a player must wait 10 days after being optioned to be recalled.

— Joe Frisaro


Sanchez had no-hit stuff

As someone who has thrown a no-hitter, Anibal Sanchez understands more than most about how difficult it is not to surrender a hit in a game.

As a rookie on Sept. 6, 2006, Sanchez recorded the fourth no-hitter in Marlins history. In his 13th MLB start, the Venezuelan native made history in a 2-0 win over the Diamondbacks.

On Friday night at Turner Field, Sanchez flirted with another no-hitter. In his 41st MLB start, Sanchez held the Braves hitless until pitcher Javier Vazquez singled with one out in the sixth inning.

In many ways, Friday was one of Sanchez’s most impressive career starts. The 25-year-old hadn’t started since June 2 because he’s been on the disabled list with a right shoulder sprain.

Sanchez was on a pitch count of about 90-100. He exited after six-plus innings, after Ryan Church led off the seventh inning with a double.

“You never know if it can happen again,” Sanchez said on Saturday about tossing another no-hitter. “But if you think too much that they don’t have any hits, that’s when you probably won’t make it. When I threw my no-hitter, I never thought about them not having any hits. And it happened.”

The night Sanchez made history against Arizona, he said the no-hitter entered his mind in the last inning.

Because he lost the no-hitter in the sixth inning on Friday, he didn’t get caught up in what might have been. Also, because he was returning from an injury, he wouldn’t have been extended to more than 100 pitches.

“I didn’t think too much about it,” Sanchez said. “It was in the sixth inning that Vazquez got the hit.”

Sanchez next takes the mound on Thursday at home against the Mets.

On Saturday, he received a call from his mother congratulating him on the victory. A number of his friends also sent text messages.

Getting Sanchez back in the rotation provides the Marlins will a boost. While he has been hurt this year, he also is fresh right now. He has thrown 41 2/3 at the big league level this season.

“I’d like to help the team get to the playoffs,” Sanchez said. “That’s what the team wants. I want to help any way I can right now.”

— Joe Frisaro



Hanley's streak by the numbers

There’s hot, and then there is Hanley hot.

Hanley Ramirez is on a scorching hitting streak, reaching 16 games with a 3-for-4 night against the Braves on Friday at Turner Field.

Already a personal high, Ramirez’s streak is the longest by a Marlin since Cody Ross hit safely in 17 in a row from June 27-July 13, 2008.

The streak, which started on Aug. 5 at Washington, has raised Ramirez’s N.L. leading batting average to .360. Ramirez’s average raised his average exactly 20 points since going on his tear.

More on why Hanley’s streak is so amazing. In five of the games, he’s had three hits. He’s had one four-hit, and six two-hit games.

No Marlin has ever won the batting title, and Ramirez is aiming to be the first National League shortstop to win a batting title since Dick Groat of the Pirates (.325) in 1960.

During the hitting streak, Ramirez has posted video-game-like numbers: .461 batting average, seven doubles, thre homers, 16 RBIs. His on-base percentage is .481.

Ramirez’s previous high hitting streak was 14 games from June 24-July 7, 2008. In that stretch, he hit .339 with seven doubles, five homers and 10 RBIs.

— Joe Frisaro

Marlins lineup Saturday

The Marlins once again will be without Jorge Cantu in the starting lineup. Cantu hasn’t played since Wednesday night at Houston, due to a stiff neck.

Nick Johnson, who strained his right hamstring last Sunday, also is getting at least one more day off.

Here’s Saturday’s lineup at Atlanta:

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Gload, 1B

3) Hanley, SS

4) Uggla, 2B

5) Baker, C

6) Ross, CF

7) Hermida, RF

8) Helms, 3B

9) Volstad, P


1) Infante, LF

2) Johnson, 2B

3) Chipper, 3B

4) LaRoche, 1B

5) Escobar, SS

6) Diaz, RF

7) Ross, C

8) Gorecki, CF

9) Hanson, P

— Joe Frisaro


Martinez makes impression

Four different times Cristhian Martinez has been called up and sent back down to Double-A Jacksonville. Each time, the right-hander has shown why the team thinks he has a bright future in the big leagues.

Martinez was optioned to Double-A after Thursday’s game to make room for Anibal Sanchez to be reinstated off the disabled list.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez credits Martinez for “saving the bullpen” on Thursday. The right-hander also prevented Josh Johnson’s ERA from shooting up. Johnson exited after 4 1/3 innings with the bases loaded. The Astros had already scored four times off Johnson, and they threatened to add on some more runs.

But Martinez worked out of the fifth by getting Carlos Lee to tap into a double play, ending the inning. He ended up throwing 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief.

In seven big league games, the right-hander has 12 1/3 innings pitched. What the Marlins like is he’s struck out 13 and walked just two.

If he isn’t called back up before Sept. 1, Martinez is a lock to be a September callup.

“You kind of like to reward guys who do well and throw strikes,” Gonzalez said. “He’s done that.”

— Joe Frisaro


J.J. looks to regroup

Dependable and durable have been two of the traits that have separated Josh Johnson from many starters in the National League.

The Marlins and their fans have been spoiled seeing Johnson work at least six or seven innings every time out. That’s why watching the 25-year-old ace exit after 4 1/3 innings on Thursday night at Houston was alarming.

Johnson simply had an off night against the Astros, suffering the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

“It was funny because he warmed up really good,” pitching coach Mark Wiley said. “He was pulling his slider, and he wasn’t getting his changeup over.”

With an ineffective slider and changeup, Johnson relied more heavily on his fastball.

“There are certain teams that are really good fastball-hitting teams,” Wiley said. “When you’re not getting your off-speed pitches over for strikes enough, which J.J. didn’t yesterday, it doesn’t matter how hard you throw.

“When he’s not getting his off-speed pitches over, sometimes that leads to a little less consistency on the height and depth on his fastball. That’s pretty much happened yesterday. It’s one of those things that happens.”

Johnson, now 12-3, saw his ERA rise to 2.99. The 6-foot-7 right-hander takes the mound next on Wednesday against the Mets at Land Shark Stadium. At home, Johnson has an ERA of 2.09, and his night time ERA is 2.83.

The one thing you won’t see is Johnson dwelling on a sub-par start.

“He doesn’t change. I know he’s disappointed,” Wiley said. “But he wasn’t ballistic about it. He will get back after it and get back like Ricky did.”

The Marlins certainly hope for a rebound performance from Johnson like Ricky Nolasco recently had. Nolasco gave up a career most 10 runs on Aug. 12 to the Astros, and then recovered with a three-hit, complete game on Aug. 18 at Minute Maid Park.

— Joe Frisaro