August 2009

Cantu, Johnson still out

Jorge Cantu’s stiff neck is still bothering him, and he was out of the starting lineup on Friday in the series opener with the Braves.

Cantu, who also didn’t start on Thursday at Houston, attempted some swings in the cage on Friday afternoon, but he didn’t feel right. He was shut down. Manager Fredi Gonzalez hasn’t ruled out using Cantu as a pinch-hitter. There is a chance he still could start in the series at Atlanta.

Cantu also didn’t start on Thursday in Houston.

Nick Johnson, resting a strained right hamstring since last Sunday, most likely won’t play the entire series in Atlanta. However, the Marlins are hoping to avoid placing him on the disabled list, retroactive to Aug. 17.

The Marlins are off on Monday, before opening a series at home with the Mets. The hope is Johnson will be ready for Tuesday.

Friday’s lineup against the Braves.

1) Coghlan, LF

2) Gload, 1B

3) Hanlye, SS

4) Uggla, 2B

5) Baker, C

6) Ross, CF

7) Hermida, RF

8) Helms, 3B

9) Sanchez, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

Anibal Sanchez to start

For the first time since June 2, Anibal Sanchez will be making a big league start.

After the Marlins suffered a 4-1 loss to the Astros on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park, the team announced Sanchez will take the mound on Friday against the Braves at Turner Field.

Sanchez will be reinstated off the disabled list on Friday, and he will pitch in the series opener. Atlanta is going with Javier Vazquez.

Right-hander Cristhian Martinez, who threw 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief on Thursday, was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville.

Sanchez has been on the DL since June 3 with a right shoulder sprain.

For most of the season, Sanchez’s shoulder hasn’t been quite right. He has made seven big league starts, and he’s 1-4 with a 5.55 ERA.

On June 2 against the Brewers, he threw three innings before aggravating his shoulder. He walked off the mound that day clearly frustrated.

The same shoulder required surgery in June 2007.

Sanchez made two rehab assignment starts for Double-A Jacksonville. He last pitched on Monday, working 3 1/3 innings while throwing 45 pitches.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Cantu scratched with neck stiffness

Sometime in the late innings on Wednesday night, Jorge Cantu felt some stiffness in the back of his neck on the right side.

Cantu, who is riding a 10-game hitting streak, completed the game. But on Thursday, about 40 minutes before the series finale with the Astros, the Marlins cleanup hitter was scratched from the starting lineup.

Cantu was slated to play first base and hit cleanup. The switch put rookie Gaby Sanchez in the starting lineup for the first time this season.

The Marlins ended up losing 4-1 to the Astros, and now they are taking on the Braves beginning on Friday at Turner Field.

“Hopefully it’s better tomorrow,” Cantu said. “I tried [batting practice], but I had to shut it down. I began noticing it in about the seventh or eighth inning [Wednesday].”

– Joe Frisaro

 

Johnson injury update

Before batting practice on Thursday, Nick Johnson took a few soft-toss swings in the batting cage.

While Johnson took some swings in the cage there is still caution about when the first baseman will be back in the lineup. Manager Fredi Gonzalez ruled out Friday night at Atlanta, and he is questionable for the entire series.

Johnson strained his right hamstring on Sunday, and he tested the leg on Wednesday by fielding some groung balls.

“I still felt it on the ground balls,” Johnson said.

The Marlins have yet to announce their starting pitcher for Friday in Atlanta. Heavy speculation is that Anibal Sanchez will be reinstated from the disabled list. Sanchez, recovering from a right shoulder sprain, last pitched for Florida on June 2.

The team is weighing roster moves. And placing Johnson on the disabled list, retroactive, to Monday (Aug. 17) is possible.

Asked if he might be placed on the DL, Johnson said: “No idea.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

Coming of age

A simple message is being driven home to the youthful Marlins: Win or lose, shake it off and come back the next day.

The Marlins experienced a tough loss on Wednesday night, dropping a 6-3 decision to the Astros. It was a costly defeat because they lost ground in the N.L. East and Wild Card standings.

Now 5 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the division, the Marlins entered Thursday’s series finale with Houston three games back of the Rockies in the Wild Card race.

Veteran Wes Helms was on 2007 Phillies, which overcame being seven games out with 17 games to go to overcome the Mets in the N.L. East. The Marlins have 42 games left to make up ground.

“From here on out, it’s pretty much, you have to win all your series,” Helms said. “If you win all your series, you pretty much have a shot. It’s pretty much that way. We’ve got to take one day at a time.

“This time of year, you play one day at a time. If you lose, you throw it out the door. If you win, you throw it out the door, and you come back the next day. You can’t carry it over to the next day. I think this team has more maturity this year.”

Helms is seeing offense take a more simplified approach than in past seasons. It’s no secret that the Marlins are an aggressive offense with a lot of power. Of late, players being more patient and taking singles when they present themselves rather than swing for the fences.

“They’re handling stuff a lot better,” Helms said. “That right there can be a big reason why you see [we're in it]. The resiliency has been unreal.

“Last year, we might have been trying to hit the grand slam, and three-run doubles and stuff. That just comes with maturity and experience. It’s natural for a young guy to want to do that. They want to make an impression. These guys now have three, four years under their belts. They’re starting to realize, ‘let’s win, and not worry about ourselves.’ ” 

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

Marlins-Astros Thursday lineups

For Houston left-hander Wandy Rodriguez on Thursday, the Marlins have stacked up a mostly right-handed hitting lineup. Chris Coghlan and pitcher Josh Johnson are the only two left-handed hitters. Emilio Bonifacio is a switch-hitter.

Hanley Ramirez looks to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, which would be a career high. Ramirez has hit safely in 14 straight, while Jorge Cantu is riding a 10-game streak.

Florida, of course, has a string of 15 straight games with at least 10 hits.

1) Coghlan, LF 

2) Bonifacio, CF

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Uggla, 2B

6) Ross, RF

7) Paulino, C

8) Helms, 3B

9) Johnson, P

Astros

1) Bourn, CF

2) Tejada, SS

3) Berkman, 1B

4) Lee, LF

5) Blum, 3B

6) Pence, RF

7) Matsui, 2B

8) Quintero, C

9) Rodriguez, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins Wednesday lineup

The lineup grinded out 11 hits Tuesday night, so manager Fredi Gonzalez went with the same batting order again on Wednesday.

Here’s Wednesday’s Marlins-Astros orders.

Marlins

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

Astros

1) Bourn, CF

2) Keppinger, 3B

3) Berkman, 1B

4) Lee, LF

5) Tejada, SS

6) Pence, RF

7) Matsui, 2B

8) Quintero, C

9) Bazardo, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

Clarification on hit streak

More on the Marlins historical hit streak.

It was brought to my attention that there should be some clarification to the hit streak chart showing the all-time streaks of 10 or more hits. The record, since 1900, is 18, shared by the Indians (1925) and St. Louis Browns (1922).

The Marlins ran their string to 14 straight games with an 11-hit performance on Tuesday night at Houston. That’s the longest streak since the 1937 Browns hit in 15 straight.

If you date back before 1900, you’ll find some marks higher than 18 straight games.

The 1894 Phillies had 10-plus hits in 31 consecutive games, from Aug. 11-Sept. 11, 1894.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins lineup without Johnson

Nick Johnson was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game on Tuesday, as the veteran first baseman rests his strained right hamstring. Johnson said he is feeling better, but he isn’t optimistic about starting in any of the three games at Houston.

Ross Gload started at first base for Florida in the series opener with the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

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) Nolasco, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

VandenHurk optioned, G. Sanchez recalled

On Tuesday afternoon, the Marlins optioned right-hander Rick VandenHurk to Triple-A New Orleans, and recalled infielder Gaby Sanchez from Triple-A.

Sanchez, who exited a game with New Orleans early on Monday, will join the team in Houston. Florida opens a three-game series with the Astros on Tuesday night.

Adding Sanchez gives the Marlins 13 position players and 12 pitchers. A first baseman/third baseman, Sanchez also provides depth should Nick Johnson not be available with a right hamstring strain.

Johnson tweaked his hamstring in the first inning of the first game of Sunday’s double-header against the Rockies at Land Shark Stadium.

A Miami native, Sanchez will be joining the Marlins for the second time this season. He has two pinch-hit appearances thus far. At Triple-A, he has played in 76 games and has a .296 average with 14 home runs and 48 RBIs.

In four starts with Florida, VandenHurk has a 2-2 record with a 5.12 ERA. The right-hander pitched the second game of Sunday’s twinbill, suffering the loss. In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up six runs, including three home runs. He struck out nine.

VandenHurk was lined up to start either on Friday or Saturday.

Now, it appears the Marlins will go with Chris Volstad on Friday at Atlanta. A candidate for Saturday could be Anibal Sanchez, who threw 3 1/3 innings in a rehab assignment start for Double-A Jacksonville on Monday. Anibal Sanchez is on the disabled list with a right shoulder sprain.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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