March 2010

Sunday Marlins-Nats lineups

Marlins Opening Day starter Josh Johnson will take the mound on Sunday, facing the Nationals in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at Roger Dean Stadium.

The Marlins and Nationals squared off on Saturday in Viera, with Florida winning, 5-3. The Nationals are going with lefty John Lannan.








1) Willie Harris, RF   

spacecoast.jpg2) Adam Kennedy, 2B

3) Ian Desmond, SS

4) Chris Duncan, 1B

5) Ivan Rodriguez, C

6) Eric Bruntlett, 3B

7) Justin Maxwell, CF

8) Roger Bernadina, LF

9) Jonn Lannan, P









1) Brian Barden, LF

2) Cameron Maybin, CF

Roger%20Dean%20Stadium.jpg3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Cody Ross, RF

8) Logan Morrison, 1B

9) Josh Johnson, P

— Joe Frisaro



Forecasting roster spots

Speculating on who will stay and go is part of the fun in Spring Training.

In Marlins camp, there are some interesting position battles going on, and as we head into the final two weeks, here are some things to follow.

Based on conversations and observations, it looks as if the backup position player spots are coming into focus.

barden.jpgObviously, until moves are official, anything can happen. But taking the temperature of the ballclub as of Saturday afternoon, it looks like the position players off the bench may be Ronny Paulino, Wes Helms, Emilio Bonifacio, Brian Barden and Mike Lamb.

The Marlins every day outfield, if healthy, is set. Unlike last year, when Jeremy Hermida was frequently removed for defensive reasons in the late innings, there may not be a need for a defensive outfield replacement. Chris Coghlan, Cameron Maybin and Cody Ross won’t be coming out of games because of their defense.

Bonifacio, meanwhile, can play center field, as well as infield. Cody Ross, who will play right field, also can move to center field, if needed.

Barden has been on the team’s radar for more than a year, and chances are good that he will break camp with the club. Now that they have him, he is a quality defensive infielder who can play shortstop, second and third base. On Sunday in Viera against the Nationals, he subbed in at third base.

Gaby Sanchez most likely will win the first base job. If in late innings, the Marlins take Sanchez, a rookie, out for whatever reasons, Jorge Cantu can slide from third base to first base. Barden could get playing time at third in that scenario. Helms, the primary pinch-hitter option, also could fill that role.

Defensively, Barden is very good. He may be this year’s version of Alfredo Amezaga, who is now with the Dodgers. 

Lamb, meanwhile, has the edge as the left-handed bat off the bench. In Spring Training, Lamb is 5-for-15, with a .375 on-base percentage. Lamb hasn’t struck out in Spring Training. To fill that lefty situational role, the Marlins are looking for someone who makes contact.

Primarily a first and third basemen, Lamb also could be the emergency third catcher.

It is looking like Jorge Jimenez, the Rule 5 claim who was dealt to Florida as part of the Matt Lindstrom trade, may not fit into the Marlins plans right now. If the Marlins indeed decide to keep Lamb, then Jimenez would likely be offered back to the Red Sox, his original team. Jimenez is 3-for-18 thus far.

Again, the team hasn’t officially made any final decisions, and jobs could still be won based on merit, or if there are injuries.

Typically, how players are used in these final two weeks will indicate what roles the club is considering. The Marlins soon will be looking to give their regulars more playing time, which limits opportunity for prospects who project to open in the Minor Leagues.

On Monday, the Marlins are off, and two starting pitching candidates are slated to throw in Minor League games on the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium — Andrew Miller and Clay Hensley.

— Joe Frisaro

(in photo, Brian Barden)




Weighing early rotation

A scheduled off day on April 6 gives the Marlins some rotation flexibility entering the season. As of now, the team is weighing how to set up its pitchers.

joshjohnson-532x778.jpgAn option the team has is to come back with Josh Johnson on Saturday, April 10 against the Dodgers, or to use whoever is the fifth starter on that day.

Johnson will pitch in the April 5 opener against the Mets. Because of the off day, Johnson could pitch the first and fifth games.

“We haven’t decided what to do yet,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

The Marlins have yet to set their five-man rotation. The only other pitcher officially announced is Ricky Nolasco, who will pitch in the second game on April 7.

Most likely, Anibal Sanchez will be the No. 3 starter, throwing on April 8 at New York.

The Marlins will have their Opening Night at Sun Life Stadium on April 9, with the Dodgers in town for a 7:10 p.m. ET start.

If Johnson stays on his regular five-day schedule, he would pitch the first Super Saturday concert series home game. If the Marlins opt to use their fifth starter on April 10, then Johnson would throw on Sunday, April 11.

Because the Marlins platoon their catchers, Ronny Paulino is expected to catch on Opening Day. The Mets will be throwing lefty Johan Santana.

— Joe Frisaro


Lineups for Saturday in Viera

The Marlins take on the Nationals on Saturday afternoon at Space Coast Stadium.

Chris Volstad, looking to win a rotation spot, gets the start for Florida. John Baker is in the lineup, catching for the first time in a Grapefruit League game. Baker has been out with a strained right forearm muscle.







1) Chris Coghlan, LF 

billy.jpg2) Cameron Maybin, CF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) John Baker, C

6) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

7) Brett Carroll, RF

8) Donnie Murphy, 2B

9) Chris Volstad, P








1) Roger Bernadina, CF 

elephant-walk-2010-3.jpg2) Cristian Guzman, SS

3) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4) Adam Dunn, 1B

5) Josh Willingham, LF

6) Mike Morse, RF

7) Alberto Gonzalez, 2B

8) Wil Nieves, C

9) Garrett Mock, P

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins-Cardinals on TV

Marlins baseball once again is on the air.

Friday’s afternoon contest against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium is being televised on Fox Sports Florida beginning at 1 p.m. The feed is being picked up on MLBTV.

This is the second and final Grapefruit League game being televised by Fox Sports Florida. The game also is being broadcasted in St. Louis.

broadcaster_fla_hutton.jpgThose tuning in won’t completely hear familiar voices. That’s because there is a twist the teams are doing with the telecast. Marlins analyst Tommy Hutton will be paired with Rick Horton of the Cardinals crew.

A similar format was used on Wednesday when the Marlins played the Braves. Fox Sports Florida also aired that game. In the booth, Rich Waltz of the Marlins was matched with Joe Simpson of the Braves.

“We’ve done a couple of these telecasts the last few years,” Hutton said. “Today, I’m working with Rick Horton, who does the St. Louis Cardinals on their Fox affiliate. I’ve never worked with Rick before. Actually, Rich Waltz and I haven’t worked together yet. Rich worked the other day with Joe Simpson. So the April 5 opener will be the first time me and Rich work together this year.”

Hutton, a former big leaguer, follows Spring Training with interest. He’s in the process of following several different storylines.

“Spring Training is always fun to watch because there is always somebody who steps up,” Hutton said. “There is always a name you haven’t heard about, who gets everybody’s attention. I think this year, it is Clay Hensley, with the way he’s pitched.”

Hensley, signed to a Minor League deal, is making a case to win a rotation spot.

broadcaster_fla_waltz_90x135.jpg“In other cases, you look at certain guys who are trying to make the team,” Hutton said. “This is always one of those Catch 22 areas — The young guy who is trying to make the team has to have a good spring. And he may play for 15 years and never have a good spring. It just might not be his time.

“Dan Uggla never has a good spring. I just talked to Dan. He said, wait until the bell rings. I’ll be ready.”

The Marlins first base battle between Gaby Sanchez and Logan Morrison is something being closely monitored.

“You look at Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez at first base. I think Gaby looks more comfortable at first base this year, after what he went through last year,” Hutton said. “Cameron Maybin is coming around. That’s another little story. I hope he gets enough at-bats, and gets himself ready for Opening Day.”

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins-Cardinals Friday lineups

The Marlins and Cardinals will square off yet again in Grapefruit League action action on Friday at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.

The Marlins are the home team in the 1:05 p.m. ET start. The game was will be televised on Fox Sports Florida.







1) Skip Schumaker, 2B

2) Felipe Lopez, SS

3) Albert Pujols, 1B

4) Colby Rasmus, CF

5) Ryan Ludwick, RF

6) Yadier Molina, C

7) Joe Mather, LF

8) Donovan Solano, 3B

9) Chris Carpenter, P







1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Emilio Bonifacio, CF

3) Dan Uggla, 2B

4) Logan Morrison, 1B

5) Cody Ross, RF

6) Wes Helms, 3B

7) Brian Barden, SS

8) Brett Hayes, C

9) Anibal Sanchez, P

— Joe Frisaro



Bullpen shaping up

Perhaps there is just one bullpen spot left to fill at Marlins camp.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez shed some light on some of the relievers who are moving closer to winning spots on the Opening Day roster.

pinto4a.JPGThe Marlins anticipate carrying 12 relievers, and Leo Nunez is locked in as the closer. The team anticipates carrying two lefties. They are expected to be Renyel Pinto and Dan Meyer. Both are out of options.

Also strong possibilities to make the team are right-handers Brian Sanches and Jose Veras, in camp on a Minor League contract. Burke Badenhop is a frontrunner to be the long reliever.

“This can change,” said Gonzalez, noting that other candidates may pop across the waiver wire.

If these five hold true, there will be one reliever spot open.

Candidates include Mike MacDougal, Seth McClung, Tim Wood, Chris Leroux and Scott Strickland. 

The team may also decide to keep someone like Clay Hensley, who is in the mix for a rotation spot. If Hensley isn’t in the rotation, he could be an option in relief. The same would hold true for Rick VandenHurk and Hayden Penn, who are currently being used as starters.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins make roster moves

Early on Friday, the Marlins made some additional roster moves.

Optioned to Triple-A New Orleans were Taylor Tankersley, Cristhian Martinez, Scott Cousins and Jai Miller.

Assigned to Minor League camp were Kasey Olenberger, Vinny Rottino and Danny Richar.

— Joe Frisaro


Baker homers in Minors game

Slowed by an injury for most of Spring Training, John Baker welcomed an encouraging day at the park.

Getting four plate appearances in a Triple-A game against the Cardinals, Baker went 2-for-3 with a home run and a hit by pitch.

johnbaker.jpgHitting second every inning, Baker delivered an opposite-field home run in his first at-bat. In his second at-bat, he was grazed on the right elbow. The Marlins regular catcher struck out in his next time up. He added a single.

Baker hasn’t played in a Grapefruit League game due to a strained right forearm muscle.

His plans for Friday could be pretty similar to Thursday. Baker may test his arm by throwing the bases on Friday. He also may be the designated hitter in a Class A game on the back fields in Jupiter.

If that goes well, Baker could be in a Grapefruit League game as early as Saturday.

Also, prospect Mike Stanton (sore left elbow) took some swings on Thursday. Stanton didn’t swing a bat for two days after slightly hyper-extending his elbow on Monday. He could be in a game this weekend.

— Joe Frisaro


Mets lineup for Thursday

The Marlins and Mets are playing a 7:05 p.m. ET Grapefruit League gam on Thursday night at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.






1) Angel Pagan, CF

2) Luis Castillo, 2B

3) David Wright, 3B

4) Mike Jacobs, 1B

5) Jason Bay, LF

6) Jeff Francoeur, RF

7) Alex Cora, SS

8) Henry Blanco, C

9) Oliver Perez, P








1) Jai Miller, LF

2) Cameron Maybin, CF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Cody Ross, RF

7) Ronny Paulino, C

8) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

9) Ricky Nolasco, P

— Joe Frisaro