April 2010

Marlins lineup for Friday

Cody Ross, after sitting out a few games with flu-like symptoms, is back on the starting lineup on Friday in the series opener with the Nationals.

The Marlins opened their homestand dropping two of three to the Padres.








1) Nyjer Morgan, CF

2) Adam Kennedy, 2B

3) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4) Adam Dunn, 1B

5) Josh Willingham, LF

6) Ivan Rodriguez, C

7) Roger Bernadina, RF

8) Ian Desmond, SS

9) Scott Olsen, P








1) Cameron Maybin, CF

2) Chris Coghlan, LF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Cody Ross, RF

8) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

9) Ricky Nolasco, P


— Joe Frisaro


Marlins lineup for Wednesday

Cody Ross still isn’t feeling 100 percent, bothered by flu-like symptoms. So the right fielder was out of the starting lineup again on Wednesday. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said on Tuesday that he was hoping to give Brian Barden a start.

Barden was in the lineup at shortstop in the series finale with the Padres. For the first time this season, Hanley Ramirez isn’t starting.

The Marlins and Padres have split the first two games of the series, with the finale set for 12:10 p.m. ET.








1) Jerry Hairston, Jr.

2) David Eckstein, 2B

3) Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

4) Chase Headley, 3B

5) Kyle Blanks, LF

6) Scott Hairston, CF

7) Oscar Salazar, RF

8) Yorvit Torrealba, C

9) Kevin Correia, P









1) Cameron Maybin, CF

2) Chris Coghlan, LF

3) Wes Helms, 3B

4) Jorge Cantu, 1B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Brett Carroll, RF

8) Brian Barden, SS

9) Nate Robertson, P


— Joe Frisaro


Could Raynor return to Marlins?

When the Pirates purchased the contract of pitcher Jeff Karstens on Tuesday, they were forced to make a difficult roster decision. They ended up designating outfielder John Raynor for assignment.

Since Raynor was a Rule 5 claim by the Pirates off the Marlins’ Minor League roster, there is a chance the speedster will return to Florida.

Last December, Raynor was not protected on the Marlins’ 40-man roster, and the Pirates picked him in the Rule 5 Draft. The stipulation with Rule 5 claims is they must stay on the 25-man roster the entire season.

Technically, Raynor is going through waivers. The Marlins have first dibs to bring him back. If they do so, he could be sent to Triple-A New Orleans and not be on the 40-man roster.

The question the Marlins are asking themselves is whether they have a need for Raynor.

At Triple-A New Orleans, the outfield has Scott Cousins, Bryan Petersen and Jason Lane. Emilio Bonifacio also is seeing time in the outfield.

If the Marlins decide they don’t have a fit for Raynor, they could attempt to trade him back to the Pirates for a prospect.

— Joe Frisaro


Taking their time with Stanton

Belt three homers and drive in seven in one game, and naturally you are going to draw attention.

Take it a step further, and hit five homers and knock in 11 in two games, and you have people wondering what is next.

What’s next for Mike Staton?

stanton3a4.jpgMore of the same.

The 20-year-old slugger is on a tear at Double-A Jacksonville. On Monday, he belted three homers in one game, driving in seven. Counting his two homers and four RBIs on Sunday, and you have five homers and 11 RBIs in two games.

Naturally, the Marlins are watching their top prospect with great interest. But the bottom line remains the same, the club is in no hurry to promote the 6-foot-5, 235-pounder.

Consider this fact, after 14 games he was batting .264 with four homers, nine RBIs with a .426 on-base percentage. He has walked 14 times and struck out 16 in 53 at-bats.

In a conversation late last week with Jim Fleming, the Marlins vice president of player development and scouting, he had this to say about Stanton:

“He’s doing fine. He’s not tearing it up. They’ve been pitching him very carefully as you might think. His at-bats are better. There are still some strikeouts. And more walks. We’re just trying to get him to have some consistent at-bats. So far, so good.”

In the three games since that conversation, Stanton has raised his average to .338 with nine home runs and 20 RBIs.

The impressive increase in production, however, doesn’t have the Marlins thinking about an immediate callup.

The scouting report on him is he is piecing his game together, bit by bit, but it isn’t quite there yet. What’s promising is how he is making the necessary strides to get better.

Another factor is the Marlins are above .500 after 20 games, and they are very much in the playoff picture.

There isn’t a need at this time. Granted, Chris Coghlan is struggling, but the Marlins aren’t about to send the 2009 NL Rookie of the Year to the Minors based on 20 games.

Yes, there are service time considerations. The Marlins know what they have in Stanton, and they know after late May or early June, he can be called up without pushing his arbitration process.

At that point, he wouldn’t qualify as a Super Two. That is an issue, because he wouldn’t reach his arbitration years after the 2012 season.

Money aside, not all 20-year-olds are ready. Granted, Jayson Heyward is off to a strong start with the Braves. But Heyward is the exception.

Heyward, right now, was ready. Stanton still is developing. He has 65 at-bats this season at Double-A, after 299 in 2009.

When Stanton was sent down in Spring Training, the team hoped he would tear up Double A for an entire season. They are hoping he would hit, say, 35 homers and knock in 100. They are looking at the big picture and how Stanton fits into their future.

Right now, Cody Ross is in right field, and he is more ready to help the Marlins win this season there than Stanton would.

The team also has seen the past three years what Cameron Maybin has gone through. Maybin was called up at age 20 by the Tigers, and after the 2007 season he was traded to the Marlins.

The Marlins recognized that Maybin needed more time in the Minor Leagues, where he spent most of 2008 and 2009. Maybin is getting better, and he’s still trying to let his game develop. But he’s doing so at age 23.

The hope is when Stanton is ready, he is ready to stay for the long haul. 

— Joe Frisaro


Getting Hanley on track

Many players would take a .288 batting average and .395 on-base percentage.

Hanley Ramirez isn’t like most players.

hanley-ramirez2q.jpgThe Marlins slugger is in a bit of a slide — by his standards, at least.

Through 19 games, Ramirez has one home run, six RBIs and nine runs scored. He has now gone five straight games without driving in a run, and with runners in scoring position this season, his average is .176.

After the Marlins lost 8-4 to the Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday, Ramirez noted that it is early. And he is absolutely right.There is no reason to think the 26-year-old won’t get hot, and drastically raise his batting average. We’ve seen it since he was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2006. Last season, of course, he was the NL batting champ with a .342 average, to go along with 106 RBIs. With runners in scoring position a year ago, he batted .373.

“Don’t worry about me. Just worry about the team. I’ll be fine. No worries,” Ramirez said Sunday night. “It’s early. We just have to keep winning. We had a couple of tough losses in Houston and here.

“We’ve got to keep competing the whole game. Our starting rotation has been doing a little bit better, and they’re going to get better. They’ve been going deep into the game.”

The Marlins went 4-5 on the road trip after taking two of three at Philadelphia. In the six games at Houston and Colorado, Ramirez was 4-for-22. When you count the final game in Philadelphia, he is 4-for-26. 

Quite simply, the numbers are very un-Hanleylike.

“It’s early. It’s not September or August,” Ramirez said. “Nothing like that. I’m not worried about that.”

Manager Fredi Gonzalez noted that the Marlins are 10-9 and they are above .500 without the offense clicking. Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla have been the hottest hitters all season. The others have been inconsistent.

“That’s happening to all the teams,” Ramirez said. “All 30 teams. Not nine guys in the lineup are going to be hot. Some guys are going to be cold, and some guys are going to get hot. We’ve got to try to go forward and get out of it.

“If everybody would be hot, we’d be 19-0. No worries for me. I know myself. I know what I can do.”

As long as he’s healthy, and he is, there is enough history on his side to suggest he will get red hot in a hurry. 

— Joe Frisaro



Marlins lineup for Sunday

The Marlins wrap up their road trip with their series finale with the Rockies on Sunday at Coors Field.

Chris Volstad gets the start for Florida, while Colorado goes with left-hander Jorge De La Rosa. The game will begin at 5:05 p.m. ET.

Cameron Maybin, shaken up after a collision with Gaby Sanchez on Saturday, was not in the starting lineup.







1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Cody Ross, CF

8) Brett Carroll, RF

9) Chris Volstad, P


— Joe Frisaro



Maybin shaken up on collision

Before impact, Cameron Maybin didn’t see Gaby Sanchez.

“I just felt him,” Maybin said late Saturday night.

The two Marlins collided at first base in the first inning of Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Rockies at Coors Field.

Maybin took the worse of the impact. Hintered by dizziness and blurred vision, he was lifted in the ninth inning of the Marlins, 4-1, Game 1 win. And he sat out of Game 2, won by Colorado, 8-1.

The collision came in the first inning after Maybin bunted for a single. The next play caused confusion at first base, on what turned out being a double play.

On the play, Sanchez hit a soft liner that shortstop Troy Tulowitzki caught just before it hit the ground. Seeing the ball was in Tulowitzki’s glove, Maybin raced back to first. Still acting as if the ball might have clipped the ground, Tulowitzki flipped to second baseman Clint Barmes, who threw to first.

While standing on the base, Maybin was plowed into by Sanchez, who was charging down the line. The two players collided heads. Once Maybin was off the bag, Todd Helton tagged him, completing the double play.

“As soon as I saw him move back, I thought he was going to try to let it drop, and turn the double play out of it,” Sanchez said. “I put my head down and started running.”

As the game progressed, Maybin’s headache became worse. He had some tests taken, and he didn’t have a concussion.

“My equilibrium went after that,” Maybin said. “My eyes were like fluttering the whole game.”

Maybin said he got hit “square in the face” by Sanchez’s helmet.

“I felt all plastic,” Maybin said. “I looked up, and I saw head down and all plastic.”

At one point, he told left fielder Brett Carroll to reach as many balls as he could because he wasn’t sure if he could make the plays.

“My eyes went a little blurry,” Maybin said. “As the game went on, my headache got worse.”

Maybin was unavailable for Game 2. He said he began feeling better, and he is hopeful to play on Sunday.

— Joe Frisaro


Wintery weather in Denver

Rain turned to snow for a few minutes on Friday morning. The inclement weather may wind up impacting the Marlins-Rockies game at Coors Field.

It’s been raining the past couple of days, and on Friday morning that rain turned to snow, sleet and even some hail.

Below is a picture from outside a downtown hotel in Denver.



Marlins new park next up for MLB

With the recent opening of Target Field, the next new MLB ballpark to open will be the next home of the Marlins.

More than 30 percent completed, the Marlins retractable-roof stadium remains on schedule and on budget. The doors of the park will open in 2012.

newparkinterior1.jpgOn April 12, eight members from the Marlins organization traveled to Minnesota for the first game of the Twins new home, Target Field.

Marlins president David Samson gives high marks to the Twins, and their president, Dave St. Peter.

“It could not have been a better opener,” Samson said. “It was an example of how an organization does everything right. Their Opening Day ceremony. The details in the ballpark. Not one detail went untouched and unlooked at.

“Dave st. Peter, to me, is simply a magician as a team president. It’s just remarkable what he’s done.”

Samson is impressed with how the Twins had driven up their season-ticket base, as well as how they repeatedly are a contending club.

“This is a team that wins consistently, year in and year out,” Samson said. “I just give him all the credit in the world. That ballpark is simply magnificient. They were so gracious with their time on Opening Day.”

The Twins were the last team to open a stadium before the Marlins get underway in their park in 2012.

All details of the Marlins ballpark can be followed via the new ballpark webcam on www.marlins.com. Fans can view construction from the interior and exterior of the ballpark online.

“Now, we feel like, we’re next,” Samson said. “We’re no longer on deck. We’re at the plate right now.”

— Joe Frisaro

Nolasco completed what he started

When Ricky Nolasco last took the mound, he took care of business all by himself.

At Philadelphia last Saturday night, the 27-year-old right-hander turned in a complete game. Scattering five hits, Nolasco worked all nine innings in the Marlins, 5-1, victory.

ricky-nolasco.jpgNolasco takes the mound on Friday night at Colorado, when the Marlins open a three-game set with the Rockies at Coors Field (weather permitting, it’s cold and rainy).

Nolasco was one out away from also tossing a shutout, but Jayson Werth jumped on a first-pitch fastball for a solo home run. Nolasco ended it by retiring Raul Ibanez on a soft grounder back to the mound.

Complete games are rare these days. Not only for the Marlins, but throughout baseball.

Nolasco is the only Marlin to go the distance this season. And in the entire Major Leagues, just 12 pitchers have thrown complete games. Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia each have tossed two. There have been three complete-game shutouts — Halladay, Livan Hernandez and Ubaldo Jimenez (who no-hit the Braves).

No team, thus far, has had two seperate pitchers go the distance.

How rare have complete games for Florida been? Consider this fact. In 2005, the Marlins had 14 as a team. Since then, Nolasco’s complete game was the 14th total for Florida over the past five seasons.

With so much attention paid to pitch counts these days, pitchers are conditioned — mentally and physically — that six innings is a solid outing.

Another factor is the amount of strikes being thrown. Baseball insiders have noted — privately and publicly — that the strike zone has become so tight it makes it very difficult for pitchers to last deeper into games.

Marlins bench coach Carlos Tosca offered a suggestion to help speed up the game, and improve the action — raise the mound. 

— Joe Frisaro