July 2010

Simmons hopes to someday manage

Former MLB catcher Ted Simmons makes it clear that he’d like to eventually manage in the big leagues. Perhaps Florida will be in his plans. If so, it will have to wait until after the season.

A story recently on AOL FanHouse linked Simmons as a potential candidate to someday manage the Marlins.

Edwin Rodriguez replaced Fredi Gonzalez on June 23, and he will run the club until after the season. The organization will re-evaluate the position at that time.

Indications are the Marlins may indeed have Simmons on their radar to manage.

Rodriguez, in the meantime, has done a terrific job since taking over. Entering Friday night at San Diego, the Marlins are 17-15 with Rodriguez at the helm, and they are at 51-51 overall.

Simmons currently is the Padres bench coach.

Recently, he spoke with the MLB.com Padres reporter Corey Brock about his managerial aspirations.

“I’ve done everything but manage,” Simmons told Brock in a story that ran on the Padres official web site. “This is my third year as the bench coach [second with San Diego] and after three years, either you do it [manage] or forget about it.”

Simmons, who will turn 61 on Aug. 9, may interview with Florida in the off-season. Simmons told Brock recently that he didn’t want to talk about any teams specifically right now.

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins lineup for Thursday

The Marlins try to salvage a four-game split with the Giants on Thursday afternoon at AT@T Park.

Jorge Cantu, the subject of trade speculation, is in the lineup, playing third base and batting fifth.

Dan Uggla has belted four homers in the first three games of the series, and he has six over his last six games.








1) Hanley Ramirez, SS

2) Logan Morrison, LF

3) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Jorge Cantu, 3B

6) Cody Ross, CF

7) Mike Stanton, RF

8) Ronny Paulino, C

9) Anibal Sanchez, P

— Joe Frisaro


Debut in review

Heckled and a hit all in one night.

Logan Morrison achieved a couple of firsts in the Marlins 6-4 loss on Tuesday night to the Giants.

The 22-year-old, who is one of the highest ranked players in the game, made his Major League debut. 

With one out in the fourth inning, Morrison delivered his first MLB hit, slapping a single to center field off Matt Cain. As is tradition, the ball was tossed into the Marlins dugout as a souvenir. 

Morrison plans on giving the ball to his father.

“I’ll give it to my dad, he’s helped me a lot through the years,” Morrison said.

Morrison is making a quick adjustment to the big leagues, taking over in left field on a full-time basis now that Chris Coghlan is on the disabled list with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

A natural first baseman, Morrison has been on a crash course learning to play the outfield because Gaby Sanchez has secured first base.

As part of his transition to the outfield, Morrison worked in previous weeks with Hall of Famer Andre Dawson. He also worked with team special assistant Jeff Conine, and Tarrik Brock, now the Marlins outfield coach.

Morrison said he didn’t think about keeping the bat he used for his first hit. On his third plate appearance, his bat broke, and he gave it to a kid in the stands.

The Marlins now have three rookies in their every day lineup — Morrison, Sanchez and Mike Stanton.

On his first day in the big leagues, Morrison still had a blue New Orleans Zephyrs bag. 

The fact that it took him two at-bats to get his first hit was a bit of a relief.

“To get that out of the way was nice,” Morrison said. “Maybe I can trade [my Zephyrs bag] in for a Marlins’ bag. That will be sweet.”

In left field, Morrison has already endured some heckling from fans, which is common for outfielders in visiting ballpark.

Morrison said the fans at AT@T Park had a chant for him.

“They’d yell — What’s wrong with Morrison? He’s a bum,” Morrison said.

Some fans greeted him with: “Go back to Triple-A.”

— Joe Frisaro




Marlins revamped lineup

With Chris Coghlan on the disabled list, the Marlins lineup has been reshuffled.

Hanley Ramirez is leading off on Tuesday, for the second time this season. Ramirez led off previously on June 6 at New York Mets. Logan Morrison, who is making his MLB debut, is batting second, and Gaby Sanchez is assuming the third spot.

The Marlins will send Josh Johnson to the mound against San Francisco’s Matt Cain.







1) Hanley Ramirez, SS

2) Logan Morrison, LF

3) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Wes Helms, 3B

6) Cody Ross, CF

7) Mike Stanton, RF

8) Ronny Paulino, C

9) Josh Johnson, P









1) Andres Torres, RF

2) Freddy Sanchez, 2B

3) Aubrey Huff, LF

4) Buster Posey, C

5) Juan Uribe, 3B

6) Travis Ishikawa, 1B

7) Aaron Rowand, CF

8) Edgar Renteria, SS

9) Matt Cain, P


— Joe Frisaro


Celebration gone sour

A simple jump for joy has landed Chris Coghlan on the disabled list for the first time in his big league career.

coghlaninjury.jpgThe Marlins 25-year-old left fielder was placed on the 15-day DL following Monday night’s win at San Francisco with a torn meniscus in his left knee. If surgery is required, Coghlan will be out six to eight weeks. So being lost for the remainder of the season is possible, but that has yet to be determined.

The frustration of the injury stems from the fact it occurred during a postgame celebration. After Wes Helms’ walk-off RBI single in the 11th inning beat the Braves on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium, Helms was doing a postgame TV interview on the field.

As has become a tradition of late, the hero of the game gets a good-natured shaving cream pie to the face. Coghlan made a high leap in the air to get Helms, and he went landed, he hurt his knee.

“As I jumped, I landed on my knee wrong, and that’s how I got injured,” Coghlan said. “Surgery is a possibility. We haven’t gone that path yet.”

The Marlins won four games during their homestand in walk-off fashion. They were so common that the team had a can of shaving cream ready in the storage room behind the dugout. In the room is a batting tee and players commonly go there to get ready for at-bats.

“It’s just one of those freak things,” Helms said. “You kind of take it hard. I know he does for it to happen that way. It’s one of those things, where you’re kind of like in the wrong place at the wrong time. It just happened. I don’t think it even sunk in to everybody yet.”

The 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, Coghlan is one of the most respected and liked players on the team. Since he broke into the big leagues a year ago, Helms has taken him under his wing.

Coghlan and outfielder Brett Carroll, who is now in Triple-A New Orleans, began calling Helms, “Uncle Wes” because he is a veteran leader on a young squad.

It’s not the first time Coghlan has gotten Helms with shaving cream to the face. After a walk-off win in ’09, Coghlan and Carroll each shared the honors in a postgame celebration.

After Coghlan’s injury, manager Edwin Rodriguez addressed the team, saying that post-game pie celebrations are now off limits.

“He’s a very important part of this team,” pitcher Ricky Nolasco said of Coghlan. “All you can do is hope for a speedy recovery. It’s just unfortunate that something like that happens after your spirits are so high after a game. It’s just real unfortunate.”

Coghlan hopes his injury serves as a lesson to other players.

“We need to be a little bit more aware,” Coghlan said. “This is a game of emotions. There is nothing wrong with that. You just need to be a little smarter when you celebrate.

“I’ve been very blessed to not go on the DL before or not have too many injuries in my life. That’s why this is humbling. I’ve played through things. I’ve always prided myself on going out there and continuing to play, and help the team win, if I can play. But this is something I can’t play on.”

As satisfying as it is to win in dramatic fashion, the Marlins are now braced to be without a key player for at least a couple of weeks, and likely longer.

“If you look back at it, you’re glad you had the celebration, but you wish it could have been different,” Helms said.

— Joe Frisaro

(photo courtesy of Robert Vigon/Florida Marlins)

Uggla wants to remain a Marlin

Dan Uggla is part of the Marlins plans, not only for the short term but into the future.

The team is strongly considering signing the two-time All-Star second baseman to a multiyear contract after the season.

Uggla belted his 140th career home run, which places him three behind Mike Lowell for the franchise lead.

Uggla said he would welcome a long-term contract, especially with the new ballpark scheduled to open in 2012.

“If it’s true, it feels good,” Uggla said of the chance to sign for several seasons. “I think everybody knows that I’d love to stay in South Florida. It’s my second home. I love the people down there. I love everything it has to offer. It would make me a very happy man.”

— Joe Frisaro





Marlins-Giants lineups

The Marlins, after winning seven of 10 on their homestand, open a four-game series against the Giants at AT&T Park on Monday.

Ricky Nolasco gets the nod against Barry Zito.

With the lefty Zito on the mound, switch-hitter Emilio Bonifacio started in left field in place of Chris Coghla. Jorge Cantu was back in the lineup.








1) Emilio Bonifacio, LF

2) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Jorge Cantu, 3B

6) Cody Ross, CF

7) Mike Stanton, RF

8) Ronny Paulino, C

9) Ricky Nolasco, P








1) Andres Torres, CF

2) Edgar Renteria, SS

3) Aubrey Huff, RF

4) Buster Posey, C

5) Juan Uribe, 3B

6) Pat Burrell, LF

7) Travis Ishikawa, 1B

8) Freddy Sanchez, 2B

9) Barry Zito, P

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins future payroll projections

For less, the Marlins have had success generating more.

The organization has found a way to maximize its dollars and still field a competitive product.

The 2010 Opening Day payroll, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, was $47,429,719, roughly a $10 million increase from 2009.

uggla.jpgThe Marlins have new ballpark opening in 2012. With the security of the building, along with new revenue streams, payroll projections are expected to climb in the upcoming years.

But just how much will the increase be?

Indications are the 2011 payroll will be slightly higher in 2011. So look for the figure to be in the $50 million range.

In 2012, the first year of the new ballpark, the climb is expected to be in the $55-$60 million range.

Key for the payrolls the next couple of years is the cost of the retractable-roof building in the Little Havana section of Miami. Thus far, everything has been on budget and on schedule. There always is a chance for some unforeseen costs.

If everything runs smoothly, the most dramatic jump in payroll should come as early as 2013. Then, there is a chance the leap in payroll could be towards the middle of the MLB pack. So in three years, the payroll could escalate to about $80 million, a figure the franchise has never seen.

The two big salaries the club already has for 2011 are Hanley Ramirez ($11 million) and Josh Johnson ($7.75 million). So those two are taking up $18.75 million of the expected $50 million payroll next year.

In 2012, Ramirez and Johnson will combine to make $28.75 million.

The Marlins have the flexibility to offer Dan Uggla and Ricky Nolasco multi-year contracts. The organization is expected to pursue locking both of them up after the season.

Uggla, who has 139 career homers, is closing in on Mike Lowell’s all-time home run record of 143. He should achieve that by September, and build on it in the future. Nolasco, who has 50 career wins, is second on the Marlins’ all-time list behind Dontrelle Willis (68). 

— Joe Frisaro

JJ streak on brink of history

Josh Johnson now stands among the elite, but not just for this season.

The Marlins ace has placed himself into a historical conversation.

After limiting the Rockies to one run in 6 1/3 innings on Thursday afternoon, Johnson ran his string of throwing at least six innings while not allowing more than two runs to 13 straight games.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Johnson is now one shy of the longest such streak since the Live Ball Era began in 1920.

Mike Scott rolled off 14 in a row for the Astros in 1986. Johnson is currently second since then, matching Greg Maddux (1995) and Tom Seaver (1971).

Over his last 10 games, JJ has given up seven earned runs in 71 1/3 innings (0.88 ERA).

Johnson’s 1.61 ERA is the best in the Major Leagues.

Streaks since Live Ball Era begane in 1920

1986: Mike Scott, 14
2010: Josh Johnson, 13
1995: Greg Maddux, 13
1971: Tom Seaver, 13
2010: Ubaldo Jimenez, 12
2009: Adam Wainwright, 12

— Joe Frisaro





Hanley gets day off

The Marlins wrap up their four-game set with the Rockies on Thursday afternoon. The start time is 12:10 p.m. at Sun Life Stadium.

All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez is getting the day off.







1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Donnie Murphy, SS

3) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Jorge Cantu, 3B

6) Cody Ross, CF

7) Mike Stanton, RF

8) Ronny Paulino, C

9) Josh Johnson, P

— Joe Frisaro