September 2010

JJ shut down for season

In his heart, Josh Johnson wants to be on the mound. The reality is a mid back strain is preventing him.

So rather than risk further injury, Johnson has been shut down by the Marlins for the remainder of the season.

An All-Star for the second straight year, Johnson finishes his season with an 11-6 record and 2.30 ERA in 28 starts.

“It’s the smart thing to do. It’s not fun being on the sideline,” Johnson said on Monday. “I’ve been on this side, and pretty much worse than this. I don’t want to be on this side, and not be pitching for this team.”

The ailment worse was an elbow injury that required Tommy John ligament surgery in 2007.

Johnson last pitched on Sept. 4 against the Braves, and he finished with a loss, giving up two runs over six innings. Even with a back ailment, he struck out 12 that day.

Johnson also has been bothered by right shoulder inflammation. But the shoulder is improving, and it is his back that has been the bigger issue.

The Marlins were hoping Johnson would be able to throw a bullpen session either on Saturday or Sunday when the team was in Washington. However, his back was hurting and he wasn’t close to pitching either day.

Although Johnson isn’t using the back as an excuse, observes on the team said it was bothering him for about five or six starts before he was shut down.

— Joe Frisaro

Pirates claim Leroux off waivers

Chris Leroux was claimed off waivers on Monday by the Pirates.

The 26-year-old reliever appeared in 17 games for the Marlins, and posted a 7.00 ERA, allowing 14 earned runs in 18 innings.

Leroux appeared in 26 Minor League games in the Marlins system, including 21 with Triple-A New Orleans.

Leroux was a September call-up for the Marlins.

— Joe Frisaro

Double-A Jacksonville advances

Matt Dominguez, one of the Marlins’ top prospects, turned in a big night on Sunday to help the Jacksonville Suns advance to the Southern League championship series.

Dominguez belted a two-run homer and added a two-run triple in the Suns’ 8-3 win over Mobile in the South Division championships.

The Suns claimed the South Division crown, taking the series, 3-1.

Double-A Jacksonville will now face North Division champion Tennessee in the best-of-five series beginning on Tuesday.

Jacksonville looks to repeat as the Southern League champions.

In 2009, the club won the title with a squad that featured Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison.

Marlins rookie slugger Mike Stanton opened the season with the Suns. He belted 21 homers there before getting called up on June 8.

Morrison opened this year at Triple-A New Orleans. The 23-year-old now is the Marlins left fielder.

— Joe Frisaro


Gaby begins suspension

Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who was in the middle of the benches-clearing altercation with the Nationals on Sept. 1, is beginning his three-game suspension on Friday night at Washington.

Wes Helms is getting the start at first base for Florida in its first meeting with the Nationals since the incident in Miami.

Sanchez was one of the active participants in the altercation as he knocked down Nyjer Morgan, who had charged the mound and thrown a punch at Chris Volstad.

In the seventh inning of the Sept. 1 game, Sanchez was drilled by a Doug Slaten pitch. Slaten received a three-game suspension.

By serving the suspension now, Sanchez will miss all three games at Washington.

Marlins lineup for Friday: Emilio Bonifacio (3B), Logan Morrison (LF), Hanley Ramirez (SS), Dan Uggla (2B), Wes Helms (1B), Mike Stanton (RF), Cameron Maybin (CF), Brad Davis (C), Alex Sanabia (P).

— Joe Frisaro



Famous on-field takedowns

Marlins veteran reliever Will Ohman has seen his share of intense and interesting on field altercations through the years.

terrytate1.jpgOn Sept. 1, there was high drama at Sun Life Stadium when the Marlins and Nationals went at it after Nyjer Morgan charged pitcher Chris Volstad. Both benches cleared and the rest has become history.

The way Gaby Sanchez knocked down Morgan with a clothes-line move reminded Ohman of an incident at Wrigley Field in 2007.

That afternoon, Cubs reliever Bob Howry, who stands 6-foot-5, 220-pounds, gave up a home run. An upset fan jumped onto the field and approached Howry, who is someone not to mess with.

Before the pitcher could react, a Wrigley Field security guard made a memorable takedown.

“Nyjer is definitely quicker than the fan,” Ohman said. “But the open field tackles were very similar, Gaby’s to the security guard at Wrigley Fan.”

“I didn’t even notice him until, as soon as I turned around, the [guard] clothes-lined him and took him down,” Howry told reporters in Chicago that day.

terrytate3.jpgOhman recalls the fan racing to the mound in Wrigley Field: “He ran out to the mound just drunk as a skunk yelling, ‘What are you doing?’ The next thing you know, he was plowed as if it were Terry Tate Office Linebacker.”

The Terry Tate reference dates back to the 2003 Super Bowl when Reebok aired a series of short comedy TV commercials featuring a linebacker taking on an enforcer role in an office setting. Anyone steps out of line, “Terrible” Terry Tate was there to put things back in order.

As for the fan dropped by Wrigley Security, Ohman said: “It was unbelievable. Middle of the field. Clear shot. And he picked the worst guy on our team to try to rumble with. It was Bob Howry who would have like cattle driven him into the ground.”

— Joe Frisaro

Angels in the bullpen

With the season winding down, it’s that time of year again where rookies have to pay their dues and honor the age old baseball tradition of dressing in embarrassing attire.

Some call it rookie hazing. Others see it as just good fun.

rookies9-9.jpgTypically, entire rookie classes must go through some sort of ritual. The Marlins relievers are getting some extra treatment from the veterans. Starting in Philadelphia and continuing through the end of the season, the rookie relievers are walking out to the bullpen dressed in angle wings and halos.

Rookie relievers Jay Buente, Jose Ceda and Chris Leroux certainly heard their share of heckling from the crowd at Citizens Bank Park.

“I’d say initially getting out there is kind of embarrassing, but once you’re out there, you get used to hearing at all the fans yelling at you all at one time,” said Buente, who wasn’t sure if he should remove the halo during the national anthem. “You couldn’t really hear any one single fan.”

Seeing the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Ceda, the Phillies Phanatic came up and gave the reliever a big hug.

“My highlight was seeing Jose Ceda hug the mascot,” Leroux. “That was my highlight.”

One Marlin, who didn’t want to be named, said: “Ceda hugging the mascot looked like two mascots hugging each other.”

The idea of wings and halos was a brainstorm of veteran Wes Helms.

Will Ohman, a veteran in the bullpen, says the rookies will wear their outfits for the rest of the season, so fans at Sun Life Stadium and other markets will be able to see the costumes.

All rookies go through some special routine. When Ohman was a rookie, he dressed as a cowgirl.

Later in the season, the position players will get into the act.

Ohman noted that since relievers don’t sit in the dugout during the games, they have to do their own special bonding in the pen.

Buente noted that he is having fun with it, because it beats the alternative — not being with a big league club in September.

— Joe Frisaro


Phillies-Marlins lineups Wednesday

The Marlins look to salvage a four-game split on Wednesday night with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Andrew Miller gets the nod, while Cole Hamels will start for the Phillies. Hanley Ramirez got the night off.

Ramirez was plunked in the back by a pitch on Monday, and he is a little sore. Nothing serious.








1) Emilio Bonifacio, SS

2) Logan Morrison, LF

3) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Mike Stanton, RF

6) Wes Helms, 3B

7) Cameron Maybin, CF

8) Brad Davis, C

9) Andrew Miller, P







1) Shane Victorino, CF

2) Placido Polanco, 3B

3) Chase Utley, 2B

4) Ryan Howard, 1B

5) Jayson Werth, RF

6) Jimmy Rollins, SS

7) Raul Ibanez, LF

8) Carlos Ruiz, C

9) Cole Hamels, P

— Joe Frisaro




Nolasco, Johnson injury updates

Ricky Nolasco underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee. Expected recovery time for the Marlins right-hander is four to six weeks.

Also on Wednesday, Josh Johnson was sent back to South Florida to have his back and shoulder examined by team physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan.

Johnson has some inflammation in his shoulder, but no structural damage. He has also has a mid-back strain.

The most encouraging news about JJ is his ailment is not serious at all.

The right-hander will rejoin the club on Friday in Washington. Nothing has been determined if he will be able to pitch any time soon.

Nolasco, who finished the season with a 14-9 record and 4.51 ERA, had attempted to pitch through the knee problem. He last pitched on Aug. 28 at Atlanta, logging two innings.

“We have to make sure that JJ is ok, not only for the time being, but we have to make sure that his career is not in jeopardy,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said.

If Johnson is cleared to pitch, the earliest he would be in the rotation is on Wednesday, Sept. 15 against the Phillies at Sun Life Stadium.

— Joe Frisaro

JJ to visit Dr. Kaplan

Pitching woes are piling up for the Marlins.

Now their ace is going to be out for an undetermined amount of time.

Two-time All-Star Josh Johnson is traveling to South Florida on Wednesday to have his back and shoulder examined by team physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan.

Johnson cut short a between starts bullpen session on Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

The 26-year-old two-time All-Star was slated to pitch on Friday against Washington at Nationals Park. Alex Sanabia now will start that game.

“The priority here is to make sure JJ is fine,” Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said.  “He’s going to see Dr. Kaplan tomorrow. We’re going to check his back and his shoulder. We want to make sure everything is alright with him.”

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins-Phillies lineup Tuesday

After the teams split two games on Monday at Citizens Bank Park, the Marlins and Phillies were back in action on Tuesday night.

Chris Volstad gets the nod against Joe Blanton.








1) Emilio Bonifacio, 3B

2) Logan Morrison, LF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

6) Mike Stanton, RF

7) Cameron Maybin, CF

8) Brad Davis, C

9) Chris Volstad, P







1) Shane Victorino, CF

2) Placido Polanco, 3B

3) Chase Utley, 2B

4) Ryan Howard, 1B

5) Jimmy Rollins, SS

6) Raul Ibanez, LF

7) Jayson Werth, RF

8) Carlos Ruiz, C

9) Joe Blanton, P

— Joe Frisaro