September 2010

Marlins-Nolasco contract talks update

With an eye towards the future, the Marlins are hoping to sign Ricky Nolasco to a multiyear contract. Based on how talks have gone recently, there is a better chance that the two sides will agree to a one-year deal for 2011, and see how things progress from there.

The last serious talks between both sides was last Thursday, Sept. 2. As reported recently by Juan Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, there is a “significant gulf” between the parties.

Indications are, for at least for now, the sides are planning on discussing a one-year deal after the season for 2011. Because Nolasco has “Super Two” arbitration status, he reached arbitration in 2009. But he won’t have the necessary six-years of MLB service time to become a free agent until after the 2012 season. So Nolasco, who is making $3.8 million now, is under club control for two more years. 

There is a chance the team will go year to year, meaning they will have Nolasco for when they move into their retractable-roof ballpark in the Little Havana section of Miami in 2012.

Nolasco is undergoing surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. Although he won’t pitch again in 2010, there is no indication the Marlins are concerned about the right-hander having a speedy recovery.

As history has shown, having talks stall in early September doesn’t mean a multiyear contract won’t be reached sometime before the start of Spring Training in 2011. Last offseason is an example.

In November of 2009, negotiations between the Marlins and Josh Johnson broke down. In January, Johnson signed a four-year, $39 million contract.

Nolasco finished 2010 with a 14-9 record and a 4.51 ERA. His 54 wins are second most in Marlins history behind Dontrelle Willis’ 68.

The Marlins also are in the process of trying to sign Dan Uggla to a multiyear contract. But both sides haven’t talked seriously in about three weeks.

— Joe Frisaro

Mendez starts, strains quad

Adalberto Mendez had everything going for him in his Major League debut. That is, until the time he collected his first MLB hit.

After slapping a single to right field in the seventh inning, Mendez pulled up as he approached the bag. He stumbled a few steps and was immediately treated. He exited with a right quad strain and is listed as day to day.

Mendez said he cramped and that he is fine. The team hasn’t ruled out him making his next start.

Mendez, 28, was enjoying a stellar day until the time he was helped off the field.

Promoted from Triple-A New Orleans, the 28-year-old limited the Phillies to one hit over six scoreless innings. He struck out six, walked two and hit a batter.

Having thrown 89 pitches with 55 strikes, Mendez was expected to go back out for the seventh inning.

— Joe Frisaro


Morrison back in lineup

Considering himself “really lucky,” Logan Morrison was back in the Marlins lineup on Monday in Game 1 of a doubleheader with the Phillies at Citizens Bank.

lomo12.jpgMorrison received a scare and a big bruise under his left eye after being hit in the face by a foul ball off the bat of Emilio Bonifacio in the 10th inning on Sunday.

While standing on deck, Morrison was timing the pitches and simulating a swing when he was struck by the foul ball. Bonifacio ended up hitting a triple, and scoring on Scott Cousins’ pinch-hit walk-off single to beat the Braves, 7-6.

Cousins batted for Morrison, who was tested. An X-ray came back negative, and Morrison passed the vision tests. He also didn’t show any symptoms for a concussion, so he was cleared to play.

“I got really lucky, for sure,” said Morrison on Monday, sporting a big bruise under his left eye. “It looks a lot worse [than it feels].”

Why would the rookie left fielder risk playing now?

“These are important games. I want to be out there if I can,” he said. “I didn’t have any symptoms [for a concussion]. No dizziness. No ringing in the ears. So I was really, really lucky. I probably won’t be standing out there any more.”

Lineup for Monday, Game 1: Emilio Bonifacio (CF), Logan Morrison (LF), Hanley Ramirez (SS), Dan Uggla (2B), Gaby Sanchez (1B), Chad Tracy (3B), Mike Stanton (RF), Brad Davis (C), Adalberto Mendez (P).

— Joe Frisaro

(photo courtesy of Logan Morrison)




Ceda, Buente get called up

In preparation for a day/night doubleheader on Monday, the Marlins have loaded up on pitchers.

The team announced that right-handed relievers Jose Ceda and Jay Buente have been recalled from Double-A Jacksonville.

The Marlins and Phillies will play two games at Citizens Bank Park. The first game makes up a rainout on June 9.

Ceda will be in a big league uniform for the first time. And the organization will get its first glimpse at the hard-throwing right-hander who potentially can be a big part of their future.

At 6-foot-4, 275-pounds, he is an imposing figure. But Ceda has dealt with shoulder problems since he was obtained from the Cubs for Kevin Gregg on Nov. 13, 2008.

Ceda appeared in 27 games for Jacksonville, and he’s struck out 45 and walked 20 in 32 1/3 innings.

If healthy, Ceda may emerge as a factor in the bullpen, not just for the rest of the season but into the upcoming years.

Ceda posted a 4-1 record and 1.39 ERA for the Suns.

Buente, meanwhile, appeared earlier this season with the Marlins. He’s pitched in four games and logged 5 1/3 innings.

Buente has also seen action in 34 Minor League games, and he’s logged 48 2/3 innings, and he has a 3.14 ERA.

After the season, Buente is expected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League.

— Joe Frisaro



Rivera, Mendez brought up

The Marlins added some catching depth and another arm on Saturday, as their September call-up period continues.

Catcher Mike Rivera and right-hander Adalberto Mendez had their contracts selected from Triple-A New Orleans.

Rivera, 33, has played in parts of seven big league seasons, breaking in with the Tigers in 2001. Rivera also played for Padres and the Brewers. He last played for the Brewers in 2009.

Mendez was 5-4 with a 4.14 ERA in 28 games with nine starts for New Orleans. The plan is to start Mendez in Game 1 of Monday’s doubleheader at Philadelphia. Anibal Sanchez will start in the second game.

— Joe Frisaro

Hensley closing for now

Closing time will have a new look for the Marlins.

Clay Hensley, who has been the primary eighth-inning setup reliever, has been switched to closer in place of Leo Nunez.

Nunez, who is 29 of 37 in save opportunities, will now be in a setup spot. The team is hoping he can fine tune things without the pressure of logging the final outs.

In August, Nunez saved three of six games, and he had a 9.31 ERA in 9 2/3 innings. Opponents batted .391 against him in the month.

Nunez worked a scoreless eighth inning in the Marlins’ 6-1 win over the Braves on Friday night.

Because it wasn’t save opportunity, Burke Badenhop finished up the ninth inning.

Hensley has never logged a save in his big league career. But the right-hander has been steady in the bullpen. In 60 2/3 innings, his ERA is 2.67, and he has struck out 66 while walking 23.

— Joe Frisaro


Gaby in lineup Friday

On a day he was suspended for three games by Major League Baseball, Gaby Sanchez was back in the Marlins lineup on Friday in the series opener with the Braves.

Sanchez is appealing his three-game penalty levied by MLB on Friday. Sanchez was involved in the melee with the Nationals on Wednesday night.

Friday also marked the return of Dan Uggla to the starting lineup. Uggla missed three straight games due to a strained right groin.

The Marlins on Friday also announced they selected the contracts of outfielder Scott Cousins and reliever Chris Leroux from Triple-A New Orleans.

Here’s the Marlins lineup for Friday: Cameron Maybin (CF), Logan Morrison (LF), Hanley Ramirez (SS), Dan Uggla (2B), Gaby Sanchez (1B), Chad Tracy (3B), Mike Stanton (RF), Brad Davis (C), Andrew Miller (P).

— Joe Frisaro


Surgery a success for Baker

Don’t rule out John Baker being back in 2011, and perhaps being ready for Spring Training.

Baker underwent Tommy John surgery on Friday, having his right elbow ligament repaired by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. All went well.

baker1.jpgIn a text message on Friday, the Marlins catcher noted that he was upbeat. As for recovery, he said: “There were even some rumblings of the words ‘Spring Training.’ ”

Dr. Andrews on Friday also smoothed the olecranon — the bone at the tip of his right elbow. In 2007, Baker broke the same bone.

Baker is looking forward to soon beginning the recovery process, and he is looking forward to coming back “stronger than ever in 2011.”

With Baker out, Brad Davis currently is handling the Marlins catching duties. Chris Hatcher is backing up.

On Monday, the team added some catching depth by signing Mike Rivera to a Minor League contract. Rivera could join the club at any time.

— Joe Frisaro

(Photo courtesy of John Baker)

Rivera a catching option

Injuries have created a catching need for the Marlins.

Brett Hayes has a separated left shoulder, and on Friday, John Baker is undergoing Tommy John surgery.

To help address the ssituation, Mike Rivera, who has big league experience, has been signed to a Minor League contract. Rivera is at Triple-A New Orleans. He could join the Marlins at any time.

Brad Davis and Chris Hatcher are handling catching duties now for Florida.

— Joe Frisaro


Baker to have Tommy John surgery

The injury news isn’t getting any better for the Marlins.

On Friday, catcher John Baker will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The procedure will be performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Baker, who hasn’t played since May, may need about a year to recover.

Also, on Thursday, infielder Donnie Murphy, who dislocated his right wrist on Wednesday night, underwent surgery.

Murphy, who started at second base in the Marlins’ 16-10 win over the Nationals, dislocated his wrist while making a catch on Ian Desmond’s short fly ball into shallow center field in the fourth inning.

Sometime next week, pitcher Ricky Nolasco will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Nolasco is out for the season.

— Joe Frisaro