March 2011

Can chemistry lead to championships?

MIAMI — How important is team chemistry?

Some argue that winning creates chemistry, and that talent ultimately prevails. Others contend that teams have a better chance of winning if there is harmony in the clubhouse.

Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez says, “championships are won in the clubhouse.”

As a organization, the Marlins strive to create a comfortable working environment, because they feel that if players get along with each other they have a better chance to succeed on the field.

The Marlins have one of the youngest teams in the league, and many of their core players grew up together in the Minor League system. Rodriguez managed a number of the current squad before they reached the big leagues, including Chris Coghlan, Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez.

“[Chemistry] is very important,” Rodriguez said. “You spend more time seeing each others facing over the next six months than you see your family. So it’s very important that you feel comfortable. It’s very important that you feel you need to get to the ballpark early, and do your work.”

Even though players like Coghlan, Morrison and Stanton are young, they each have shown tremendous maturity.

“When you are talking about guys 25 and under, you don’t always see that,” Rodriguez said. “But they are very accountable for their actions. That’s how you win championships. No excuses. They show up feeling like they have to prove themselves that they belong here.”

When an entire roster has that mindset, the Marlins feel, that’s a formula for a successful season.

Joe Frisaro

Opening Night tailgating

MIAMI — With more than 40,000 expected for Friday’s opener, fans are encouraged to arrive early to Sun Life Stadium.

For the first time in their history, the Marlins will be playing their home opener at night. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.

Josh Johnson will pitch for Florida, and Mike Pelfrey with throw for the Mets.

The parking lots will open at 4:30, and fans can begin entering the ballpark at 5 p.m., giving fans plenty of time to tailgate.

The 2011 season will be the Marlins last at Sun Life Stadium before they move into their retractable-roof building in Miami next year.

On Thursday night, the Marlins workout at Sun Life Stadium also will be open to the public, free of charge. The players will be on the field by 7 p.m., and the gates open at 6 p.m.

Joe Frisaro




Marlins set lineup for opener

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Immediately after their final Grapefruit League game, the Marlins set their roster as well as their lineup for Friday’s season opener.

The Marlins on Wednesday selected the contracts of infielders Greg Dobbs and Donnie Murphy. They also placed catcher John Baker on the 60-day disabled list.

The roster is now set for the season, which begins on Friday against the Mets at Sun Life Stadium.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez set the batting order for the first game.

Game 1 lineup:

Chris Coghlan, CF

Omar Infante, 2B

Hanley Ramirez, SS

Mike Stanton, RF

Gaby Sanchez, 1B

Logan Morrison, LF

John Buck, C

Donnie Murphy, 3B

Josh Johnson, P

Joe Frisaro


Marlins Spring Finale

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.  — The Marlins wrap up their Grapefruit League schedule against the team they will meet on Opening Night.

In their spring finale, Florida takes on the Mets at Digital Domain Park.

On Friday night, the Marlins will again take on New York in the season opener at Sun Life Stadium.

A crowd of 40,000 is expected in the final opener for the franchise at Sun Life. Beginning in 2012, the Marlins will play in their retractable-roof ballpark in the Little Havana section of Miami.

Several key regulars are not on the trip to Port St. Lucie, including Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante and Gaby Sanchez.

The team’s starting outfield, however, is playing in the last Grapefruit League game for both clubs.


Chris Coghlan, CF
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B
Logan Morrison, LF
Mike Stanton, RF
Greg Dobbs, 3B
John Buck, C
Wes Helms, 1B
Donnie Murphy SS
Joey O’Gara, P

Joe Frisaro

Badenhop optioned to New Orleans

JUPITER, Fla. — The Marlins roster is just about set.

After beating the Cardinals, 4-2, on Tuesday, reliever Burke Badenhop was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.

That solidifies the bullpen, which will feature Leo Nunez, Clay Hensley, Ryan Webb, Mike Dunn, Randy Choate, Edward Mujica and Brian Sanches.

The fact that Badenhop had an option, and Sanches and Mujica didn’t is a main reason for the move.

Other relievers with options are Webb and Dunn.

The Marlins now have 26 in camp.

* The Marlins drew 70,450 in their home games in Jupiter, an average of 4,403.

* Javier Vazquez finished up his spring on a high, giving up one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. Vazquez will be the No. 3 starter, and he will next take the mound on Sunday against the Mets at Sun Life Stadium.

* On Wednesday, while the Marlins take on the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Anibal Sanchez will throw in a Minor League game in Jupiter. Chris Volstad will pitch in a Minor League game on Thursday.

* The Marlins workout on Thursday at Sun Life Stadium is open to the public. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the workout begins at 7 p.m.

* The Marlins anticipate a busy weekend at Sun Life Stadium. A crowd of 40,000 is expected on Friday night in the opener against the Mets. On Saturday, the team anticipates 25,000, and then an additional 20,000 on Sunday.

Joe Frisaro


Marlins make four moves

JUPITER, Fla. — And now 27 remain.

The Marlins moved closer to setting their Opening Day roster on Tuesday after they made four moves in the morning.

Outfielder Dewayne Wise, who has been bothered by a sprained big left toe, was reassigned to Minor League camp. Infielder Ozzie Martinez and catcher Brad Davis were optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, and right-hander Jhan Marinez was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville.

There are now 27 players in camp, and the team has to be down to 25 by Thursday.

Still up for grabs is the final bullpen spots, as well as backup catcher. John Baker, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, remains on the bubble. In the bullpen, Edward Mujica, Brian Sanches and Burke Badenhop appear to be in the mix for two spots.

Wise, a non-roster invitee, had been in strong position to make the club. But for about 10 days he’s been hampered by a sore big left toe. He visited the doctors on Monday.

Scott Cousins, who is on the 40-man roster, now appears to be on the club as the fourth outfielder.

Joe Frisaro


Murphy frontrunner to start

JUPITER, Fla. — Not that it’s a major surprise, but Donnie Murphy has emerged as the frontrunner to be the Marlins starting third baseman on Opening Night.

Murphy made a statement on Sunday in Florida’s 6-5 win over the Nationals in Viera. He made a diving grab to snare Wilson Ramos’ grounder in the hole at short. Collecting himself quickly, he rose and threw Ramos out at first base. At the plate, he went 1-for-4, and he’s hitting .255 in Grapefruit League play.

Murphy’s offense isn’t a concern, but the team has been evaluating how he will play third base on a regular basis.

“What we’ve seen from Murph, we’re very close to saying, yeah, he should be the guy,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez added that he’d like to see Emilio Bonifacio and Greg Dobbs at third. Bonifacio is expected to be used more in a super utility role. Dobbs, a non-roster invitee, likely is making the team as a lefty hitter off the bench.

* The Marlins split squad game against the Mets on Monday was called because of rain.

* If the Marlins split squad game with the Cardinals on Monday is washed out, Ricky Nolasco will either throw a sim game in the cages or toss a Minor League game on Tuesday morning.

Joe Frisaro

Coghlan’s knee, swing are fine

VIERA, Fla. — Any doubts about the stability of Chris Coghlan’s left knee can be erased.

The Marlins’ 25-year-old center fielder, who underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, was again at full-speed on Sunday in a 6-4 win over the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium.

Coghlan delivered a three-run triple in the seventh inning, and he raised his Grapefruit League average to .391.

Sprinting around the bases on Sunday reinforced that Coghlan’s surgically-repaired knee is fine.

“It’s one of those things when you come back, you feel cautious when you first start playing,” Coghlan said. “But now, I don’t feel that way. For me, it’s a big relief mentally that I can go out and play the way I’m used to playing. I don’t have any of that cautiousness like I did the first couple of games I’ve been playing.”

Of bigger concern is his right shoulder, which hasn’t been at 100 percent the past few weeks. Coghlan is recovering from a sprained shoulder, and he is being careful throwing. He will continue rehabbing for a while, and he is expected to be in the Opening Night lineup on Friday against the Mets at Sun Life Stadium.

The way Coghlan is hitting is similiar to how he performed during his 2009 NL Rookie of the Year season.

“I’ve been really pleased, being out six months,” he said. “You can hit all day off a tee, and it’s nothing like the game. I’m very pleased with where I’m at after the time off.”

Joe Frisaro

Coghlan in CF vs Nationals

VIERA, Fla. — Chris Coghlan is once again in center field on Sunday as he continues to fine tune for the season opener.

Back from a strained right shoulder, Coghlan expects to see substantial playing time in the final days before the Malins open against the Mets on Friday at Sun Life Stadium.

On Sunday, Florida is facing the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium.

Adalberto Mendez is getting the start against lefty Ross Detwiler.


Coghlan, CF

Bonifacio, 2B

Dobbs, LF

Helms, 1B

Murphy, 3B

Cousins, RF

Davis, C

Martinez, SS

Mendez, P


Desmond, SS

Werth, RF

Zimmerman, 3B

Ankiel, CF

Morse, LF

Ramos, C

Espinosa, 2B

Cora, 1B

Detwiler, P

Joe Frisaro



JJ to miss throw Minors game Sunday

JUPITER, Fla. — Josh Johnson’s Grapefruit League season is over.

Rather than throw in his scheduled start against the Nationals in Viera on Sunday, the Marlins ace is staying back in Jupiter and pitching in a Minor League game. There is nothing physically wrong with Johnson, who made five spring starts and he has a 1-2 record with a 4.95 ERA in 20 innings.

Not facing the Nationals on Sunday makes sense, because Johnson is set to face them in the sixth game of the season, on April 7 at Sun Life Stadium.

Adalberto Mendez is scheduled to pitch in Viera on Sunday.

Joe Frisaro