March 2011

Short takes for Saturday

JUPITER, Fla. — Aside from Chris Volstad, the Marlins lineup on Saturday could be what takes the field on Opening Night against the Mets.

Against the Cardinals on Saturday, Donnie Murphy is batting eighth and playing third base. For the first time, all three outfielders are in the same lineup — Chris Coghlan in center, Logan Morrison in left and Mike Stanton in right.

The biggest change for the opener, of course, will be Josh Johnson, who will be the Opening Night starter on April 1.

Worth noting from Edwin’s morning meeting with the media:

* A decision on who starts at third base could be made by Monday. As of now, it appears Murphy will start, and Emilio Bonifacio will be in a utility role.

* The rotation, as expected, will be Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Javier Vazquez, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Volstad. Rodriguez said he could have flip-flopped Sanchez and Vazquez, but gave the nod to Vazquez because of his overall experience.

* While Edwin didn’t flat out announce the bench, signs point to it being Wes Helms, Greg Dobbs (lefty bat), Dewayne Wise, Bonifacio and Brett Hayes.

* In recent days, a number of relievers have thrown in Minor League games to get stretched out. Lefty Randy Choate threw a full inning on a back field, and needed just seven pitches.

Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins-Cardinals lineup

JUPITER, Fla. — Chris Volstad is matched up against Chris Carpenter on Saturday when the Marlins and Cardinals take the field on Saturday afternoon at Roger Dean Stadium.

As expected, the Marlins will have their outfield trio of Chris Coghlan, Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton playing together. It’s the first time the expected starting outfield is together in a Grapefruit League game.

CARDINALS

Ryan Theriot, SS

Colby Rasmus, CF

Albert Pujols, 1B

Matt Holliday, LF

Lance Berkman, RF

Skip Schumaker, 2B

Yadier Molina, C

Daniel Descalso, 3B

Chris Carpenter, P

MARLINS

Chris Coghlan, CF

Omar Infante, 2B

Hanley Ramirez, SS

Mike Stanton, RF

Gaby Sanchez, 1B

Logan Morrison, LF

John Buck, C

Donnie Murphy, 3B

Chris Volstad, P

Joe Frisaro

Opening Night a week away

JUPITER, Fla. — Opening Night is a week away, and the Marlins are expecting a fun filled and festive evening when they take on the Mets.

For the first time, Florida will be opening at night, with their 7:10 p.m. game on April 1. It will be the organization’s final opener at Sun Life Stadium. In 2012, the club is moving into their retractable-roof building, and be called the Miami Marlins.

The National Anthem will be performed by saxophoist Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band fame.

The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Mike Lowell, the Marlins former third baseman who retired last year after spending five seasons with the Red Sox. There will be a video tribute to Lowell, who remains one of the most popular all-time Marlins.

Also in pregame, Dave Van Horne, the Marlins radio play-by-play announcer on 790 The Ticket, will be honored. Van Horne is the 2010 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, the highest honor for a broadcaster. He will be inducted into the broadcasters’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame on July 24.

Marlins ace Josh Johnson will pitch in the opener against New York’s Mike Pelfrey.

Joe Frisaro

Wise in center vs. Mets

JUPITER, Fla. — Chris Coghlan has been playing center field in Minor League games, but the Marlins are not quite ready to put him in Grapefruit League action.

So Dewayne Wise, who is looking to make the club as a non-roster invitee, is getting the start in center field.

The Marlins may be leaning towards keeping Coghlan out of Grapefruit League games, because it could impact a retroactive date should the team place him on the disabled list to start the season.

Players can appear in Minor League games, but if they are in either a Grapefruit or Cactus league game after March 22, they are not eligible to be placed on the season retroactive. So should Coghlan, or any other Marlin, go on the DL retroactive to March 22, they would be eligible to play on April 7, or after the first six days of the season.

Wise has enjoyed a solid spring. Greg Dobbs, who is a frontrunner to make the team as a left-handed bat off the bench, is getting the start on Thursday at third base.

METS

1) Willie Harris, CF
2) Chin-lung Hu, 3B
3) Daniel Murphy, 2B
4) Ike Davis, 1B
5) Nick Evans, LF
6) Lucas Duda, RF
7) Josh Thole, C
8) Luis Hernandez, SS
9) D.J. Carrasco, P

MARLINS

1) Dewayne Wise, CF
2) Omar Infante, 2B
3) Hanley Ramirez, SS
4) Mike Stanton, RF
5) Gaby Sanchez, 1B
6) Logan Morrison, LF
7) Greg Dobbs, 3B
8) Brett Hayes, C
9) Anibal Sanchez, P

Joe Frisaro

Not in market for third baseman

JUPITER, Fla. — Sending Matt Dominguez down to the Minor Leagues has opened the door for possible trade speculation involving the Marlins.

According to a league source, the Marlins are not actively seeking a trade for a third baseman. The team isn’t initiating talks with other clubs.

There has been speculation linking Texas veteran Michael Young being on the Marlins’ radar, but the club doesn’t have any interest.

A while back, the Marlins did explore what it would take to acquire Young, but Texas’ asking price in terms of prospects was much higher than Florida is willing to part with. It is believed that the Rangers were looking for Dominguez in any possible deal, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

The feeling within the Marlins is that, with some time in Triple-A, Dominguez will eventually be ready to contribute this year. It just may take a month or two, but the Marlins appear to be willing to stay with what they have in camp.

Donnie Murphy and Emilio Bonifacio are the main candidates for the job.

Joe Frisaro

Stanton in lineup vs. Red Sox

JUPITER, Fla. — On a day their third base position became unsettled, the Marlins solidified themselves in right field.

For the first time in Grapefruit League play, Mike Stanton is in the lineup, playing right field and batting cleanup on Thursday against the Red Sox at Roger Dean Stadium.

Stanton, 21, has been out with a strained right quad, which he suffered on Feb. 27 in a scrimmage against the University of Miami.

“With Michael back, that bottom half of our lineup looks stronger with him in the middle,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said.

Earlier on Thursday, Matt Dominguez was reassigned to Minor League camp. Donnie Murphy and Emilio Bonifacio will get looks at third base until the season begins.

Javier Vazquez will pitch for Florida on Thursday, while Clay Buchholz will throw for the Red Sox.

RED SOX

1) Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2) Jed Lowrie, SS
3) David Ortiz, DH
4) Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5) Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
6) Mike Cameron, RF
7) Ryan Kalish, LF
8) Drew Sutton, 1B
9) Nate Spears, 2B

MARLINS

1) Emilio Bonifacio, CF
2) Omar Infante, 2B
3) Hanley Ramirez, SS
4) Mike Stanton, RF
5) Gaby Sanchez, 1B
6) Logan Morrison, LF
7) John Buck, C
8) Donnie Murphy, 3B
9) Javier Vazquez, P

Joe Frisaro

Dominguez sent to Minor League camp

JUPITER, Fla. — The Marlins third base job is wide open.

On Thursday morning, the team announced that prospect Matt Dominguez has been reassigned to Minor League camp.

Dominguez, the 21-year-old prospect, has struggled at the plate, hitting .190 (8-for-42) with a .292 on base percentage.

The Marlins made five other moves on Thursday, reassigning to Minor League camp — Josh Kroeger, Frank Mata, Joe Thurston and Ruben Gotay. After the game, they sent lefty reliever Victor Garate down.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez said he will give Donnie Murphy and Emilio Bonifacio most of the work at third base, and there could be a bit of a platoon situation.

Bonifacio also may be in center field because Chris Coghlan’s right shoulder is a concern.

Rodriguez repeated that he is not going to move second baseman Omar Infante to third base.

The roster is down to 31.

The team also may be trying to explore trade options, but the asking price is higher than they may be willing to part with.

In another move, outfielder John Raynor, who was sent down a few days ago, asked for and received his release from the organization.

Joe Frisaro

Open workout at Sun Life

Marlins fans will be able to get a quick look at the ballclub before the regular season opens on April 1 against the Mets.

The Marlins’ Thursday, March 31, workout will be open to the public for free at Sun Life Stadium. It will be the club’s last day of drills before the regular season gets underway.

The workout will begin at 7 p.m., and the gates will open at 6 p.m.

For the first time, the Marlins will open their season at night. The April 1 contest starts at 7 p.m.

Josh Johnson will make his second Opening Day start.

It also will be the Marlins’ final opener at Sun Life Stadium. In 2012, the team will move into their retractable-roof stadium in the Little Havana section of Miami.

Tickets for the opener are available on www.marlins.com.

Joe Frisaro
 

Nolasco polishing up delivery

For Ricky Nolasco, getting season ready is coming in two stages.

First, the 28-year-old had to show he is healthy. He’s done that, recovering from a sprained right thumb, to get back on the mound. The injury caused him to miss the first half of Spring Training. He’s also recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

Now, Nolasco is working on getting sharp. The off time set him back in terms of polishing up his delivery and getting hitters out. The rust showed in his first two Grapefruit League starts, where he’s allowed 11 runs on 12 hits in four innings.

Nolasco is back on the mound on Wednesday when the Marlins face the Braves in Lake Buena Vista. Atlanta is starting Tim Hudson.

Between his last start and now, Nolasco has worked with pitching coach Randy St. Claire. The two have watched video and detected some glitches in his delivery.

“Just stuff that Randy and I saw,” Nolasco said. “I felt like I was flying open early, which the video obviously showed. He wanted to point that out to me, to stay closed a little bit longer.”

Nolasco also is looking to get his legs more into his delivery.

“I wasn’t really using my legs as much, which is another thing that we noticed,” he said. “It was causing me, instead of going directly to the plate, I was falling off. Those little things will come with the more that I throw.

“It’s nothing we’re worried about, but it’s something we’re working on. When I’m using my lower half a little more, it helps me stay in line through the ball and through the target.”

MARLINS

1) Dewayne Wise, CF
2) Ozzie Martinez, 2B
3) Logan Morrison, LF
4) Gaby Sanchez, 1B
5) Donnie Murphy, SS
6) Scott Cousins, RF
7) Brett Hayes, C
8) Matt Dominguez, 3B
9) Ricky Nolasco, P

Joe Frisaro

Dominguez has stomach virus

JUPITER, Fla. — The stomach virus that has gone around Marlins camp has caught up to Matt Dominguez.

The 21-year-old third baseman was sent home on Tuesday morning. In recent days, Logan Morrison, Hanley Ramirez, Brett Hayes and John Baker each have dealt with flu-like symptoms.

Dominguez is battling for the third base job, and he’s been struggling of late.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez said a decision should be made on the third base job by the end of the upcoming weekend.

Dominguez is scheduled to make the trip to Lake Buena Vista on Wednesday to face the Braves.

While the Marlins would like to see Dominguez’s defense in the lineup, Rodriguez said: “We’re not going to force the situation.”

Other items of note from Edwin’s morning media session:

* Mike Stanton and Chris Coghlan are both playing the outfield in Minor League games on Tuesday. Both are expected to play for the Marlins on Thursday against the Red Sox.

Rodriguez sounds confident that both will be ready for the April 1 Opening Night game with the Mets at Sun Life Stadium.

* Josh Johnson should throw 85-90 pitches on Tuesday against the Twins. Ryan Webb, Leo Nunez and Mike Dunn also are expected to pitch.

* Greg Dobbs is making his first start in the outfield on Tuesday, getting action in right field. Dobbs is a frontrunner to win the lefty bat off the bench job.

* Emilio Bonifacio, while a candidate to play either second or third base if Dominguez doesn’t make the team, also is an option in center field if Coghlan isn’t ready for Opening Day.

* Donnie Murphy is certainly in the mix to play third base.

* Rodriguez added that the final days of camp should be interesting because cuts made by other clubs could impact the Marlins. For instance, Florida may look to pick up a player or two who are released from other camps.

Joe Frisaro

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