August 2011

Top pick may be deadline decision

DENVER — Whether Jose Fernandez signs with the Marlins may become a deadline decision.

According to a source familiar with the negotiations, talks are expected to go “down to the wire.”

All MLB teams have until 12:01 p.m. ET on Tuesday to come to terms with their draftees, meaning official notification has to be in the Commissioner’s Office when the clock strikes midnight.

A team that does not sign its first- or second-round pick will receive a compensatory pick in the 2012 Draft. That selection will come at the same slot, plus one. In other words, if a team doesn’t sign the No. 9 overall pick, it would receive the No. 10 pick — technically 9A — the following year. A team does not receive a 2012 pick if it does not come to terms with a selection made with a compensation pick this year.

Fernandez, the 14th overall pick, is a graduate of Tampa Alonso High School. A Cuban defector, the 6-foot-3 right-hander sports a fastball that has been clocked as high as 98 mph.

As of late last week, the two sides were far apart. The projected slot for the 14th pick is $1.6 million, and according to some reports, Fernandez is seeking close to $2 million more than that.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins option Morrison, release Helms

MIAMI — After Saturday’s 3-0 loss to the Giants, the Marlins optioned Logan Morrison to Triple-A New Orleans, and released veteran Wes Helms.

Morrison went hitless in three at-bats on Saturday, lowering his batting average to .249 to go along with 17 homers and 60 RBIs.

The 23-year-old is batting .273 with one homer and four RBIs in nine games in August. He has been batting mostly third recently since Hanley Ramirez went on the disabled list.

The Marlins did not announce any corresponding moves on Saturday. Bryan Petersen is a candidate to play left field regularly, with Mike Cameron playing center field.

Helms, 35, struck out in a pinch-hit appearance on Saturday, and the veteran is hitting .191 with six RBIs in 110 at-bats this year.

Helms initially joined the Marlins in 2006, and in 2007, he signed with the Phillies. Helms rejoined the Marlins in 2007, and he has been a veteran leader on a young team.

His role has primarily been as a pinch-hitter and late-inning replacement.

As a pinch-hitter this year, he was 7-for-32 (.219).

Helms was signed through this season for $1 million. The organization has long considered him a candidate to join their coaching ranks once he is finished playing.

Helms has said he hopes to play at least another year or two.

Joe Frisaro

Buck moving up HR ladder

MIAMI — A year ago, John Buck belted 20 home runs while with the Blue Jays. If the veteran can equal that total, it would be the most ever by a Marlins’ catcher.

On Tuesday night, Buck moved closer to that milestone with a three-run shot to left field off Atlanta’s Anthony Varvaro in the seventh inning.

The homer was Buck’s 13th of the season, tying him for the fourth most total among catchers in team history.

The franchise leader is Charles Johnson, who hit 19 in 1997.


Charles Johnson 19 1997
Charles Johnson 18 2001
Miguel Olivo 16 2006
Miguel Olivo 16 2007
Ivan Rodriguez 16 2003
Benito Santiago 13 1993
Charles Johnson 13 1996
John Buck 13 2011

Joe Frisaro

Morrison makes first start at first

MIAMI — In his first 153 MLB games, Logan Morrison has made 151 starts in left field.

For the first time in his career, the 23-year-old will be starting a big league game at his natural position. The Marlins on Tuesday are starting Morrison at first base, while Gaby Sanchez is given a day off.

A first baseman throughout much of his Minor League career, Morrison switched to playing left field in July of 2010, a few weeks before he was promoted to the big leagues.

In recent weeks, Morrison has taken grounders at first base, just to give manager Jack McKeon more options.

Morrison is getting the nod at first base on Tuesday against the Braves.

Morrison sat out Monday night after he suffered a gash on his right knee during a collison with Emilio Bonifacio. Morrison has five stitches in the knee.

The Marlins are looking to snap their five-game losing streak. They are sending Clay Hensley to the mound on Tuesday.


Bonifacio SS

Amezaga 2B

Dobbs 3B

Stanton RF

Morrison 1B

Cameron CF

Petersen LF

Buck C

Hensley P

Joe Frisaro



Trying to cool off Uggla

MIAMI — Former Marlin Dan Uggla entered Monday riding a 28-game hitting streak.

When the Marlins faced the Braves in Atlanta recently, Uggla came up big in two of the Braves’ wins. He belted a pair of three-run homers in the series.

Marlins manager Jack McKeon has urged his pitchers to find a different approach for this three-game set at Sun Life Stadium.

“He’s hot,” McKeon said. “We’re going to have to find a way of doing something different than what we’ve been doing. Hopefully our pitching does something.”

Uggla had a rough first half, and that’s why his average overall is .220, even with the hit streak. McKeon said it was a matter of time before Uggla heated up.  The Marlins manager noted that players like Uggla and Hanley Ramirez have too much of a track record to stay down a whole year.

“You knew you couldn’t hold him down long,” McKeon said. “Just like Hanley. Somewhere along the line, you’re not going to hold him down. They get in a little rut, but they will find their way out of it.”

Joe Frisaro