May 2012

Ozzie knows Bo and a good cause

MIAMI — Nothing Bo Jackson does surprises Ozzie Guillen.

Jackson, the legendary football and baseball star, was a former teammate of Guillen with the White Sox.

Bo Jackson biked across Alabama.

A Heisman Trophy winner out of Auburn, Jackson recently biked 300 miles through tornado ravaged communities in his home state, Alabama.

The “Bo Bikes Bama” campaign was done to raise money for the Governor’s Emergency Relief Fund.

“It doesn’t surprise,” Guillen said. “Bo Jackson has done a lot of things for the community for a long time. He helped a lot of people. I think that’s a brilliant idea. He likes to ride. Why not ride for a reason? It’s a great reason.

“He’s from there. He loves his people. His name is big enough to make things better. The [people] aren’t seeing Bo Jackson the athlete. They’re seeing Bo Jackson the human being. They’re seeing the Bo Jackson who cares about his [state]. He does a lot of stuff out there without people noticing.”   In the early 1990s, Guillen spent time rehabbing with Jackson, who overcame hip replacement surgery in football and continued playing baseball.

At the time, Guillen was rehabbing his knees.

“Obviously, his work out was more intense than mine,” the Marlins manager said. “This guy is amazing. This guy does a lot of great things.”

Jackson was a remarkable athlete who possessed great size and speed. He was the first athlete to be named an NFL and MLB All-Star.

“Talent. Heart. Brains,” Guillen said. “This guy has got everything you can ask for. A great man.”

For those who don’t remember Jackson as a player, Guillen sums his skills up in one word.

“Wow!” the manager said. “He could have been a superstar. Unfortunately, his health didn’t let him do it. I think this guy had all the tools to be a complete player. Bo had pure crazy power. I think that helped him to develop very quick.”

The last time Guillen saw Jackson was a year ago at Spring Training in Arizona. Jackson would visit the White Sox camp when Guillen managed in Chicago.

“You don’t see many like him,” Guillen said. “Everything he does, he takes pride, and he wants to be the best. That’s what makes him so special.”

Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins open two-game set with Pirates

MIAMI — The Marlins have won four straight series. They go for their fifth starting on Monday against the Pirates at Marlins Park.

It’s just a two-game series.

The Marlins have won 10 of 12, including a dramatic walk-off win on Sunday against the Mets. Giancarlo Stanton belted a ninth-inning grand slam to cap a six-run inning.

Anibal Sanchez gets the start for the Marlins. The Pirates are going with Brad Lincoln.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Morrison, LF

5) Stanton, RF

6) G. Sanchez, 1B

7) Bonifacio, CF

8) Buck, C

9) A. Sanchez, P

Joe Frisaro

Delivering is business as usual for Dobbs

MIAMI — On Friday night, Greg Dobbs delivered a walk-off single in the ninth inning. He followed that up with a key RBI single in the ninth on Sunday.

Two big hits that helped the Marlins win two big games over the weekend.

For Dobbs, it’s business as usual. The left-handed hitting veteran is now tied for second in the big leagues in pinch-hits. Technically, Dobbs’ hit on Friday wasn’t a pinch-hit, because he entered the game earlier as a pinch-hitter and he stayed in the game.

His hit on Sunday against the Mets gives him five pinch hits on the year. Mike Baxter of the Mets leads the Majors with seven.

Dobbs is tied for second in number of pinch hits. Milwaukee’s Norichika Aoki, Houston’s Travis Buck, Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier and San Diego’s Jesus Guzman also have five.

Overall, Dobbs is 5-for-14 (.357) as a pinch-hitter with two RBIs and a run scored.

Since joining the Marlins a year ago, Dobbs has been one of the league’s top pinch-hitters. He is 15-for-41 (.366) with a .386 on-base percentage in the last two years.

His 15 total pinch-hits are tied for the third most in the Majors.

The Marlins record for most pinch-hits in a season is 21, set by Ross Gload in 2009.

Joe Frisaro

Stanton once again heating up in May

MIAMI — May appears to be Giancarlo Stanton’s month.

photos by Kelly Gavin of the Miami Marlins

For the second straight season, the Marlins right fielder has dramatically picked up his production in the second month of the season.

On Sunday, Stanton’s walk-off grand slam capped a six-run ninth inning and lifted the Marlins to an 8-4 win over the Mets at Marlins Park.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stanton is the third Marlin to connect on a walk-off slam. Dan Uggla (June 11, 2008 vs. Philadelphia) and Bobby Bonilla (Sept. 16, 1997 vs. Colorado) were the others.

And at 22-years, 187 days, Stanton is the youngest player to hit a walk-off grand slam since Jeff Francoeur (22-years, 125 days) did it against the Nationals on May 13, 2006.

The 22-year-old slugger raised his average in May to .354 with four doubles, six home runs and 13 RBIs. His on-base percentage is .426 to go along with an .813 slugging percentage.

The hot May follows a sluggish April, where he hit .247 with one homer and nine RBIs.

In 2011, Stanton’s power also picked up in May, as he belted nine homers and drove in 20 runs in the month. The big increase in power came after he hit two homers and drove in nine runs in April a year ago.

Stanton’s surge ranks him among the top sluggers in the Majors in May. In fact, his six home runs are tied with Adam Dunn for the third most in the month.

Texas’ Josh Hamilton, of course, has been the talk of the game as he continues his amazing season.

In May, Hamilton has nine home runs and 19 RBIs. Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals has eight homers and 21 RBIs.

Stanton’s home run was estimated at 433 feet, which is the longest shot thus far at Marlins Park. The estimate is provided by the Marlins, who use charts to determine the distances.

Other tracking estimates may be different. But according to the Marlins’ charts, Stanton’s 433 foot blast is the new stadium standard.

MLB May HR leaders

Josh Hamilton 9

Carlos Beltran 8

Giancarlo Stanton 6

Adam Dunn 6

Jose Bautista 5

Allen Craig 5

J.J. Hardy 5

Joe Frisaro

Marlins set for Mother’s Day showdown

MIAMI — The Marlins and Mets wrap up their three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Marlins Park.

The teams have split their first two games. Carlos Zambrano, 1-2 with a 1.98 ERA, gets the starting nod for the Marlins on Mother’s Day.

Jon Niese (2-1, 4.01) will make the start for the Mets.

The Marlins have won three straight series, and need a victory on Sunday to make it four in a row.

Due to a conflict with the Miami Heat, Sunday’s game will air on MAJIC 102.7 FM, instead of flagship station 790 The Ticket.

To raise awareness in the fight against breast cancer, a number of players will be using pink bats.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Kearns, LF

5) Stanton, RF

6) Sanchez, 1B

7) Bonifacio, CF

8) Buck, C

9) Zambrano, P

Joe Frisaro

 

Infante making All-Star case

MIAMI — Omar Infante’s single in the fourth inning on Saturday extended his hitting streak to four straight games, and the Marlins second baseman has hit safely in eight of nine games.

Infante has been Miami’s most consistent every-day player, and he’s making a case to be an All-Star.

Infante’s leading all National League second baseman in batting average.

The All-Star ballots are at the ballpark and fans are encouraged to vote on www.marlins.com.

Joe Frisaro

 

Nolasco goes for franchise record

MIAMI — With a win, Ricky Nolasco will set a Marlins record.

Nolasco enters Saturday with 68 career victories, which matches Dontrelle Willis for the most in club history.

The Marlins face the Mets on Saturday afternoon on a game that will be televised nationally on Fox.

Miami took the first game of the series, 6-5, on Friday on a walk-off single by Greg Dobbs in the ninth inning. The Marlins have won nine of 10.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Morrison, LF

5) Stanton, RF

6) Sanchez, 1B

7) Bonifacio, CF

8) Hayes, C

9) Nolasco, P

Joe Frisaro

 

Kearns makes start in left field

MIAMI — Initially, Logan Morrison was listed in the starting lineup to play left field and bat cleanup.

But when the game started on Friday night, Austin Kearns was in left field for the Marlins in their series opener against the Mets.

It turns out that Morrison wasn’t scratched. The move was made close game time by manager Ozzie Guillen, which gave the Marlins another right-handed bat in the lineup.

Kearns delivered a two-run home run in the first inning off lefty Johan Santana.

Entering the game, Kearns was 2-for-15 with a double against Santana. Morrison was hitless in three at-bats.

Morrison has been resting a sore right knee this season. But the decision to sit Morrison wasn’t injury related.

Joe Frisaro

 

Guillen toying with different lineup options

MIAMI — When Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen first took the job, he thought about hitting Omar Infante second.

But the Marlins have a dynamic speed element with Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and Hanley Ramirez. So Guillen opted to go mostly with those three, in that order, in the lineup.

With Bonifacio batting .238 and Infante hitting .313, Guillen on Friday opted to go with Infante in the No. 2 slot.

“I think Infante is going to see more fastballs having Hanley behind him,” Guillen said.

Infante, the Marlins’ most consistent hitter all season, was batting fifth of late.

How long Infante hits second could depend on Bonifacio.

If Bonifacio picks things up at the plate, there is a strong chance he will move back up to second.

Bonifacio is 15 for 15 in stolen bases, and Guillen wants the team to run.

“Maybe this will be for a couple of days, I don’t know how long I’m going to stay with that one,” the manager said. “Stealing bases is important for me also. And Boni may be the best one in the game right now.”

Joe Frisaro  

Infante batting second in lineup shuffle

MIAMI — A slight tweak to the lineup has the Marlins batting their hottest hitter in the first inning.

Johan Santana is starting for the Mets on Friday.

Omar Infante, batting .313 with six homers and 15 RBIs, has moved into the No. 2 spot.

The veteran second baseman had been hitting fifth of late. Infante delivered the game-winning, two-run single on Wednesday night in the 12th inning at Houston.

In his career, Infante has had his most at-bats while batting second. He has a career .277 average (228-for-824) in 213 games.

The Marlins are sending Mark Buehrle to the mound on Friday, while the Mets counter with lefty Johan Santana.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Morrison, LF

5) Stanton, RF

6) Sanchez, 1B

7) Bonifacio, CF

8) Buck, C

9) Buehrle, P

Joe Frisaro

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