June 2012

Coach Shula on hand Friday at Marlins Park

MIAMI — Legendary Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula made a return to the Orange Bowl grounds on Friday night. He did so as a guest of the Miami Marlins.

Marlins Park is built where the Orange Bowl once stood.

Shula, wearing a Miami Marlins jersey, and his wife, Mary Anne, took part in the ceremonial first pitch.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, who has great appreciation for storied coaches and managers, got his glove and raced to home plate to personally catch Shula’s toss. Guillen then posed for pictures with Shula and his wife.

Ozzie Guillen with Don Shula and his wife, Mary Anne. (Robert Vigon/Miami Marlins)

Joe Frisaro

 

 

 

 

Marlins set for Citrus Series

MIAMI — The Marlins open a three-game series with the Rays on Friday night at Marlins Park.

Miami looks to bounce back from being swept by the Braves. Facing the Rays isn’t an easy task, as Tampa Bay took four of six from the Marlins in 2011.

The Marlins reinstated Austin Kearns (hamstring) from the disabled list on Thursday night. Kearns gets the start in left field. Greg Dobbs is starting at first base in place of Logan Morrison, who is in an 0-for-18 slump.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Stanton, RF

5) Dobbs, 1B

6) Kearns, LF

7) Coghlan, CF

8) Buck, C

9) Nolasco, P

Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins opportunistic when they homer

MIAMI — Manager Ozzie Guillen repeatedly says the Marlins are not a home-run hitting ballclub.

View from the back of the Marlins Park Home Run sculpture, which has been quiet on the homestand.

The numbers back up the claim, as Miami has hit 47 on the season, which is tied for 19th in the Majors. Giancarlo Stanton (13) and Hanley Ramirez (11) have 24 of those.

Still, Miami is the thick of the National East standings because they’ve been able to capitalize when they do go deep.

Entering Friday night, the Marlins have the fourth best winning percentage (.700) in the Majors in games where they hit at least one home run. They are 21-9.

In the first two games against the Braves, both losses, the Marlins scored one run. It wasn’t a homer, and they lost both games.

It’s no secret that the Marlins struggle with runners in scoring position. For the season, they are hitting .232 in RISP situations, which ranks 23 out of 30 teams.

The home run has been a weapon, and a reason why the team has had success.

BEST RECORDS WHEN HITTING A HOME RUN

1) Cincinnati Reds         24-6      .800

2) Cleveland Indians       21-8      .724

3) New York Yankees        31-12     .721

4) Miami Marlins           21-9      .700

5) St. Louis Cardinals     25-11     .694

(according to StatsPass)

Joe Frisaro

Marlins go with right-handed hitting lineup

MIAMI — With the Braves throwing lefty Mike Minor, the Marlins stocked up with right-handed hitters in their series finale at Marlins Park.

Justin Ruggiano made his first start in center field, and Donovan Solano started for the second time in left field. Jose Reyes is a switch-hitter, who will bat from the right side.

Logan Morrison was the only left-handed hitting regular in the lineup. The other lefty bat is pitcher Mark Buehrle.

Reyes had his 15-game hitting streak snapped on Wednesday.

Miami is hitting .232 against lefties, compared to .250 against right-handers. The Marlins have scored just one run in the first two games of the series.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Stanton, RF

5) Ruggiano, CF

6) Morrison, 1B

7) Solano, LF

8) Hayes, C

9) Buehrle, P

Joe Frisaro

 

Choate’s Corner supporting the bullpen

MIAMI — They’re calling it “Choate’s Corner,” but it’s really a section that is recognizing all of the Marlins relievers.

Behind Miami’s bullpen at Marlins Park are the bleachers, and one of the season ticket holders there happens to be a neighbor of reliever Randy Choate. He happens to be a police officer in Hollywood.

He came up with the idea of printing up large cutouts of the relievers heads. The neighbor and some friends in the section waved the giant images during Tuesday night’s game against the Braves.

Collectively, a gathering displayed the faces of Heath Bell, Randy Choate, Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, Chad Gaudin and Steve Cishek.   The Fox Sports Florida cameras took notice, and so did those who piece together the introduction of ESPN’s SportsCenter.   The images were showed for just a second leading into SportsCenter.

“They guy who did it first, he’s a huge Tigers fan, but he’s just really a big baseball fan,” Choate said. “He’s got tickets out there. He’s like six, seven rows up. It just happened one night when I got home, after we played somebody on Sunday, the neighbor caught wind that I lived there.”

That evening Choate hung out with some of his neighbors. The idea was born to do something to show their support of the guys in the bullpen. Choate sent a picture to his new friend, who had the big head images printed up.

Since then, he sent images of all the relievers. The latest picture sent was of Dan Jennings, who wasn’t on the roster when the giant prints were first made.

Joe Frisaro

Stanton willing to compete in HR Derby

MIAMI — If asked, Giancarlo Stanton is agreeable to participate in the Home Run Derby.

The Marlins’ slugger would be a natural to compete in the showcase of power during the All-Star Game week.

Stanton is one of the strongest players in the game, and he’s already hit some impressive home runs this season. Recently, one of his blasts took out light panels on an auxiliary scoreboard at Marlins Park.

Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp has been named the captain of the National League’s HR Derby team. Robinson Cano of the Yankees, the defending derby champion, is captain of the American League squad.

Kemp was asked recently by the MLB Network who he would consider taking. His first response was his Dodgers’ teammate, Andre Ethier. The second name Kemp mentioned was Stanton.

When informed of what Kemp said, Stanton responded: “Cool, I’ll do it.”

As of now, Stanton has not been contacted about officially taking part in the HR Derby. But there is still plenty of time to put the squad together.

“There is over a month left,” Stanton said. “I’m sure he’s got bigger things to worry about right now.”

Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins seek bounce back vs. Braves

MIAMI — The Marlins haven’t lost a series since the final days of April, when they dropped three of four to Arizona.

They’re in danger of having it happen now after losing 11-0 to the Braves on Tuesday night. Miami looks to bounce back on Wednesday night at Marlins Park.

Jose Reyes is riding a 15-game hitting streak.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Stanton, RF

5) Morrison, 1B

6) Ruggiano, LF

7) Petersen, CF

8) Buck, C

9) Johnson, P

Joe Frisaro

 

Relievers big hit among fans in bleachers

MIAMI — Unless they are involved in critical moments of a game, relievers tend to get overlooked.

Not at Marlins Park.

At least not on Tuesday night against the Braves. Fans sitting behind the bullpen in the left-field bleachers gave the relievers some appreciation. They did so by displaying enlarged images of them.

Collectively, a gathering of fans held up big cutout heads of Heath Bell, Randy Choate, Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, Chad Gaudin and Steve Cishek.

The Fox Sports Florida cameras took notice, and so did those who piece together the introduction of ESPN’s SportsCenter.

The image below flashed for just a second leading into SportsCenter.

 

Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins take Florida-native Romero in round 3

MIAMI — With their first selection since taking left-handed pitcher Andrew Heaney with No. 9 overall pick Monday, the Marlins shifted their attention to the field and selected Avery Romero, a shortstop from Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine, Fla.

Although Romero played shortstop in high school, many anticipate he will shift over to the left or right at the next level because he lacks the speed to play shortstop. He is orally committed to play college ball at the University of Florida, where he was expected to play either second base or third base.

Despite the questions about his quickness, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder does have solid defensive skills, with scouts touting his strong arm as well as his hands. While he may have to find a new home on defense, there is little doubt about what he can do at the plate. He is a right-handed hitter with the ability to hit for average, but he can also display some power.

In the sandwich round between the third and fourth rounds, the Marlins selected outfielder Kolby Copeland with the No. 127 pick in the Draft.  Copeland, a 6-foot, 190-pounder, was a two-sport star at Parkway High School in Bossier City, La., also earning recognition as an all-state quarterback. He is regarded as an outstanding athlete.

Copeland bats lefty and throws righty, and he has drawn some comparisons to first-round pick Courtney Hawkins. While Hawkins has more power, some scouts believe Copeland is a better pure hitter known for his aggressive approach at the plate.

With their fourth-round pick, No. 137 overall, Miami drafted outfielder Austin Dean from Klein Collins High School in Texas. Dean has an unorthodox approach at the plate but has an uncanny ability to crush offering from opposing pitchers. Dean played first base his senior year at Klein Collins, but he is projected to play either first or left field at the next level.

Dean hit .387 with a .573 on-base percentage as a senior and belted nine home runs while driving in 31 in 33 games for Klein Collins, according to MaxPreps.com.

The Marlins decided to go with a college player in the fifth round, drafting Austin Nola, a 6-foot, 185-pound senior shortstop from LSU with the No. 167 selection in the Draft. This marks the third time Nola has been drafted. Coming out of high school he was selected in the 48th round by the Rockies, and after his junior season at LSU he was taken in the 31st round by the Blue Jays.

His senior season in Baton Rouge, La., certainly helped his stock, as he hit .313 with a .433 on-base percentage in 61 games for the Tigers this year. He led the team in doubles (16) and walks (42). Nola committed five errors in 240 chances as a senior while starting all 61 games at shortstop.

Marlins set for series with Braves

MIAMI — Anibal Sanchez takes the mound on Tuesday night in the Marlins’ series opener with the Braves at Marlins Park.

Atlanta counters with Tim Hudson in the first of three in this NL East showdown.

Jose Reyes brings a 14-game hitting streak into the game.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Stanton, RF

5) Morrison, 1B

6) Petersen, CF

7) Buck, C

8) Coghlan, LF

9) Sanchez, P

Joe Frisaro

 

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