June 2012

Heaney could be big piece to future rotation

MIAMI — If projections pan out, the Marlins’ rotation promises to be strong for years to come.

Another potential top of the rotation arm was added to the system on Monday night when Miami selected Andrew Heaney from Oklahoma State with the ninth overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.

Assuming there are no hangups signing the left-hander, Heaney could soon be joining a strong rotation at low Class A Greensboro.

Heaney, who turns 21 today (June 5), was the Pac 12 Conference Pitcher of the Year.

Because he has college experience, he has three years of development past high school. The left-hander could be on a career path similar to Adam Conley, who turned 22 in late May.

Conley, another lefty, was the Marlins’ second round pick in 2011. He’s currently 6-1 with a 2.83 ERA at Greensboro.

Heaney and Conley may not be looked at bonafide aces, but both have the ability to be strong Nos. 2 or 3 caliber left-handers.

The Marlins feel they do a future ace in their system. Jose Fernandez, their first-round pick in ’11, is dominating at Greensboro. The right-hander is 6-0 with a 1.50 ERA, and 78 strikeouts to 20 walks in 60 innings.

Fernandez will turn 20 on July 31.

As an organization, the Marlins don’t need to rush Fernandez, Conley or Heaney.

But clearly, the franchise is seeking legitimate pieces to the rotation in the next few seasons.

The Marlins rotation faces the possibility of losing Anibal Sanchez after this season. Sanchez is eligible for free agency, and the organization has not had contract talks with his agent regarding 2013 and beyond.

Also after this year, Carlos Zambrano could pursue free agency. Indications are the Marlins could look to bring back Zambrano, who clearly is comfortable pitching in Miami and for manager Ozzie Guillen.

Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco are signed through 2013. And Mark Buehrle is in the first of his four-year deal.

So Buehrle, Johnson and Nolasco project to be back next year. If Zambrano returns, there is a chance the club could be seeking to replace Sanchez.

The way the organization is shaped now, there are options at Triple-A New Orleans to replace one rotation spot. Wade LeBlanc would likely be the first choice.

LeBlanc has thrown 293 innings in the big leagues, and he has more than 650 innings in the Minor Leagues. The left-hander has been solid at New Orleans.

Alex Sanabia and lefty Brad Hand also are gaining more Minor League seasoning in Triple-A. Both have pitched in the big leagues.

How fast Heaney can make it to the big leagues will depend largely on him. Players usually let teams know when they are ready.

Right now, the Marlins have more internal options to go with when there comes a time to fill rotation spots.

Joe Frisaro

Zambrano tied for seventh all-time in HRs

PHILADELPHIA — Estimated distance on Carlos Zambrano’s home run on Sunday was 418 feet.

The shot to left-center also vaulted Zambrano into a tie for seventh place all-time among home runs by a pitcher.

Since 1900, when the modern era of the game began, Wes Ferrell’s 38 are the most home runs by a pitcher.

Zambrano now has 24 after he connected in Miami’s 5-1 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

“As a pitcher in the National League, you have to be able to run, bunt, hit, I take that seriously,” Zambrano said. “I take pride in what I do. Every time I’m on the mound, I feel like a pitcher. But when I’m in the box, I feel like a hitter. I take everything seriously.”

Zambrano’s blast to left-center off Joe Blanton was the first from a Marlins’ pitcher since Josh Johnson on Aug. 4, 2009 at Washington.

“He can do everything. He got a lot of power,” Jose Reyes said. “Whatever he do to contribute to this team, we’re going to take it, for sure.”

When Zambrano connected, the Marlins dugout went wild.

“Everybody went crazy. Everybody knows he’s a good hitter,” Reyes said. “He’s got a lot of power. If he puts a good swing on the ball, the ball is going to go a long way. It’s unbelieve to see a pitcher hit a home run to the opposite field like it’s nothing. That’s great to see.”

Most HRs by a pitcher since 1900

1) Wes Ferrell (1927-41) 38

2) Bob Lemon (1941-1958) 37

3) Red Ruffing (1924-47) 36

4) Warren Spahn (1942-65) 35

Earl Wilson (1959-70) 35

6) Don Drysdale (1956-69) 29

7) Bob Gibson (1959-75) 24

Carlos Zambrano (2001-now) 24

Walter Johnson (1907-27) 24

Joe Frisaro

Pierre still cheering on the Heat

PHILADELPHIA — Changing teams throughout his career hasn’t swayed Juan Pierre’s affection for the Miami Heat.

Juan Pierre of the Phillies, a former Marlin, remains a big Miami Heat fan.

Pierre, the former Marlin, is now with the Phillies. In his locker at Citizens Bank Park, he has his customized Miami Heat jersey that the organization had made for him.

Pierre has his home in Broward County, and he’s attended a number of Heat games.

In Philadelphia, he’s going back and forth good-naturedly with his team, Jonathan Papelbon, formerly with the Red Sox.

Papelbon is pulling for the Boston Celtics in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

The Heat and Celtics play Game 4 of their series on Sunday night, with Miami leading 2-1.

Because the Heat are playing tonight, they are not in conflict with the Marlins-Phillies. So Sunday’s series finale in Philadelphia will air on 790 The Ticket.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins-Phillies set for series finale

PHILADELPHIA — After rallying to a 5-4 win on Saturday, the Marlins are in position to take two of three with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Carlos Zambrano starts for Miami, with Joe Blanton going for Philadelphia.

Jose Reyes is riding a 13-game hitting streak.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Stanton, RF

5) Dobbs, LF

6) Morrison, 1B

7) Buck, C

8) Coghlan, CF

9) Zambrano, P

Joe Frisaro

 

Hanley moves into second on HR list

PHILADELPHIA — Connecting twice on Saturday moved Hanley Ramirez up the Marlins’ all-time home run ladder.

After hitting two off Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels, Ramirez now has 144 in his career. Only Dan Uggla, with 154 has more in team history than Ramirez.

Ramirez passed Mike Lowell in the team standings.

In case you’re wondering Giancarlo Stanton has 69 homers, tied for 13th in club history.

Marlins HR leaders

1) Dan Uggla 154

2) Hanley Ramirez 144

3) Mike Lowell 143

4) Miguel Cabrera 138

5) Derrek Lee 129

6) Gary Sheffield 122

7) Jeff Conine 120

8) Cliff Floyd 110

9) Preston Wilson 104

10) Alex Gonzalez 81

11) Cody Ross 80

12) Charles Johnson 75

13) Giancarlo Stanton 69

13) Mike Jacobs 69

Joe Frisaro

 

Hanley sets team mark with 12th multi-homer game

PHILADELPHIA — A year ago, Hanley Ramirez dealt with injuries, and he was limited to 92 games.

Overall, it was a frustrating season for Ramirez, who batted .243 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs. He had 338 at-bats.

Now healthy, the Marlins third baseman is picking up his numbers. And on Saturday, Ramirez belted two home runs off Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels.

It was Ramirez’s 12th multi-home run game of his career, establishing a Marlins’ record. He had been tied with Dan Uggla and Mike Lowell with 11.

Additionally, Ramirez now has 144 career home runs, which is second to Uggla’s 154. Lowell hit 143 in his days with the Marlins.

Prior to his two shots at Citizens Bank Park, Ramirez last went deep twice in the same game was at Texas on July 2, 2011.

Ramirez now has 10 home runs, matching his total of a year ago. They came in 53 games.

Joe Frisaro

Lil’ Jose becoming a big television star

PHILADELPHIA — Jose Reyes has a sidekick.

Lil’ Jose watches the Phillies taking BP on Saturday.

Courtesy of Fox Sports Florida, Lil’ Jose has been introduced to the Marlins’ broadcasts.

Lil’ Jose is the stuffed doll version of Miami’s All-Star shortstop. He was purchased at the Team Store at Marlins Park, and he made his first TV appearance last Wednesday where he was seen zipping around the park on a motorized scooter.

It didn’t take long for the Lil’ Jose clip to get picked up on Twitter. Now, you can follow him @Lil_Jose7. Overnight, his following surpassed 100, and now he is pushing 300.

Philadelphia is Lil’ Jose’s first road trip. On Friday night, he toured Citizens Bank Park, and met the stuffed souvenir version of the Phanatic. He’s dined at Pat’s King of Steaks in Philly, traveling in style, in an Escalade.

Look for periodic episodes of the adventures of Lil’ Jose to air during Marlins’ telecasts.

Actually, Lil’ Jose has yet to meet the real Jose Reyes.

Obviously, Lil’ Jose worships the Miami shortstop, but he is building up to their first encounter.

There’s exciting news because Lil’ Jose will soon have some friends coming on board. Lil’ Giancarlo and Lil’ Ozzie are close to making their first appearances.

Joe Frisaro

 

Ruggiano makes first start for Marlins

PHILADELPHIA — The Marlins look to bounce back against the Phillies on Saturday after suffering a 6-4 loss on Friday night.

Ricky Nolasco gets the start for Miami. Philadelphia counters with Cole Hamels.

The game will mark Justin Ruggiano’s first start since being traded to Miami from the Astros. Ruggiano had a pinch-hit home run and a single on Friday.

MARLINS

1) Reyes, SS

2) Infante, 2B

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Stanton, RF

5) Morrison, 1B

6) Ruggiano, LF

7) Coghlan, CF

8) Hayes, C

9) Nolasco, P

Joe Frisaro

 

Reyes, Ozzie proud of Johan

PHILADELPHIA – Mets lefty Johan Santana’s no-hitter against the Cardinals on Friday night certainly caught the attention of the Marlins.

After the Marlins lost 6-4 to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, several members of the Marlins discussed Santana’s achievement.

Miami shortstop Jose Reyes is a former teammate of Santana.

“I am sending a text to him to congratulate him,” Reyes said. “That’s the first one. Made history. It’s big. That’s huge for them. It’s good.

“He’s the guy who is going to compete the whole game. That’s good to see him perform like that after his surgery. He’s recovering well. He’s a good friend of mine. Great guy. Unbelievable teammate.”

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is proud of his fellow Venezuelan countryman.

“Very proud. Very proud,” Guillen said. “Just because a Venezuelan did that. What he went through the last couple of years. Battled back. Hard work. Never give up. He didn’t care how much money he was making. This kid is a bulldog. … I’m very proud to be his friend. I’m very proud to be his countryman. They should be proud. First no-hitter for the Mets. Special night for them.”

Joe Frisaro

 

 

Marlins open series at Philly

PHILADELPHIA — The Marlins, coming off a three-game sweep of the Nationals, open a three-game set on Friday night at Philadelphia.

Mark Buehrle gets the start for Miami, which was 21-8 in May.

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) Buehrle, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

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