July 2012

Marlins likely headed to closer by committee

MIAMI — Before leaving St. Louis on Sunday, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen stated he would weigh his closer options for after the All-Star Break.

Apparently, the manager has reached a decision.

The Marlins appear headed for a closer by committee situation.

On his weekly radio segment on “The Dan LeBatard Show” on 790 The Ticket, Guillen said he plans to talk with Heath Bell in the next few days, and that the team will start off closing by committee.

The news isn’t unexpected, because Guillen hinted he on Sunday that he would make a drastic move, if necessary. In the series finale with the Cardinals, Bell allowed three runs in the ninth inning, and St. Louis rallied to a 5-4 win.

“I have to make a decision, and if I have to make a solution that will be drastic, I will do it,” Guillen said after Sunday’s game. “We’re going to wait until after the All-Star break, and I’m going to pick whoever is better out there to close the game. That’s the bottom line. If you can’t do the job, we’ll find somebody else to do the job.”

Bell is 2-5 with a 6.75 ERA in 40 appearances. He’s converted 19 of 25 save opportunites.

In 34 2/3 innings, he has 32 strikeouts and 20 walks.

Steve Cishek is the likely first choice to close. But the team also will mix and match. Lefty-specialist Randy Choate could the nod against left-handed hitters.

Edward Mujica is expected off the disabled list (broken right pinky toe) on Sunday, and he could be in the mix.

Juan Carlos Oviedo will be another option when his suspension ends on July 23. Oviedo is dealing with issues relating to his identity. Formerly Leo Nunez, Oviedo is currently pitching in Class A Jupiter. He is likely to get a few innings in at Double-A before rejoining the Marlins.

Joe Frisaro

Bob the Shark’s Home Run Derby moment

MIAMI — So the Miami Marlins have some representation in Kansas City after all.

Bob the Shark

Of course, the team doesn’t have a player at All-Star week, but if Marlins fans looked closely at Monday’s State Farm Home Run Derby, they would have seen a familiar fish out of water.

The television cameras caught a glimpse of Bob the Shark, who takes part in the Great Sea Race at Marlins Park.

Although knee surgery prevented Giancarlo Stanton from making it to the All-Star festivities, the organization wasn’t completely absent.

Billy the Marlin also was on hand, as all the mascots were recognized.

Stanton was the lone Miami player selected to the Midsummer Classic. The 22-year-old slugger was to take part in Monday’s Home Run Derby, won by Detroit’s Prince Fielder. But on Sunday, Stanton underwent a knee scope, and he will be out four to six weeks. Replacing Stanton was Washington’s Bryce Harper.

No other Miami player was taken, but at least Bob the Shark was able to enjoy the experience.

Joe Frisaro

Hanley cuts knuckle after striking object in dugout

ST. LOUIS — Angered over grounding out sharply in the sixth inning on Sunday afternoon, Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez struck a cooling fan in the dugout, causing a laceration that caused him to leave the game.

Ramirez said he received two stitches, but says he will be ready for Friday, the Marlins first game after the All-Star Break.

Manager Ozzie Guillen was disgusted by Ramirez’s actions, calling it “stupid.”

“It was a stupid injury, too,” Guillen said. “Very immature. You’re going to hurt yourself because you can’t hit? Good hitters don’t do that. Good hitters battle back and try to get better. When you make an out and you hit something, you don’t just hurt yourself, you hurt the ballclub.

“He hit something out there. I think he hit the [cooling] fan or something.”

Leading off the sixth inning, Ramirez grounded out sharply to second base, which was fielded by Skip Schumaker, who made the play at first.

Ramirez was replaced by Donovan Solano in the bottom of the inning.

Solano’s spot in the order came up in the ninth inning, but with the bases full, the rookie struck out looking against Mitchell Boggs.

The Cardinals rallied from two runs down to win, 5-4.

“I just got mad,” Ramirez said. “I haven’t been good all year long, and I just got mad.

“I know. It hurts everybody. It hurts me. I will be back Friday. Nothing is going to keep me off the field or from playing.”

Ramirez cut behind his ring-finger knuckle.

Ramirez had a walk, two stolen bases and a run scored in the first inning on Sunday. But on the road trip, he ws 2-for-22, last getting a hit on July 4, when he drove in the game-winning run in the 10th inning at Milwaukee.

The veteran third baseman enters the All-Star Break with a .248 batting average, with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs.

Joe Frisaro

Stanton out four to six weeks

ST. LOUIS — Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton is looking at four-to-six weeks of recovery from arthroscopic surgery.

The procedure was performed on Sunday morning by team physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan, in Miami. Stanton had “loose bodies” removed from his right knee.

An MRI taken on Tuesday revealed Stanton had some fragments in his knee. The 22-year-old missed four straight starts before being in the lineup on Saturday at St. Louis. He played two innings in the field, had one at-bat, but was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the third inning.

Stanton, the Marlins lone All-Star, on Saturday didn’t stay for the rest of the game, as he headed back to Miami for his 7 a.m. ET surgery on Sunday.

Stanton was hoping to participate in the State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday as well as Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

The right fielder now will start to recover, and the team is hopeful that he can be back in early August to help them make a playoff push.

Stanton paces the Marlins with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs.

Justin Ruggiano is expected to get plenty of opportunity in right field with Stanton back. On Friday, the Marlins will reinstate center fielder Emilio Bonifacio off the disabled list.

Joe Frisaro

No All-Star representative disappoints Marlins

ST. LOUIS — The lone Marlins All-Star spent Sunday morning undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in Miami.

The procedure to Giancarlo Stanton removes the biggest threat in the Marlins lineup for about four to six weeks. The surgery also is preventing the 22-year-old from attending the All-Star Game on Tuesday at Kansas City.

MLB replaced Stanton with Washington’s Bryce Harper. Stanton’s spot in Monday’s State Farm Home Run Derby is being filled by Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen.

Since no Miami player was picked by Major League Baseball and National League manager Tony La Russa, the Marlins will not have anyone in uniform represented at Kauffman Stadium.

That decision disappoints Marlins president David Samson, who spoke to MLB officials about the situation.

“Yes. I spoke to MLB,” Samson said on Sunday morning.

The Marlins feel reliever Steve Cishek, outfielder Justin Ruggiano, and even pinch-hit specialist, Greg Dobbs, could have been considered. The same with second baseman Omar Infante.

“I think there were a lot of different ways that Tony or MLB could have gone,” Samson said. “I think it’s unfortunate. I think every team should be represented on the line at an All-Star Game.”

Asked if he was given a reason why no Miami replacement was selected, Samson added: “I can’t say that I had one.”

In 1988, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, then with the White Sox, was hit by a pitch and he didn’t participate in the All-Star Game. That season, he was the lone player from the White Sox to go. While Guillen was unable to play, he did attend the Midsummer Classic, and he was in uniform.

Because of surgery, Stanton won’t be able to travel to Kansas City.

“I think that all teams are supposed to be represented,” Samson said.

As a team, the Marlins have had a subpar first half, entering Sunday two games under .500.

“Obviously, it’s been a disappointing first half, there is no question about it,” Samson said. “That said, there’s plenty of other teams who have had disappointing first halves, who have plenty of All-Stars. We have a team full of All-Stars. If you look at the fact that this game counts, and you need people to win games, having Dobbs as an All-Star as a pinch-hitter off the bench. Having Cishek come in and get some righties out. Having Ruggiano come, who is completely clubbing the ball right now.

“Obviously, MLB or Tony, or whoever makes the decision had their own view of it. And it’s certainly disappointing. Listen, there is nothing you can do about it, except to say, I wish the first half would have gone differently.”

If Guillen had a choice, he’d recommend Ruggiano, Cishek or Infante.

“But everybody else, I don’t think they’ve had an All-Star year, to be honest,” Guillen said. “That’s my opinion. Maybe Cishek has put up nice numbers. I don’t know if Ruggiano has had enough at-bats. Right behind them, I’d put Infante. The rest of them, they should be watching TV.”

Joe Frisaro

Stanton exits with right knee discomfort

ST. LOUIS –- Giancarlo Stanton was back in the starting lineup on Saturday, but he didn’t stay in the game too long.

The Marlins All-Star right fielder was lifted for pinch-hitter Scott Cousins in the top of the third inning against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

The Marlins reported Stanton exited with right knee discomfort.

An MRI taken on Tuesday revealed Stanton has “loose bodies” in his right knee. The 22-year-old has opted to play through the discomfort of having  bone or cartilage fragments in his knee.

Stanton had one at-bat on Saturday, and he singled to open the second inning. He scored on Justin Ruggiano’s home run.

On the first play in the first inning, Stanton had to test the knee, as he ran down a long drive by Rafael Furcal in right-center.

Stanton played the field for two innings, but with two outs and Carlos Lee on first base in the third inning, he was replaced by Cousins.

Stanton tested his knee by doing running and fielding drills at Busch Stadium on Friday afternoon. After his 40 minute session, he was cleared to play on Saturday.

The lone Marlin selected to the All-Star Game, Stanton has been hopeful of participating in the State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

It’s unclear if he will be ready for Monday.

Stanton acknowledged that he will eventually need surgery to remove what is loose in his knee. He’s been trying to put that off as recovery can be anywhere from two to eight weeks.

Joe Frisaro

 

Hottest game in Marlins’ history

ST. LOUIS — By the time the first pitch was thrown on Saturday afternoon, the temperature at Busch Stadium reached 106 degrees.

The reading is the highest in Marlins’ history. On Friday night, the 103 matched the warmest ever.

Saturday’s start time was 3:11 p.m. CT, and the day heated up from noon, when it was about 100 degrees.

The 106 reading on the scoreboard made Saturday the hottest game-time start in Marlins’ history.

 

 

Joe Frisaro

 

 

Stanton returns, Infante gets a day off

ST. LOUIS — Omar Infante, who made a game-saving play in the ninth inning on Friday night, was given a day off on Saturday.

In the ninth inning of Friday’s 3-2 win at St. Louis, Infante went up the middle to snare Carlos Beltran’s grounder. Throwing across his body, he tossed out Beltran, preserving the victory.

The Marlins have been playing in temperatures of more than 100 degrees for four straight days (it will be five on Saturday), so Infante was given a breather.

Donovan Solano, who came up in the Cardinals system but never played in the big leagues for them, is starting at second base on Saturday.

Here are some other items from manager Ozzie Guillen’s pregame press meeting:

* Giancarlo Stanton returned to the lineup and is hitting cleanup.

* Juan Carlos Oviedo begins playing for Class A Jupiter on Saturday, and he is eligible to join the Marlins on July 23. Guillen said getting Oviedo back will feel like a big trade. Oviedo could spell Heath Bell at closer on occasion.

* Bell, who has pitched in four straight games, is not available on Saturday. Steve Chisek is the closer option, but the team would like to give stay give him some rest. Mike Dunn and Randy Choate also could close.

* Even when Emilio Bonifacio rejoins the team, Guillen plans on playing Justin Ruggiano. Boni could play some infield, and Ruggiano could see time at the corner outfield spots as the team considers how to rest Stanton and Logan Morrison.

* When Boni returns on July 13, he likely will hit at the bottom of the order to provide speed.

* Saturday’s lineup: Reyes SS, Ramirez 3B, Lee 1B, Stanton RF, Morrison LF, Ruggiano CF, Solano 2B, Hayes C, Zambrano P.

* Guillen hinted that either Jose Reyes or Hanley Ramirez could get  day off on Sunday.

Joe Frisaro

 

Stanton expected to play on Saturday

ST. LOUIS — After testing his knee for about 40 minutes on the field at Busch Stadium on Friday afternoon, Giancarlo Stanton was given the thumbs up to be back in the lineup on Saturday.

The 22-year-old right fielder expects to play on Saturday and Sunday, and then participate in the Home Run Derby on Monday at Kansas City. The Marlins’ lone All-Star also is planning on representing the ballclub at Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic.

Stanton felt his right knee lock up during Monday’s game at Milwaukee, and he hasn’t played since. On Tuesday, an MRI revealed “loose bodies” in his right knee. The fragments will have to be removed surgically at some point. But for now, Stanton is looking to manage his knee with treatment.

Basically, as long as the Marlins are in the race, and he doesn’t feel he will create any further damage, he will hold off on a procedure.

“I’ve had knee problems before, so I’m not new to the fact of managing it,” Stanton said. “It’s just new to this feeling. I know my body well. So, it’s just a matter of what’s it going to do, and tell me.”

On the field, Stanton did some running and throwing. He had fly balls hit to him, to see how he reacted to fielding. He also ran the bases.

The sensation in his knee, he says, is “weird.”

“Just weird,” he said. “It wasn’t restricting, but it was a weird feeling with it bouncing around in there. But, I’ll play tomorrow.”

Stanton was told surgery could mean him missing two to eight weeks.

“It’s a big gap, but it all depends to the reaction to it,” he said. “It just depends. I didn’t have a lot of swelling or bruising. So that means it would be however my knee reacts to being cut open.”

For the rest of the season, the Marlins will monitor their 22-year-old slugger, who paces the team with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs.

‘I’ve got to read my body,” he said. “If I’m changing the way I run or hit or anything, then that is going to lead to other problems and change the way I play on the field.”

If that is the case, he could get surgery before the season ends.

“A lot thrown at once, but I can handle it,” he said.

The encouraging news is the swelling in the knee has subsided since Monday.

“Yeah, it’s gotten better each day, which I did not think it would,” he said.

Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins bracing for the scorching heat

ST. LOUIS — The heat is definitely on the Marlins these days.

The dog days of summer have arrived on their road trip, and it has followed the club from Milwaukee to St. Louis.

The first pitch on Friday night at Busch Stadium was 103 degrees, marking the hottest game-time start in franchise history.

On Thursday, when the Marlins blanked the Brewers, 4-0, the first pitch was thrown in 101 degree heat.

HOTTEST ROAD GAMES

7/25/97 100 at St. Louis

7/26/97 100 at St. Louis

7/27/97 100 at St. Louis

6/14/99 103 at Arizona

6/16/99 102 at Arizona

7/2/11 100 at Texas

7/4/12 100 at Milwaukee

7/5/12 101 at Milwaukee

7/6/12 103 at St. Louis

Joe Frisaro

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