July 2012

Lee hopes he can make a difference in Miami

MILWAUKEE — For months, Carlos Lee saw the rumors but he didn’t pay much attention.

The 36-year-old first baseman had been linked in trade talks to several teams, including the Marlins, for several weeks. On Wednesday, the Astros traded Lee to Miami for prospects Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen.

Lee arrived in Milwaukee, and he was in the lineup, hitting third against the Brewers on Thursday.

“I’m a very easy going guy,” Lee said. “I take it one day at a time. Yesterday, I was with the Houston Astros, today I’m a Miami Marlin.”

Recently, Lee exercised his no-trade clause to block a potential deal with the Dodgers. The native of Panama, who has ranches in his home country and Texas, turned that deal down because of family reasons.

“It was more a family thing,” he said. “Basically, I couldn’t get everybody to agree to it. It is kind of hard to get away from the family. My wife just got here for the summer. Going to LA was going to keep us apart again. Even the kids were complaining.”

Lee didn’t have the Marlins on his limited no-trade clause, so he had no say in being dealt to Miami. However, he made it clear on Thursday that he was happy with the trade.

“There was a reason I didn’t block Miami,” he said. “It was one of the teams I wanted to play for. Thinking about me and thinking about the family at the same time, and what was best for my career. I thought Miami was a good choice. I saw rumors. It’s all talk. It happened and I’m happy to be here now.”

On his ranches, Lee raises quarter horses for rodeos.

“I kind of grew up into that,” he said. “Baseball made it possible to invest money into that. It kind of made a dream come true. I have a good ranch. I have some horses. I enjoy that.”

Lee feels he can make an impact with his new club.

“Everybody says this is a nice clubhouse and they have fun playing, let’s have fun,” he said.

Asked if Miami can get back into the playoff picture, Lee replied: “Yes, I don’t see why not. They’ve got a good team. I’ve been following. They’ve been through some tough stretches. Hopefully, I’m here to help them get over the hump.”

Joe Frisaro



Lee making his debut batting third

MILWAUKEE — Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen didn’t waste any time putting Carlos Lee in a position to make an impact on Thursday.

A day after being acquired from the Astros for prospects Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen, Lee found himself batting third in his Miami debut.

The Marlins close out their four-game series with the Brewers at Miller Park with an afternoon game.


Joe Frisaro


Lee trade is a sign Marlins plan to contend

MILWAUKEE — Perhaps Marlins closer Heath Bell knew something was about to happen.

Before Wednesday’s 7-6 comeback win over the Brewers in 10 innings, Bell talked about the organization not willing to sell off parts. The closer, who saved his 18th game later that afternoon, gave some insights when it was yet revealed the Marlins were pulling off a trade for first baseman Carlos Lee.

“I don’t think we’re going to be sellers,” Bell said. “I think that’s the farthest thing possible, that we’re going to be sellers, unless it is a trade that is going to make our team better this year. I really don’t. I don’t even think they’re thinking of selling. I think they’re thinking of adding and trying to help the team.

“They also aren’t trying to hurt the team. They’re trying to find something that sparks us. Plain and simple, if we can just overcome those little things, that one pitch, that one error, the one strikeout, and we’re talking about being a couple of games over .500.”

The Marlins completed the Lee deal after Wednesday’s game, sending prospects Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen to Houston.

Bell certainly knows the Marlins have ground to make up in the standings, but he is confident a second-half run can be made. Wednesday marked the 81st game by the club, which is exactly their half-way point in the season.

“I don’t think time is running out,” the closer said. “All these struggles we’ve had, if we can overcome these struggles, we’re going to be mentally stronger and physically stronger than the Washington Nationals, and the Mets and the Braves, who are ahead of us.

“Washington has not had the slip yet. And they may not. But the thing is, adversity. They haven’t really had adversity yet. When Strasburg and a couple of their pitchers get up to their pitch count, that’s going to be their adversity, if they don’t fall sooner.”

Bell added that the Braves dealt with adversity last year, and they’re quietly primed right now.

“And the Mets, they’re over-achieving,” he said. “Everybody didn’t realize they were going to be that good. They’re playing great baseball, but they haven’t had a streak where they’ve just been really down yet. Everybody in this game has had [a down] streak. The Yankees have. Texas even has had a streak where they’ve been pretty bad this year. So have most teams out there. The Dodgers, the Giants.

“So, if we can overcome this, I think we’re very capable of winning the division or even get that last Wild Card. It’s going to get more exciting. We definitely need to win.”

Joe Frisaro





Stanton, Marlins await results of MRI

MILWAUKEE — The thought of not participating in the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game pains Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.

But it could be a reality, depending on the results of an MRI taken on Tuesday.

Stanton is dealing with right knee soreness, and he will not be available on Wednesday or Thursday at Milwaukee.

The hope is he will play on Friday or this weekend at St. Louis. But that remains day-to-day.

“I’m going to go for this weekend,” said Stanton, who has 19 homers and 50 RBIs. “I feel alright. I just have got to let some swelling and stuff go down.”

Stanton missed time in Spring Training with soreness to the same knee. He felt the knee lock on him in the eighth inning on Monday night. In the field, he was limbering up, anticipating if he had to make a play in right field. At that point, he experienced discomfort.

“It locked up on me, and that was it,” Stanton said. “I didn’t have to hit after that. It’s something I didn’t really want to mess with right now.”

The 22-year-old is the lone Marlin selected to the All-Star Game. His first invitation came in his third big league season, and he clearly wants to take part in the festivities at Kansas City.

“One day at a time,” Stanton said. “It’s pretty important right now to kind of evaluate everything and make sure all is good to go.”

Stanton’s knee is of concern. But the Marlins also are monitoring another starter with an achy knee. Logan Morrison, who had surgery on his left knee in early December, was not in the starting lineup on Wednesday.

The decision was made in part because the Brewers are starting lefty Randy Wolf. But the knee also is bothering the left fielder.

“He plays so hard, he has a chance to be hurt,” manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Guillen added that Morrison has the makings to be a team leader someday.

Joe Frisaro

Ramirez back in lineup, Stanton rests again

MILWAUKEE — Giancarlo Stanton is getting another day of rest on Wednesday afternoon. But Hanley Ramirez was back in the lineup, once again hitting third.

The Marlins stocked up with right-handed hitters against Brewers lefty Randy Wolf.

Miami, coming off a heartbreaking 13-12 loss in 10 innings on Tuesday, look to snap a two-game slide. Overall, the Marlins have dropped 10 straight to the Brewers.

Stanton is resting a sore right knee. Ramirez also didn’t start on Tuesday due to an achy right knee. But he entered in the ninth inning as part of a double-switch.

Josh Johnson will be making his final start of the first half. JJ is expected to next start on July 13, when the Marlins come off the All-Star Break to face the Nationals at Marlins Park.


1) Reyes, SS

2) Solano, LF

3) Ramirez, 3B

4) Ruggiano, CF

5) Infante, 2B

6) Kearns, RF

7) Sanchez, 1B

8) Hayes, C

9) Johnson, P

— Joe Frisaro


Ruggiano makes mark on Miller Park

MILWAUKEE — Justin Ruggiano has now officially left his mark on Miller Park.

Well, at least the Marlins outfielder is recognized in the press box. His foul ball off Marco Estrada in the first inning sailed into where the media sits. And the ball dented a corner piece of the wall to the front-row stairs.

The Miller Park press box is filled with dents caused by foul balls through the years. Whenever a bit of damage occurs, it is noted and dated.


The dent Justin Ruggiano’s foul ball made at Miller Park.

Joe Frisaro


Hanley, Stanton both scratched on Tuesday

MILWAUKEE — The two biggest home run threats were scratched from the Marlins lineup on Tuesday afternoon.

All-Star right fielder Giancarlo Stanton was taken out due to a sore right knee. The knee has hampered him since Spring Training, and he said he was fatigued after Monday’s 6-5 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park.

“I was really fatigued yesterday,” Stanton said.

About 90 minutes before the Marlins faced the Brewers, the team scratched third baseman Hanley Ramirez, who also is dealing with a sore right knee.

“He’s been sore for the last couple of days,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “Today, he started swinging and was sore. I would rather give him a day off than lose him for 15, 20 days.”

Ramirez came out for stretch.

Taking Stanton and Ramirez out of the lineup removes 31 homers and 93 RBIs for a team that has struggled offensively.

Stanton hopes to play on Wednesday, and he says he will be fine for the upcoming Home Run Derby and All-Star Game.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins try to snap long slide vs. Brewers

MILWAUKEE — The Marlins let a three-run lead slip away on Monday night, which led to dropping their ninth straight decision overall to the Brewers.

After Monday’s 6-5 loss, the Marlins have also dropped five in a row at Miller Park, dating back to 2010.

The Marlins look to even the four-game series on Tuesday. Anibal Sanchez gets the start.


1) Reyes, SS

2) Ramirez, 3B

3) Stanton, RF

4) Morrison, LF

5) Ruggiano, CF

6) Infante, 2B

7) G. Sanchez, 1B

8) Buck, C

9) A. Sanchez, P

Joe Frisaro


Bonifacio likely to start rehab games Wednesday

MILWAUKEE — As the Marlins are continuing their series with the Brewers at Miller Park on Wednesday, Emilio Bonifacio is expected to begin playing rehab games for Class A Jupiter.

Bonifacio, on the disabled list since May 20 with a left thumb injury, is projected to play continuously with the Hammerheads, through the rest of the week and during the All-Star Break.

The hope is he will be reinstated off the disabled list against the Nationals at Marlins Park on July 13, Miami’s first game after the All-Star Break.

Bonifacio had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb on May 25.

Also next week, reliever Edward Mujica (broken right pinky toe) is expected to play in rehab assignment games at Jupiter.

Juan Carlos Oviedo is slated to begin playing Minor League games on Saturday, which is 16 days before he is eligible to end his six-week suspension.

Oviedo is eligible to play for the Marlins on July 23, when the team is at home against Atlanta.

Joe Frisaro


LeBlanc recalled as long reliever

MIAMI — Wade LeBlanc, who enjoyed an impressive Spring Training, was recalled on Sunday to take on a long relief role for the Marlins.

The left-hander had been starting at Triple-A New Orleans, where he was 5-5 with a 3.74 ERA in 16 starts.

LeBlanc, obtained in an offseason trade with the Padres for John Baker, last appeared in a big league game on Sept. 28, 2011. In his career, he has made two relief appearances.

Manager Ozzie Guillen says LeBlanc will pitch in long relief. He is not being considered as a situational lefty.

LeBlanc is filling the roster spot opened when Edward Mujica was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday with a broken right pinky toe.

Steve Cishek will be the primary right-handed eighth inning setup reliever. Randy Choate remains the lefty specialist, and left-hander Mike Dunn is a candidate to pitch in the seventh and eight innings.

Chad Gaudin, who had been used mostly in long relief, now could be used in the seventh inning. Ryan Webb gives an option to work multiple innings.

Joe Frisaro