August 2012

Keeping players healthy a concern

MIAMI — Finding healthy infielders has become a challenge.

Nick Green was scratched from the starting lineup on Monday due to a sprained left thumb. Green jammed his thumb on Sunday against the Dodgers while making a diving attempt at third base.

Marlins catcher Rob Brantly welcomed by general manager Michael Hill.

Greg Dobbs was listed to replace Green at third base. But Dobbs has been bothered by a tight left oblique, which led to him being scratched on Saturday.

If Dobbs isn’t able to hold up, Justin Ruggiano is the emergency third baseman.

Ruggiano was the starting center fielder on Monday in the series opener with the Phillies. He last played third base in 2010, appearing at one game at third base while in the Minor Leagues.

On Tuesday, catcher Rob Brantly is expected to make his first MLB start. The 23-year-old was called up from Triple-A New Orleans, and he is expected to see plenty of playing time as he is evaluated.

Brantly is a left-handed hitter, and manager Ozzie Guillen didn’t want him to make his debut against All-Star lefty Cole Hamels.

On Tuesday, the Phillies are starting right-hander Kyle Kendrick. Brantly will catch Josh Johnson.

Giancarlo Stanton was back in the lineup on Monday after being given off on Sunday. He is expected to start again on Tuesday. The Marlins have a quick turnaround on Wednesday, with a 12:40 p.m. ET start.

The Marlins want to see how he responds a day game after a night game.

Also, on Wednesday, Emilio Bonifacio will begin his rehab assignment for Class A Jupiter, where he is planning on playing center field.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins open three-game set with Phillies

MIAMI — The Marlins have already beaten Cole Hamels three times this season. They will strive to make it four on Monday night in the series opener with Philadelphia at Marlins Park.

Hamels is 6-10 with a 3.68 ERA in his career against the Marlins.

Overall this year, Miami has won six of nine with the Phillies.

Nathan Eovaldi gets the start for the Marlins.

Miami acquired Eovaldi from the Dodgers on July 25 as part of the Hanley Ramirez trade.

While Miami has brought up catcher Rob Brantly from Triple-A New Orleans, the left-handed hitters isn’t starting against Hamels.

Giancarlo Stanton is back in the starting lineup.


1) Solanco, 2B

2) Ruggiano, CF

3) Reyes, SS

4) Lee, 1B

5) Stanton, RF

6) Kearns, LF

7) Dobbs, 3B

8) Buck, C

9) Eovaldi, P

Joe Frisaro

Reyes breaks up no-hit bid, again

MIAMI — In the 57th regular season game at Marlins Park, Dodgers lefty Chris Capuano flirted with making history.

Capuano held the Marlins without a hit until Jose Reyes’ one-out single to center in the seventh inning.

Twice at Miami’s new home Reyes has foiled a no-hit bid. On Opening Night, St. Louis’ Kyle Lohse didn’t allow a hit through six innings. But leading off the seventh, Reyes singled to right.

The Marlins avoided being one-hit when Nick Green dropped a single to right in the eighth inning off Capuano.

Capuano yielded the two hits while striking out 10 in eight innings.

The Marlins season-low hit game remains one. On June 15 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Donovan Solano singled with one out in the first inning off Matt Moore. It was the lone hit for Miami on the day.

Twice in their history, the Marlins have been no-hit. Ramon Martinez, Pedro’s brother, did it while with the Dodgers on July 14, 1995. And on May 29, 2010, Roy Halladay threw a perfect game at Sun Life Stadium.

Marlins’ one or less hit games

At Tampa Bay, 1-hit, June 15, 2012

At Oakland, 1-hit, June 28, 2011

vs. Philadelphia, Perfect Game by Halladay, May 29, 2010

Vs. Philadelphia, 1-hit, July 16, 2009

Vs. Tampa Bay, 1-hit June 26, 2008

At New York Mets, 1-hi, Sept. 29, 2007

At New York Mets, 1-hit, April 15, 2005

At New York Mets, 1-hit, June 17, 2003

vs. Atlanta, 1-hit, July 24, 2002

At Los Angeles Dodgers, No-hitter by Martinez, July 14, 1995

Joe Frisaro


Bell likely to get shot at closing

NEW YORK — Heath Bell, who had a rough first half, basically has earned another shot at closing.

Manager Ozzie Guillen is leaning towards going with Bell the next time there is a save situation. Guillen still holds the right to change his mind, based on circumstances, but look for Bell to be given a chance to lock down the final outs.

In his last 10 appearances, Bell has given up three hits in nine scoreless innings.

Steve Cishek collected his seventh save on Tuesday night when he worked a perfect ninth inning at the Mets.

All season, Guillen has said the Marlins are a better team with Bell closing. But when the veteran labored, saving 19 of 25 opportunities, Cishek was used as the closer for most of the second half.

In other pregame news on Wednesday, Jose Reyes was back in the starting lineup for the second of three games against the Mets.

Reyes is riding a 25-game hitting streak, the longest of his career and the tops this season in the Majors. But Reyes has been dealing with a sore right hand, basically discomfort between his thumb and index finger.

Reyes spoke to Guillen before Wednesday’s game.

“I told Ozzie today that I’ve missed so many games in my career with injuries,” Reyes said. “I want to play. Now, I feel so good at the plate, I don’t want to come out.”

With the Marlins playing a 12:10 p.m. ET game on Thursday at New York, Guillen might give Giancarlo Stanton the day off. Stanton was reinstated off the DL on Tuesday, and he is making two straight starts. The team is monitoring the 22-year-old slugger, who had surgery on his right knee on July 8.

Joe Frisaro


Does retooling mean Marlins won’t be spending?

NEW YORK — Heavy spending didn’t produced the desired results, so the Marlins opted to do some “retooling.”

Their four trades in late July moved a number of core players, like Hanley Ramirez, Omar Infante, Anibal Sanchez and Edward Mujica.

In the process, the team freed up some salary room. Dealing Ramirez to the Dodgers, for instance, wiped the nearly $40 million that’s owed to him through 2014 off Miami’s books. And the Tigers are on the hook for the rest of Infante’s contract. The infielder is making $4 million this year and next.

Many are wondering whether the Marlins will reinvest that money back into player salaries.

The simple answer is the organization will be willing to spend, but they are planning on being careful with their dollars. They don’t want to invest in the wrong players.

Miami’s Opening Day payroll topped $100 million. Chances are, it won’t be that high in 2013. But then again, it also won’t likely dip to much less than $90 million.

Team president David Samson notes there is a fine line between retooling and rebuilding.

“That’s a tough line,” Samson said. “we’re not rebuilding, we’re retooling. The key is, in our opinion we still have the players we need here to win. Whatever combination you put into that pot of players, this year, it didn’t work. So we needed a new combination.”

Will the team be reluctant to spend freely next year?

“We raised the payroll to a record in ’05, and we didn’t win,” Samson said. “We raised the payroll to a record in ’11, and didn’t win. We raised the payroll again to a new record in ’12 and didn’t win. I’m not sure that was the right answer.”

The team isn’t taking a hard stance of not spending again. They just want to be selective.

“Now, if we want to get players who will help us and surround our players, we have to do better,” Samson said. “If we want to go into the free agency market, I’m not saying [Jose] Reyes, [Mark] Buehrle and [Heath] Bell are not good. We need to do better with how the team fits together.”

Joe Frisaro


Reyes dealing with sore right hand

New York — Jose Reyes is riding a 25-game hitting streak. But the Marlins shortstop also is dealing with some discomfort in his right hand.

Reyes jammed his hand again on Tuesday night, facing New York left-hander Jon Niese.

Still, Reyes reached on an infield single, extending his streak to 25 games, the longest in the Majors this year.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is monitoring Reyes, and hinted that he could sit out a game in New York.

Reyes initially tweaked the hand last Friday in the doubleheader at Washington while facing Gio Gonzalez.

He said it bothers him while hitting from the right side.

“From the right side, if I get jammed, it’s going to hurt,” said Reyes, his hand wrapped in ice after Miami’s 4-2 win on Tuesday. “From the left side, it’s alright. It’s no big deal.”

Joe Frisaro


Bonifacio, Morrison could return this season

NEW YORK — An MRI revealed some encouraging results for Emilio Bonifacio.

The Marlins second baseman didn’t sustain any further damage to his surgically-repaired left thumb.

Bonifacio went on the disabled list on Aug. 4, and the team is optimistic that he could be back in two to three weeks.

The speedster initially injured the thumb on May 18 at Cleveland, where he suffered ligament damage. Surgery was performed on May 25, and two pins were inserted. The pins were not damaged by his latest injury, which occurred in the ninth inning of Game 2 of a doubleheader at Washington.

Bonifacio basically tore some scar tissue when he made a diving attempt on Michael Morse’s infield single.

The Marlins also are hopeful that Logan Morrison, on the DL since July 29 with inflammation to his right knee, will be able to return this season.

Morrison traveled to Vail, Co., to be examined by Dr. Richard Steadman. Morrison has a right patellar tendon injury.

The Marlins believe Morrison won’t need surgery, and that with rest, he could return in this season.

Joe Frisaro


Stanton primed to boost offense

NEW YORK — A couple of days ago, the Marlins lost their “glue” when Emilio Bonifacio was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb.

As tough as it is to be without the speed of Bonifacio, the club on Tuesday is expected to get a lift by adding some substantial power.

Giancarlo Stanton is ready to be reinstated after being on the disabled list since July 8 with a right knee injury.

Stanton appeared in four rehab games at Class A Jupiter, going 5-for-16 (.313) with a double, two home runs and five RBIs. He homered on Sunday.

For a lineup struggling to score runs, the 22-year-old has been greatly missed.

He underwent a scope on the knee on July 8, and the recovery time was set at four to six weeks.

In the 25 games that he missed, the Marlins have averaged 2.8 runs per game. They have hit 13 home runs and driven in 63 RBIs.

Stanton still leads Miami in home runs (19) and RBIs (50).

“He at least will give us a little better view of the offense,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “This guy, maybe he will carry the ballclub for a little while, and make us have a little bit of fun.”

Getting Stanton back will be a big boost, but the team will regulate his playing time. Because he is rebounding from surgery, he will get periodic days off. So, he may not play day games after night games. Or he may have to build up to playing more than three or four days in a row.

“We have to be careful with him, and monitor him very well,” Guillen said. “Be careful how we’re going to play him. When you are managing with him, he makes things a lot easier offensively.”

Joe Frisaro


Reyes streak at 23 and counting

WASHINGTON — The streak continues.

Jose Reyes’ double in the third inning on Saturday night at Washington, extended his hitting streak to 23 games, the longest active in the Majors.

It’s also the fourth best in Marlins’ history. Luis Castillo holds the record of 35 games in 2002. Emilio Bonifacio hit safely in 26 last year, and Kevin Millar had a stretch of 25 games in 2002.

Reyes isn’t the only Miami hitter on a hot streak. Carlos Lee has hit safely in 10 straight games.

Lee extended his streak with an RBI single in the third inning, which scored Reyes.


Luis Castillo, 35, 5/8-6/21/02

Emilio Bonifacio, 26, 6/28-7/28/11

Kevin Millar, 25, 8/24-9/19/02

Jose Reyes, 23, 7/13-present

Edgar Renteria, 22, 7/25-8/16/96

Luis Castillo, 22, 8/9-9/3/99

Joe Frisaro


X-ray comes back negative on Boni’s thumb

WASHINGTON — The Marlins are bracing for the worst and hoping for the best on Emilio Bonifacio’s sprained left thumb.

An X-ray taken after Friday’s 5-2 win at Washington came back negative. But further tests will take place in Miami on Monday.

Placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, Bonifacio returned to Miami where he will be examined by the physician who performed surgery on the same thumb on May 25.

Manager Ozzie Guillen hasn’t ruled out Bonifacio returning in two or three weeks, but he isn’t completely banking on it.

“When I saw it, to me, I thought he was out for the season,” Guillen said. “The way he was reacting, and the pain. [But] we don’t know yet. The X-rays came back negative. We’ve got to wait until Monday or Tuesday to see what the doctors say.”

The X-ray detected no structural damage. When Bonifacio initially injured the thumb, on May 18 at Cleveland, he tore ligaments. Pins were inserted to stability the area.

The Marlins don’t believe the pins were damaged.

“The X-rays showed everything was what it was,” Guillen said. “The pins, they were in the same place. Maybe, he just strained the ligament. You can put it that way. That’s what they told me.”

“He’s going to be out 15 days, and hopefully no more than that. Then we’re go by ear. If only 15 days, that’s a plus.”

Bonifacio is one of the most popular players on the team.

“This kid is the soul of this ballclub,” Guillen said. “This kid can bring a lot of great things to this ballclub. Not only on the field, but off the field. He’s liked by his teammates, the way he goes about his business. Hopefully, it’s just a few weeks.”

Joe Frisaro