September 2012

Ozzie considering starting Greenberg on Tuesday

ATLANTA — It looks like Adam Greenberg will get more than one at-bat on Tuesday. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is leaning towards giving the 31-year-old one full inning.

The Marlins will sign Greenberg to a one-day contract to face the Mets at Marlins Park on Tuesday.

While with the Cubs in 2005, Greenberg was struck in the back of the head by the first pitch he saw at the big league level. Since then, he has dealt with head trauma and vision issues. But in recent years, he has played, and during a conference call on Thursday, he said he physically and mentally is fine.

The Marlins are promising the 31-year-old one at-bat. The best way to do that, Guillen is weighing giving him one inning.

Asked how he planned on using Greenberg, Guillen said: “I don’t know yet. I might start him. Start him in left field, and lead off. If he hits a home run, he stays. If he’s out, he’s gone. I think that’s the easiest way.”

Most likely, Greenberg would get his at-bat in the bottom of the first inning, and then be replaced.

“That’s the easiest way,” Guillen said. “If he needs one at-bat, and the game is on the line, if I’m going to pinch-hit him, then I put myself in a position where I don’t care about winning the game. To me, what is more important is to win the game. I think the best idea is to lead off him. Play him in the outfield. And then take him out after one at-bat.”

Joe Frisaro

 

 

 

Marlins to give Greenberg “one at-bat”

ATLANTA — A dream to get “one at-bat” is about to come true for Adam Greenberg.

On NBC’s Today Show on Thursday, Marlins president David Samson announced to Greenberg that Miami planned to sign him to a one-day big league contract to play on Tuesday.

Samson guaranteed Greenberg would get his “one at-bat” at Marlins Park against the Mets.

“From the bottom of my heart, I’ll be ready for it,” Greenberg said from the studio.

The Today Show retold Greenberg’s story of how he was struck in the head with a pitch in his lone big league plate appearance. And the challenges the 31-year-old has faced with vertigo and vision issues, which still plague him.

Greenberg’s first big league experience came while he was with the Cubs on July 9, 2005, Greenberg came to bat as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium.

The only pitch Greenberg saw was a 92 mph fastball from Valerio de los Santos. It plunked the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder in the back of the head.

Carlos Zambrano, now with the Marlins, pinch-ran for Greenberg.

Greenberg’s story has received national attention for years.

Matt Liston, a documentary film maker, has been pushing for Greenberg to get another opportunity. And a push was started for “One at Bat.”

In MLB history, no player has ever had his big league career end on the first pitch, except Greenberg.

In the record books, Greenberg’s hit by pitch is considered a “plate appearance.” He hopes to have an official at-bat.

The one-day contract the Marlins will sign Greenberg to will be the second to last game of the Marlins’ season.

If Greenberg is used early in the game, chances are he not be facing a 92 mph fastball. The Mets are scheduled to pitch R.A. Dickey, a strong Cy Young candidate who throws a 80 mph knuckleball.

Joe Frisaro

 

Ozzie advises Fredi to take some credit

ATLANTA — Humble by nature, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez predictably gave credit to his players for clinching a playoff berth.

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen, however, told his friend to share the wealth. Actually, Guillen’s advise was for Gonzalez to pat himself on the back as well.

“I congratulated Fredi, and he was like, ‘They players did a pretty good job. They played well,’ ” Guillen said. “I said, ‘Fredi, you’ve got to say, ‘I did it too. Because the day you don’t win, it’s going to be your fault. You better celebrate and take some credit too.’ “

Guillen pointed out to Gonzalez that last year, when Atlanta stumbled in September, and didn’t make the playoffs, people were calling for Gonzalez’s job.

“They say, ‘You didn’t [manage good]. This year, take a little credit,’ ” Guillen said.

The suggestion to accept some credit, Guillen said, came from Bobby Cox. The legendary Braves’ manager made the suggestion to Guillen in 2005. That year, Guillen guided the White Sox to a World Series title.

Guillen and Cox were named Managers of the Year.

“When we both won Manager of the Year,” Guillen said. “I was at the podium, saying, “You know, the guys played well. I’m lucky to have these great players.’ When I sat back at my table, he walked up to me and said, ‘You better take credit to yourself.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because, when you’re in last place, they will fire you. So take a little credit for yourself.’ “

Joe Frisaro

Bell clarifies remarks on MLB Network Radio

ATLANTA — Heath Bell went back on radio on Tuesday morning in hopes of clearing the air regarding comments he made regarding Ozzie Guillen on Monday.

Appearing with hosts Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM, Bell said he wasn’t criticizing Guillen.

A day earlier, Bell received national attention for remakrs about Guillen that aired on “The Dan Sileo Show” on Miami station, 560 WQAM.

On MLB Network Radio, Bell was asked if his comments were misinterpreted.

“I think it was,” the Marlins reliever said. “I was never criticizing Ozzie. I don’t think that’s what I was doing on the radio. I was choosing my words kind of right. Apparently I didn’t get it too right but the thing is I respect Ozzie as a manager. Sometimes it’s hard to respect a guy when he doesn’t tell you face to face and tells you in the media. And that’s basically what I said. I never said I don’t respect him as a manager or a person. It is interesting, I think, to play underneath a manager like Ozzie because he talks to the press and he does a lot of things and he’s loud. But you know what? You know, I’ve had good managers, I’ve had bad managers and I don’t think Ozzie’s the reason why we really stunk this year. I think for me not performing to the next guy not performing. And that’s the reason we didn’t win this year. It’s not because of Ozzie. It’s getting totally blown out of proportion for the simple fact [that] everybody’s looking for a scapegoat. Everybody’s trying to point at Ozzie or somebody in this organization.”

Bell added that he feels the organization still can turn things around in the future.

“And the thing is I think this organization can do great things,” Bell said. “I just think everybody’s trying to point fingers why we didn’t win. And, you know, did I say something I probably shouldn’t have? Yes, I did. I’m going to own up to it. But you know what? I’m not going to back down from anybody. Apparently I just have to keep my mouth shut. Next year I’m not going to talk to anybody for the simple fact [that] it’s not doing me any good. I had to get off Twitter, I had to get my whole family off Twitter and Facebook because everybody, even my 14-year-old daughter, my oldest daughter was hearing things and people were writing things and saying things that weren’t true. And it was just hitting me personally. You want to protect your kids from all that but the social media, it’s hard to protect them from the social media. So I’m doing my best and I can only try to do my best.”

Joe Frisaro

 

Some clarity caps a confusing weekend

NEW YORK – Under a cloud of uncertainty the Marlins headed to New York on Thursday. They will be leaving town Sunday night with some clarity, at least in regards to the front office.

Although there is no official announcement from the club, early in the trip, team owner Jeffrey Loria put to rest reports that Larry Beinfest’s job was in jeopardy.

Shortly before the team’s flight left Miami on Thursday, USA Today reported that Beinfest would be dismissed as president of baseball operations, and replaced by Dan Jennings, the team’s vice president of player personnel and assistant general manager.   Within 24 hours, Loria made it clear to the front office that he was keeping the status quo. If a shift in power were going to occur, that meeting was the time and place to do it. It also was made clear that there would be no reassigning of duties or responsibilities.

Word leaked on Friday night that the front office was staying as is, meaning Loria feels the player evaluators were not the major reason why the Marlins have been so disappointing.

What remains unsettled is manager Ozzie Guillen’s status.

Is Guillen on the hot seat? Absolutely.

There is growing speculation that Guillen may be out after the first of his four-year contract. Aside from the obvious, the team has underperformed, there are rumblings of clubhouse and community disconnect.

The bottom line with Guillen is the decision will be made by Loria.

As the rumors build, a source said Loria has not come to a conclusion. If he had decided to retain Guillen, then most likely the owner would have said something this weekend. After all, he did with Beinfest and the rest of the front office.

Loria basically is weighing the pros and cons, and going back and forth about what he wants to do.

Several sources have said there is a “60 percent” chance Guillen will not be back. Some noted a few days ago, that if major changes were to take place, it would be either at the front office or manager levels. Not both.

Guillen’s status also may be impacted by some other candidates. If, say, the team could convince Mike Lowell, who has never managed or coached at the professional level, to take the job, then Guillen could be out.

Bo Porter, a former Marlins coach, has been discussed with numerous jobs, including the Marlins. But some insiders feel Porter, now the Nationals third base coach, may end up getting the Astros’ managerial job.

Mike Redmond, a former Marlins backup catcher, may attract interest. One scenario could be Lowell managing and Redmond coming in as the bench coach. Redmond managed the Blue Jays’ Class A Florida State League squad this summer.

Maybe the Marlins decide to keep Guillen, and give him a second year to try to turn things around. There still could be changes made on his staff. Hitting coach, Eduardo Perez, for instance, will have his contract expire in October.

Miami could simply decide not to renew, and search for another hitting coach.

Questions remain unanswered, but more clarity around Guillen and his staff should be known by the time the season ends on Oct. 3.

Joe Frisaro

 

 

Cousins gets called up as Ruggiano rests

NEW YORK — After Justin Ruggiano sprained his right shoulder on Friday night, the Marlins were suddenly thin on outfield depth.

On Saturday morning, the team recalled outfielder Scott Cousins, who spent most of the season at Triple-A New Orleans.

Ruggiano is hopeful to be out only a few days.

Outfielder Austin Kearns, who started in Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Mets, also is a bit banged up.

Miami started Bryan Petersen in left field on Saturday, with Gorkys Hernandez in center and Greg Dobbs in right field.

The Marlins and Mets meet at 1:10 p.m. ET start time. Mark Buehrle gets the start for Miami, while New York counters with R.A. Dickey.

On Friday night, catcher Rob Brantly had his nine-game hitting streak snapped.

MARLINS

1) Petersen LF

2) Hernandez CF

3) Reyes SS

4) Lee 1B

5) Dobbs RF

6) Solano 2B

7) Buck C

8) Velazquez 3B

9) Buehrle P

Joe Frisaro

Chipper all set to go fishin’

MIAMI — Once Chipper Jones gets through playing baseball, he has plenty of reasons to go fishing.

Courtesy of the Marlins, Jones is now well stocked with fishing gear.

Marlins present Chipper Jones with fishing gear during pregame tribute. (Kelly Gavin/Miami Marlins)

The Braves slugger, who is retiring after the season, played his final game in Miami against the Marlins on Wednesday.

Before the game, the Marlins paid tribute to Jones. Team special assistant Jeff Conine and Jose Reyes greeted Jones at home plate. They presented him a fishing rod and fishing supplies.   The veteran still can do damage on the field. He entered the game batting .297.

“We’re not going to miss him,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen joked. “The Braves should miss him.”

Guillen, a former teammate of Jones, said the Braves veteran is a great ambassador for the game.   “I think Chipper was very underrated in his career,” Guillen said. “All his numbers and stuff, although people talk about it now, when I played with him, he was another player on the field. Not too many people talked about him.”

Marlins gift to Chipper

* Sage fly-fishing rod and Sage reel with travel kit

* Fly-fishing vest with fishing tools and lures

* Bass fly-tying kit

* Deceiver assortment flies

* Books on fly-fishing

* Special fly-fishing hat with LCD lights for dawn/ dusk fishing

* Tackle box kit

* Waterproof tote bag

Joe Frisaro

Marlins give Stanton another day off

MIAMI —  Still being cautious, the Marlins on Tuesday are giving Giancarlo Stanton another day of rest.

Stanton has a sore left intercostal muscle, and he was off on Monday. The Marlins slugger wasn’t available to pinch-hit.

Manager Ozzie Guillen said on Monday that he likely would give Stanton at least two days off. The Marlins wrap up their series with the Braves on Wednesday, and the team is off Thursday.

So there is a chance, Stanton could be held out until the weekend, when the Marlins begin a three-game set at the Mets on Friday.

MARLINS

1) Hernandez, CF

2) Solano, 2B

3) Reyes, SS

4) Lee, 1B

5) Ruggiano, LF

6) Kearns, RF

7) Buck, C

8) Velazquez, 3B

9) Eovaldi, P

Joe Frisaro

 

Stanton to sit a game or two

MIAMI — Giancarlo Stanton felt a tweak to his left side during an at-bat Saturday night against the Reds.

As precaution, the Marlins slugger was out of the lineup on Monday for the series opener against the Braves at Marlins Park.

Stanton, who has 34 homers and 81 RBIs, took it easy on Monday. He didn’t take batting practice.

Stanton said he should be ready for Tuesday night. But manager Ozzie Guillen may be cautious and sit Stanton again on Tuesday.

Joe Frisaro

Adapting to Marlins Park

MIAMI  — Center field at Marlins Park has certainly become an area where 400-foot shots become outs.

One of the loudest outs for the Marlins this season came on Sunday in the 11th inning against the Reds. John Buck crushed a ball off Jonathan Broxton roughly 416 feet. The problem is the distance out there is 418 feet. So rather than celebrate a two-run, walk-off homer, Buck watched center fielder Drew Stubbs make the catch that preserved a 5-4 win.

Twice on Sunday, the Marlins felt they had hit a home run which could have won the game. In the eighth inning, Jose Reyes lifted a long drive down the right field line. But with the wall being high, the ball bounced a foot or so shy of clearing the fence. The shot turned into a game-tying double, instead of a two-run homer.

“The wall is high, and the ballpark is big,” Reyes said. “The ball that Buck hit, that’s a home run in any ballpark. So, I mean, what can we do?

“Like I say, it’s tough. When you hit the ball good, and you think you got a home and the ball don’t go nowhere, and it’s an out, it’s tough as a hitter. It is what it is. You’ve got to deal with it, and don’t think about the ballpark. Everybody knows that it is big. So we try to hit line drives.”

The Marlins have hit 49 home runs at home, which ranks 26th in the league. Yet, on the road, they’ve hit 79, which is tied for 10th highest in the game.

Manager Ozzie Guillen is downplaying the notion that the dimensions are too far.

“I don’t think the dimensions of the park mean anything,” Guillen said, noting that the Marlins’ pitchers have benefited by the park.

“If we played in a different ballpark it would be a little bit worse,” the manager said of his staff’s ERA. “That’s the way it is. Be realistic. If we’re going to blame the ballpark, that’s a good excuse. It could be worse. This ballpark, it traps a lot of balls. They hit a lot of home runs against us. If ballpark plays big, we have to play a different game then.”

Guillen, though, admits the ballpark plays big.

“Yes, it does,” he said. “There is no doubt. What are you going to do about it? You can do nothing about it. You going to move it in? That’s up to them [ownership]. But pitchers win games. You can imagine, if this ballpark was small, maybe we’d be in first place. Maybe not. That’s why the ballpark, I don’t pay attention to it. This is the way it is, we have to deal with it.”

Joe Frisaro

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 107 other followers