July 2013

Fourth of July at ballpark

The style of hats the Marlins wore on The Fourth.

The style of hats the Marlins wore on The Fourth.

ATLANTA — In honor of Fourth of July, the Marlins and all of MLB, sported special caps.

Marlins reinstate Alvarez, option Koehler

ATLANTA — With Henderson Alvarez coming off the disabled list, the Marlins had to make a corresponding move.

Before facing the Braves on Thursday night, the Marlins optioned right-hander Tom Koehler to Triple-A New Orleans. To clear 40-man roster space, Matt Diaz was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. Diaz has been out since May 20 with a left knee bone bruise.

Alvarez opened the season on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He made his first start with Miami on Thursday.

After opening the season in the bullpen, Koehler was moved to the rotation. In all, he’s made 16 appearances with 10 starts, posting a 1-5 record with a 4.70 ERA.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins announce international signings

ATLANTA — The international signing period started on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, the Marlins announced several of the players they’ve come to terms with.

The list includes, C Luis Tejada (Dominican Republic), C Pablo Garcia (DR), OF Johnny Santos (Panama), OF Josue Guzman (DR), SS Ermel Pena (DR), SS Yefry Reyes (DR), SS Galvi Lara (DR), and LHP Roberto Tejada (DR).

Joe Frisaro

Nolasco takes mound amid rumors

ATLANTA — Swirling rumors didn’t change anything about Ricky Nolasco’s preparation and approach to Wednesday’s start.

Nolasco showed up at Turner Field in the afternoon, wearing a black Marlins’ hoodie. He rested on the couch in the clubhouse watching TV shortly after the rest of the team saw the final scene from the movie, “Scarface.” (Wanna play rough, say hello to my little friend!)

Shortly after Scarface was turned off, the rest of the Miami players headed to the field or batting cage to get ready to face the Braves.

Being the starting pitcher, Nolasco had a couple of hours to relax before getting into his routine for his 18th start of the season.

“I think Ricky’s a pro,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “I’ve said that the whole way. It probably weighs on his mind, but at the same time, too, you’d never know around here. He’s been exactly the same as he was at the start of the season. The way he’s conducted himself, and the way he’s gone about his business.”

For weeks, it has been speculated that Nolasco could be traded pretty much any day.

Rumors picked up on Tuesday night that the Marlins were looking to move Nolasco before Wednesday’s game.

A rainy day in Atlanta briefly delayed the start of Wednesday’s game. And at 7:17 p.m. ET, Nolasco completed his walk from the bullpen to the Marlins’ dugout. One minute later, Atlanta’s Mike Minor threw the first pitch of the game, which Justin Ruggiano lined for a double to left field.

Speculation still has the Dodgers as the frontrunner to acquire Nolasco. But that certainly isn’t imminent.

Also several other teams had scouts on hand Wednesday, including the Giants, Rangers, Pirates and
Red Sox.

“I look for him to go out there and give us a great effort, and hopefully give us a chance to pick up a win,” Redmond said before the game.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins designate Olivo for assignment

ATLANTA — The Marlins on Wednesday removed Miguel Olivo from the restricted list and designated the veteran catcher for assignment.

Miami placed Olivo on the restricted list on June 15 after the backup catcher walked out on the team prior to a game against the Cardinals on June 14. On the restricted list, the Marlins were not paying Olivo.

Olivo was unhappy with a lack of playing time, and in a meeting with the club, expressed that he wanted to be released. When the team didn’t agree, the backup catcher got dressed and departed the clubhouse.

Being designated, the Marlins have a 10 day period to either trade or release Olivo. Or Olivo could accept the assignment, and agree to go to Triple-A New Orleans.

Olivo is signed for $800,000 this year.

Joe Frisaro

Nolasco rumors picking up steam

ATLANTA — Everything is lined up for Ricky Nolasco to start for the Marlins against the Braves at Turner Field on Wednesday night.

Still, those plans could easily change.

The Marlins have been actively shopping Nolasco, and a deal could possibly get done prior to first pitch.

The Dodgers appear to be the frontrunner among more than a half-dozen teams that have expressed some level of interest. And indications are, if it is not Los Angeles, Nolasco still could be headed West.

The Rockies, Giants and Padres also have made inquires. On the East Coast, Baltimore has been active in discussions.

With Nolasco, it is not a matter of will he get traded, it’s when.

Around the Marlins’ clubhouse, many thought Nolasco was going to be dealt last week, prior to his June 28 start against the Padres.

The Marlins rotation also is prepared to move forward without Nolasco. Henderson Alvarez is scheduled to be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list to start against the Braves on Thursday.

As of now, the rest of the rotation has been bumped back one day. Jacob Turner is scheduled for Friday at St. Louis, followed by Nathan Eovaldi (Saturday) and Jose Fernandez (Sunday). If Alvarez is pushed up to start on Wednesday, the rest of the rotation could also move up a day and still be on five-days’ rest.

The Marlins will have to make a roster move to reinstate Alvarez either Wednesday or Thursday.

There is rain in the forecast in Atlanta for Wednesday and Thursday. So, the rotation still could be impacted if there is a rainout or two.

As of Wednesday morning, Miami’s immediate focus is on completing a deal for Nolasco.

At issue is the remaining $5.7 million on his $11.5 million this season.

Nolasco, a free agent after the season, is completing a three-year, $26.5 million contract.

On a last-place Miami team, Nolasco has pitched better than his 4-8 record.

The 30-year-old right-hander has a 3.93 ERA, and he’s struck out 83 while walking just 25 in 105 1/3 innings.

The Marlins acquired Nolasco from the Cubs at the 2005 Winter Meetings.

Like now, the Marlins then were going through a transition period. Nolasco was a highly-touted prospect in the Cubs’ system. He was dealt to Miami along with Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto for Juan Pierre.

In his eighth season, Nolasco has established a number of Marlins records, including wins (80), games started (196), innings pitched (1,218 2/3) and strikeouts (994).

From the start of Spring Training, it was evident Nolasco was a candidate to be traded by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Rumors the Southern California native could be moved picked up in recent weeks. And in his last two starts, Nolasco has had his struggles. He gave up six runs (five earned) on a season-high 11 hits in a June 28 loss to the Padres.

On June 21 at San Francisco, he alowed three earned runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision.

Despite his recent troubles, a National League scout said: “He did nothing to not get himself traded.”

Joe Frisaro