April 2014

Turner to get start on Saturday

MIAMI — For the first time since the first week of the season, the Marlins rotation should be at full strength.

Manager Mike Redmond announced Jacob Turner will come off the disabled list and start on Saturday at home against the Dodgers. Tom Koehler will pitch the first game of that series, on Friday. Jose Fernandez falls in line to start on Sunday in the series finale.

Turner opened the season as the No. 4 starter, but he’s made just one start this season. Prior to his second start, which was scheduled to be on April 9 at Washington, Turner sprained his right shoulder while taking batting practice.

Turner made two rehab assignment starts for Class A Jupiter. On Monday, the right-hander threw seven innings, giving up one run while striking out seven. He threw 75 pitches.

In other injury news, Rafael Furcal doesn’t believe his strained right groin is serious. The veteran infielder was returned from his rehab assignment on Sunday after he injured his groin on Friday while playing for Double-A Jacksonville.

Furcal has been on the DL all season with a left hamstring strain.

The 36-year-old is with the big league club in Miami, and he went through baseball activities during batting practice.

Barring any setbacks, Furcal could go back on a rehab assignment this weekend. Chances are he would play at Triple-A New Orleans.

Joe Frisaro

Dobbs designated, Lucas returns from DL

MIAMI — Greg Dobbs, who signed a one-year, $1.7 million extension with the Marlins last season, was designated for assignment on Tuesday afternoon.

The move was made to make roster room for Ed Lucas, who was returned from his rehab assignment and reinstated from the disabled list.

Lucas was set to make the club out of Spring Training, but he suffered a broken left hand after being hit by a pitch four days before the March 31 opener against the Rockies.

Dobbs, 35, initially made the Marlins as a non-roster invitee in 2011, and ever since he provided a left-handed veteran bat off the bench. He was 1-for-13, all as a pinch-hitter, before he was designated.

In his career, Dobbs has 96 career pinch-hits, and he is batting .262 in that role.

Although Dobbs mostly played first and third base, he wasn’t used in the field, limiting the club’s overall options.

Adding Lucas gives the club more versatility, as the 31-year-old can play all the infield spots, as well as some corner outfield. He also is an emergency catcher candidate.

Lucas played in three rehab assignment games with Class A Jupiter, and he was 6-for-14.

Joe Frisaro

Salty receives World Series ring

NEW YORK –- Actually seeing his World Series championship ring was worth a thousand words to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. To the 28-year-old catcher, the photos didn’t do it justice.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was presented with his World Series ring on Sunday.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was presented with his World Series ring on Sunday.

“The picture you see on the Internet don’t describe what it looked like when I first saw it,” Saltalamacchia said. “The detail of everything, it’s just amazing.”

Early in the season the Red Sox honored their 2013 World Series championship team at a ring ceremony at Fenway Park. Saltalamacchia, part of the title team, received his ring on Sunday morning.

It was prearranged that Allard Baird, the Red Sox vice president of player personnel, would deliver Saltalamacchia with his ring in New York.

Prior to the Marlins facing the Mets at Citi Field, Baird presented Saltalamacchia with the elaborate ring inscribed with the catcher’s long name, uniform number and the slogans, “B Strong” and “Bearded Brothers.”

“It’s bigger than I thought it was going to be,” Saltalamacchia said. “It’s nice to actually have it in hand. It’s really cool. I knew Allard Baird was going to come in and give it to me.”

The Marlins’ top free agent acquisition, Saltalamacchia is striving the be part of a championship culture in Miami. Receiving his ring puts closer to his ’13 season in Boston.

“It represents everything that we went through the whole year,” the catcher said. “A lot of guys play a long time to get one of these or even make it. So I’m pretty fortunate.”

Joe Frisaro

Furcal suffers right groin injury

NEW YORK — Over the weekend, Marlins’ management is set to make a decision on what the next step is for Rafael Furcal.

They may have received their answer on Friday night.

In a rehab assignment with Double-A Jacksonville, Furcal was replaced due to a right groin injury.

Furcal strained his left hamstring in Spring Training, and he’s been on the disabled list all season. So now, he is dealing with a second ailment.

Still, the setback may not be too severe.

Marlins manager Mike Redmond said on Saturday that Furcal was doing baseball activities on Saturday to see if he can return to game action as early as Sunday.

The 36-year-old is in his second week of his rehab assignment. After one week at Class A Jupiter, he headed to Jacksonville on Monday, and has been playing for the Suns.

On Friday night, Furcal was 2-for-2. He was on first base and sustained the groin strain while running the bases. As a precaution, he was immediately replaced.

By Sunday, the Marlins were to decide if Furcal should spend another week on rehab assignment, or if it was time to bring him to the big league club.

Derek Dietrich and Donovan Solano have been handling most of the second base duties.

Joe Frisaro

Marlins pitchers approaching April mark

NEW YORK — If the Marlins’ staff stays on its recent pace, they could establish a franchise record for strikeouts in April.

In their just completed series at Atlanta, Miami pitchers posted 37 strikeouts in three games, raising their monthly total to 173.

Heading into Friday night at New York, the Marlins have five more games left in April. If they average nine strikeouts per game, they will finish the month with 218. The club mark is 215 set by the 2003 staff.

Even if they fall short of the club mark, they have a chance to become the second team in franchise history to reach 200 strikeouts in April.

For the season, the Marlins have 183 total strikeouts. But the combined 10 they logged on Opening Night came on March 31. Jose Fernandez fanned nine that day.

Most strikeouts in April

2003: 215
2013: 193
2011: 183
2007: 181
2010: 175
1996: 174
2014: 173

Joe Frisaro

Series at Turner Field was K-razy

Power arms were on display in the Marlins’ wild series against the Braves at Turner Field.

If you are fan of strikeouts, this series was for you. The Miami and Atlanta staffs racked up 88 strikeouts over the three games, or an average of 29.333 per game, with one of them decided in 10 innings.

The Marlins hitters struck out 41 times, to 37 for Atlanta.

The Braves ended up taking two of three in a series that was decided by one big hit in all three games.

As discouraging as it was for the Marlins to lose the series, there was plenty of encouragment in how the starters performed.

Tom Koehler set the tone on Monday night, giving up two runs in 6 1/3 innings. On Tuesday, Jose Fernandez had maybe the best pitching performance of any starter in the big leagues this year. The 21-year-old struck out 14 and allowed three hits with no walks in eight innings. And on Thursday afternoon, Nathan Eovaldi fanned seven in six innings, giving up one unearned run.

For the series, the Miami starters posted an 0.89 ERA (2 ER in 20 1/3 IP). The starters allowed just 14 hits, walked two and hit one batter.

The power arms certainly put on a show. Round two will be next week at Marlins Park. But first, the Marlins open a three-game series against the Mets at Citi Field beginning on Friday.

Joe Frisaro

Capps get call up from New Orleans

The Marlins have added a fresh arm to their heavily-used bullpen.

Carter Capps was recalled on Wednesday to fill the roster spot of Arquimedes Caminero, who was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans after Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Atlanta.

Capps was dominant at New orleans, posting a 1.64 ERA. In 11 innings, he struck out 17 and walked 6. The right-hander also allowed just eight hits.

Acquired from the Mariners in December for Logan Morrison, Capps was in big league camp with Miami. However, he was working on some delivery issues, and the club felt it was best for him to open the year at New Orleans.

Capps’ numbers in the spring where five walks, with eight strikeouts in 10 innings, to go along with a 3.60 ERA.

The Marlins considered bringing Capps up after Jacob Turner was placed on the disabled list on April 9, but instead went with Caminero.

With the Mariners, Capps had 71 games of big league experience, posting a 5.04 ERA in 84 innings.

Joe Frisaro

Jose looks to stop road slide

At 0-7, the Marlins are the only team in the big leagues without a road win.

In hopes of ending the slide, Miami sends its ace to the mound. Jose Fernandez will make his fifth start of the season, and he is coming off a no-decision and a loss in his previous two outings.

At home, Fernandez has been brilliant, posting a 2-0 mark with an 0.46 ERA.

In his lone road start, he lost at Philadelphia, giving up a career-high six earned runs in four-plus innings.

The road has not yet been kind to Fernandez, the 2013 N.L. Rookie of the Year. He’s 3-7 with a 4.00 ERA in his career away from Marlins Park, where he is 11-0 with a 1.07 ERA.

A year ago, in his only appearance at Atlanta, he came out on the losing end, giving up two runs in six innings with eight strikeouts.

Fernandez’s memorable game against the Braves came on Sept. 11 in Miami, when he beat the Braves, allowing one run in seven innings.

That game is remembered for the way he admired his home run, and the dust-up that followed at home plate. There was some jawing going on during the game. It will be interesting to see how emotions factor into the game.

Miami is coming off a rough 4-2 loss in 10 innings on Monday in a game it missed numerous opportunities.

Against Atlanta lefty Alex Wood, who has impressed with his 1.67 ERA. Miami has stacked up with seven right-handed hitters.

Christian Yelich and Garrett Jones are the only left-handed bats in the lineup. Yelich is riding a career-high 15-game hitting streak.

Lineup

1) Yelich LF
2) Ozuna CF
3) Stanton RF
4) McGehee 3B
5) Saltalamacchia C
6) Jones 1B
7) Hechavarria SS
8) Solano 2B
9) Fernandez P

Joe Frisaro

Stanton keeps coming up clutch

MIAMI — All the opposing scouting reports are saying the same thing: Don’t let the big guy beat us.

Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez celebrate walk-off.

Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez celebrate walk-off.

The Mariners were really trying not to be in that situation, but couldn’t avoid it. Twice they intentionally walked Giancarlo Stanton. The trouble was, he had three other at-bats. In those, he ripped an RBI single, lined a second single that was nearly snared at first. And then in the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded and no-outs, they had no choice but to pitch to Stanton.

The Marlins slugger made them pay with a walk-off grand slam, giving Miami an 8-4 win at Marlns Park.

Stanton drove in five runs, and boosted his MLB lead to 26. And he is making a strong case to be the NL’s Player of the Month.

The Marlins are 7-10 on the season. In their seven wins, Stanton has the game-winning RBI in six of them. Marcell Ozuna has the other.

The franchise record for game-winning RBIs in a season is 21, set by Gary Sheffield in 1996. Miguel Cabrera (2005) and Jorge Cantu (2009) are second at 19.

At this pace, Stanton should seriously challenge. But it will be interesting to see how team’s approach the 24-year-old slugger from this point forward.

Entering Friday night, Stanton had been intentionally walked just once. Seattle did it twice, and likely would have done so again in the ninth, had Ozuna’s sacrifice bunt been clean.

If that occurred, and Miami had runners on second and third with one out, Stanton would have been walked. It would have then been up to Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee to close the deal.

Manager Mike Redmond has been going with the left-handed hitting Jones against right-handed starters, and McGehee there against lefties.

Against a lefty, Redmond has wanted a right-handed hitter behind Stanton. He may consider a similar strategy for clubs with multiple lefty relievers, like Seattle.

An option to bat cleanup is Jarrod Saltalamacchia, a switch-hitter, who blasted a long home run on Friday.

Saltalamacchia behind Stanton gives a threat to at least get a single or sacrifice fly.

Jones could slide to fifth or six. Fifth could be more likely, especially if left-handed hitting Derek Dietrich is batting seventh.

An order of Christian Yelich, Ozuna, Stanton, Salty, Jones, McGehee, Dietrich and Adeiny Hechavarria certainly balances righty and lefty hitters.

Joe Frisaro

Jose-Cano get together pregame

MIAMI — A couple of superstars caught up with each other pregame Friday.

Jose Fernandez and Robinson Cano pregame.

Jose Fernandez and Robinson Cano pregame.

Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was mingling with some fans near the dugout, and Seattle second baseman Robinson Cano swung on by between rounds of batting practice to sign a few autographs.

Cano and Fernandez got together, exchanged a few words, and even posed for pictures.

Joe Frisaro

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