MIAMI — The Marlins will get a look at one of the prospects they acquired in the Ricky Nolasco trade.
Steven Ames, a right-handed reliever, is being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on Sunday to replace injured Kevin Slowey.
Slowey is headed to the disabled list with right elbow discomfort.
Ames, 25, is making his first big league callup.
Miami acquired the right-hander, who attended Gonzaga (manager Mike Redmond’s college), earlier this month from the Dodgers for Nolasco.
Ames made five appearances with New Orleans, and he didn’t allow a run.
Before being dealt to Miami, Ames was 2-2 with a 3.67 ERA in 30 appearances for Triple-A Albuquerque.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Marlins right-hander Kevin Slowey is heading to the disabled list with right forearm discomfort.
The 29-year-old experienced pain in his throwing arm while warming up in the third inning on Saturday night in Miami’s 7-4 loss to the Pirates.
Slowey, who has contributed in the rotation and in relief, is 3-6 with a 4.11 ERA in 92 innings.
The Marlins will make a corresponding move before they face the Pirates on Sunday afternoon.
Slowey has been a versatile veteran who has handled a variety of roles.
Due to injuries, Slowey opened the season as the No. 2 starter, and in 14 starts, he is 1-6 with a 4.21 ERA. In six relief appearances, he is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA.
Formerly with the Twins, Slowey made the Marlins as a non-roster invitee. He spent time on the disabled list in 2011 with an abdominal strain, and right biceps soreness.
Due to injuries, Slowey had not pitched in the big leagues since he threw 59 1/3 innings for the Twins in 2011.
Slowey was loosening up in the third inning on Saturday after Tom Koehler got into early trouble.
“He was warming up down there, and his forearm tightened up on him,” manager Mike Redmond said. “He wasn’t able to go. Without him being our long guy, we had to make an adjustment and piece it together.”
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — Trade speculation promises to rise as Wednesday’s non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, and the Marlins are content to pretty much remain inactive.
The club already made its major move, dealing Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers for three pitching prospects on July 6.
Pretty much every contending team in need of relief pitching has already been told closer Steve Cishek and lefty Mike Dunn are not available. Several other clubs have inquired about veteran Chad Qualls, a free agent at the end of the season.
Even for Qualls, who is not guaranteed to be part of Miami’s plans for ’14, isn’t actively being shopped.
The Marlins are leaning towards retaining Qualls, barring a team overpaying for the right-hander, who has done a solid job in a setup role.
Why not deal Qualls? It’s pretty simple. The Marlins are looking to win as many games as possible in the second half. If the team was in a downward spiral right now, their thinking likely would be different.
But Miami, while 39-62 overall, is 26-21 since May 31.
It’s a pretty remarkable turnaround since starting off 14-41 in April and May.
With young pitchers like Jose Fernandez, Nathan Eovaldi, Jacob Turner and Henderson Alvarez each throwing well, the organization doesn’t want to see winnable games slip away due to inexperienced relievers.
So if the return for Qualls isn’t something worth the Marlins’ while, then they are perfectly satisfied with keeping the veteran through the end of the season.
The biggest name on the Marlins repeatedly mentioned in trade speculation is Giancarlo Stanton. Each day brings another report with the 23-year-old slugger’s name attached.
It’s been reported that the Rangers and Pirates are calling regularly, and they repeatedly are told the same thing — no.
The bottom line with Stanton is he isn’t available, not now and pretty much not in the offseason.
Stanton will qualify for arbitration for the first time in 2014, and his salary will jump into the neighborhood of $6.5 million or perhaps another half million more.
Whatever the exact figure will be is affordable for the Marlins.
Besides, the club already has said publicly that it plans on approaching Stanton about a significant multi-year offer. Even if he doesn’t accept it, the Marlins are willing to retain the slugger through at least the start of 2014.
Quite simply, the Marlins need Stanton’s power. That has been magnified even more with the recent left thumb injury to Marcell Ozuna, a candidate to eventually replace Stanton in right field.
As an organization, there isn’t a surplus of power. So the team is looking to find it from within. The Marlins aren’t planning on being active in the free agent market for a power hitter, so retaining Stanton is a high priority.
The Marlins are last in the Majors in runs scored with 321, and that figure is pretty far back of the White Sox, who rank 29th in runs with 377. Stanton missed all of May with a strained right hamstring, and that’s when the team struggled miserably.
Miami also is last in home runs with 61, two behind the Giants.
And the Marlins’ slugging percentage of .337 also ranks at the bottom in the Majors. The Yankees are next in that category at .371.
Candidates who could be moved are Ryan Webb and Justin Ruggiano.
Between now and the Trade Deadline, calls are expected to come in and go out, but the Marlins aren’t expected to be a main trade attraction by the middle of next week.
– Joe Frisaro
The Marlins have placed outfielder Marcell Ozuna on the 15-day disabled list with a left thumb injury, which will require surgery.
Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told reporters in Denver, it is “highly doubtful” Ozuna will play again this season.
Ozuna jammed his thumb in Miami’s 3-1 win over the Rockies at Coors Field on Monday night.
The 22-year-old outfielder saw a thumb specialist in Miami on Wednesday, and it revealed a serious injury. Ozuna has a left thumb ligament tear, and an avulsion fracture. Surgery is scheduled for Friday.
Because the injury occurred in a big league game, Ozuna will be placed on the MLB disabled list.
The Marlins optioned Ozuna to Double-A Jacksonville after Monday’s game.
The injury occurred when Ozuna made a diving catch on Michael Cuddyer’s sinking line drive. On the play, Ozuna’s glove hand (his left) bent backwards. It’s the second serious injury to the same general area for Ozuna this season.
Late in Spring Training, he suffered a broken left wrist after colliding with the wall while making a catch.
With Ozuna going on the big league DL, it will impact his MLB service time, meaning he will likely qualify as a Super Two and be eligible for arbitration in 2016.
If not for the injury, Ozuna would have returned to Double-A, where he opened the season, and he likely would not have had enough MLB service time to be arbitration eligible until 2017.
– Joe Frisaro
MIAMI — With their top two prospects called up, the Marlins have a couple of outfielders who are expendable.
Justin Ruggiano and Juan Pierre will see their playing time drastically reduced now that Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick have been promoted from Double-A Jacksonville.
Ruggiano, especially, becomes a candidate to be traded by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The 31-year-old can play all three outfield spots, and he provides power. His 12 home runs lead the Marlins. but he’s mired in an 0-for-30 slump since his last hit on July 8.
The dryspell has dropped his batting average to .202.
According to various reports, the Yankees, Rangers, Phillies and Giants have a level of interest.
Because he is out of options, and doesn’t figure to be part of the team’s plans next year, Ruggiano is a strong candidate to be moved either at the deadline or sometime in August, during the waiver trade period.
Pierre, meanwhile, is 35 and he is a favorite of the organization. The veteran speedster likely will remain with the club for the remainder of the season, unless there is a contending team interested in his services. That doesn’t appear to be the case.
If Ruggiano is dealt, Pierre could see more playing time in spot starts. Yelich is playing left field, but he could move to center field if Marisnick is given a day off or replaced in a double-switch situation.
A key member of the Marlins’ 2003 World Series team, Pierre’s role now is mostly as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.
Pierre remains popular in the clubhouse, and he is seen as a valuable asset to provide leadership and insight to the young players.
Pierre lives in South Florida, and when he retires as a player, the Marlins would strongly consider having him work in their organization, perhaps as a coach.
– Joe Frisaro
To make space on the 40-man roster for outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick, the Marlins on Tuesday made a few corresponding moves.
First baseman Casey Kotchman and right-hander Alex Sanabia were each transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Miami also recalled infielder Chris Valaika from his rehab assignment, activated him from the 60-day disabled list, and then designated him for assignment.
Yelich and Marisnick officially had their contracts selected from Double-A Jacksonville on Tuesday. Respectively, they are ranked by MLB.com as Miami’s top two prospects.
Kotchman has been on the disabled list since June 10 with a left oblique strain, while Sanabia has been sidelined since May 27 with a right groin injury.
Valaika fractured his left wrist in early May, which required surgery. The utility infielder was sent to Triple-A New Orleans on rehab assignment on July 18.
– Joe Frisaro
The promotions were inevitable. It was always going to be a matter of when.
As it turned out, the when came moments after the Marlins beat the Rockies, 3-1, on Monday night at Coors Field.
In the aftermath of the victory, the club announced they were selecting the contracts of outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick from Double-A Jacksonville.
The corresponding moves were mildly surprising, as second baseman Derek Dietrich and outfielder Marcell Ozuna were optioned to Double-A.
Ozuna and Dietrich each showed promise. At times, they also showed their youth, and now they will get some more Minor League seasoning. Both still project to be major parts of the organization’s future.
As for Yelich and Marisnick, they now get their first big league chances. Both are highly touted. Both are highly athletic, confident and eager to prove they will be mainstays in Miami’s outfield for years to come.
Yelich, a first-round pick in 2010, has one of the best swings in the Minor Leagues. Look for him to take over in left field.
Marisnick is a speedster who is terrific defensively, and he will likely step in at center field. The question is how much will he hit?
Both bring energy and excitement to a team in a transition year.
Is the timing right now? It’s easy to say, why not? After all, the Marlins have just 36 wins, and they are building for a better tomorrow. They’re pretty much on a three-year plan to becoming a serious contender. They are entrenched in last place, and giving opportunities to other prospects.
Jose Fernandez, remember, was promoted to the big leagues at age 20. He got the nod without pitching higher than Class A. Still, he pitched well enough to be Miami’s lone All-Star.
Some in the organization felt Yelich was ready in Spring Training, when he hadn’t played above Class A.
Marisnick missed a bulk of Spring Training, as well as April, due to a broken left hand. The injury occurred after he was struck by a Trevor Rosenthal fastball in a Spring Training game against the Cardinals.
The big question with Marisnick is whether he will hit? And there are questions about his swing. We are about to find some answers out.
Ideally, both would get more time to develop in the Minor Leagues.
But where Miami is in the standings, the club felt it is worth seeing what both can do right now at the Major League level. So many are getting on-the-job-training already, so it makes sense to move along two more young players.
Miami fans have reason to be excited about the upside of both players.
They also should have some caution.
In talking to a number of scouts who have seen Yelich and Marisnick at Jacksonville, the general feeling is neither dominated at Double-A. Perhaps if they didn’t miss time due to injuries, they would have.
Yelich is more advanced offensively, but still he had his troubles at Jacksonville, especially against left-handed pitchers.
As for Marisnick, some evaluators feel he would benefit by another half year — minimum — in the Minors.
Working in their favor is their talent.
Talent is talent, and in the evaluation process it often weighs more heavily than Minor League statistics. One way to find out how they will handle the games’ highest level is to actually experience it.
Now is their time.
But in the unforgiving big leagues, the bottom line is production.
If they make the necessary adjustments and produce, Yelich and Marisnick should have promising careers. If not, they could be the ones getting sent down for more seasoning.
The way the Marlins’ season has been going, the club believes it is worth the risk to see right now if they are big league ready.
– Joe Frisaro
The future is starting now for a couple of the Marlins’ top prospects.
After beating the Rockies, 3-1, on Monday night at Coors Field, the Marlins made some eye-opening moves. They selected the contracts of outfielders Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick from Double-A Jacksonville.
The counter move, the Marlins optioned second baseman Derek Dietrich and center fielder Marcell Ozuna to Jacksonville.
Donovan Solan and Ed Lucas are likely to handle second base. And Marisnick and Yelich likely will see playing time in center and left field.
– Joe Frisaro
MILWAUKEE — Hot-hitting Adeiny Hechavarria may be moving on up — in the batting order, that is.
After going 3-for-3 on Friday in the Marlins’ 2-0 loss to the Brewers, Hechavarria could be heading to the top of the order. He’s raised his season average to .248.
The 24-year-old batted seventh on Friday.
Manager Mike Redmond after the game said he has been considering using Hechavarria at the top of the order, either first or second.
“I’ve thought about it. We’ll see,” Redmond said. “We’ve been talking about it over the last couple of days. It’s kind of one of those things where he starts swinging the bat good where he is. You move him and you risk him trying to do too much. It might be worth it. We’ll see. I’ll sleep on it tonight and see what we come up with.”
Justin Ruggiano, who has been leading off, is in an 0-for-20 slump.
– Joe Frisaro
MILWAUKEE — Christian Yelich recently got a taste of playing in a big league ballpark when he took part in the Futures Game at Citi Field.
It is just a matter of time before the 21-year-old outfielder gets his first MLB chance with the Marlins. That opportunity likely will come before the end of the month.
Quite simply, it is a matter of Yelich heating up at the plate and showing he is ready.
Miami’s top prospect, Yelich had an RBI double and a single in his two at-bats on Sunday for the United States team in the Futures Game played at the home of the New York Mets.
Yelich continued to swing a hot bat on Thursday night, going 3-for-4 for Double-A Jacksonville.
Ranked as the 10th best prospect in the game by MLB.com, Yelich must show a level of consistency in the next week or two to earn his promotion.
Yelich is regarded as one of the smoothest hitting prospects in the game. But the left-handed hitting outfielder has dealt with injuries in April and June, which has factored into some inconsistent play. His three hits on Thursday raised his average to .268 with 13 doubles, six triples, six homers and 28 RBIs in 45 games for the Suns.
Clearly, the Marlins will use the second half to further develop and evaluate their young talent. But they also have plenty of outfield depth, and are in no need of rushing their top prospect.
Barring injury, it is highly likely Yelich will join the Marlins in either late July or early August, at the latest.
Still, additional at-bats at Double-A will not hurt. He’s had a total of 222 this year, counting rehab assignment stints.
Yelich has been playing center field and left field at Jacksonville. With the Marlins, he likely will start off in center, with Marcell Ozuna moving to left field.
That decision will be more fully addressed when Yelich does arrive.
While Yelich is closing in on being big league ready, the Marlins appear willing to give Jake Marisnick more time in Jacksonville. Marisnick, 22, is the projected center fielder of the future, but the team wants to make sure he is completely ready offensively.
Marisnick is enjoying a strong season at Jacksonville, batting .291 with 10 homers and 41 RBIs.
With Marisnick, however, the team is paying attention to his mechanics more than his actual numbers. There are some areas of his swing the organization first would like to see ironed out.
The speedster still could use another half season of Minor League ball to be better prepared.
Without question, the Marlins have rushed players to the big leagues in the past. Often, it is out of necessity. But with plenty of outfield depth, there is no need to push Marisnick right now. The same is true for Yelich.
Marlins not likely to sign Gonzalez: Cuban pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is gaining plenty of attention, and reportedly, the right-hander could sign next week. While the Marlins have been linked to Gonzalez, don’t expect the club to be in the mix when a final decision is made.
Gonzalez, cleared earlier this week to sign with MLB teams, reportedly could get a deal of around $60 million for five years.
The Cubs, Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees and Twins have been mentioned as possible landing spots for the right-hander.
– Joe Frisaro