Results tagged ‘ Braves ’

Nolasco likely for Saturday

After completing a series of fielding and running drills on Thursday, Ricky Nolasco said he expected to return to the Marlins rotation on Saturday at Atlanta.

Manager Edwin Rodriguez agreed.

The last hurdle before the team officially announces their intentions is to see if Nolasco has any swelling in his right knee on Friday.

Nolasco has a torn medial meniscus in his knee. Once the condition was detected last Saturday, Nolasco was scratched from his scheduled Sunday (Aug. 22) start at home against the Astros.

If he is ready for Saturday, it means he will miss just one start.

Nolasco is 14-8 with a 4.22 ERA.

Rodriguez said the team will monitor him closely, but that Nolasco would not be on a pitch count limit. Because the Marlins are unsure how long Nolasco will be able to pitch, Andrew Miller is being held as a backup option to throw multiple innings on Saturday.

If possible, Nolasco would like to stay in the rotation for the rest of the season. But he noted if he had any setbacks, he will shut things down.

After talking about his situation with three or four doctors, Nolasco said he became more encouraged that he could pitch through the ailment.

Nolasco added that he may have been pitching with the tear without even noticing it. He anticipates having surgery after the season. Recovery time for the procedure is three to four weeks.   

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

Uggla keeps slugging away

Home runs, Dan Uggla likes to say, come in bunches.

They certainly have for the Marlins second baseman. Leading off the second inning on Tuesday, Uggla belted a solo shot off Roy Halladay.

Halladay, of course, threw a perfect game on May 29 at Sun Life Stadium, The Phillies right-hander retired the side in order in the first inning, meaning he had retired 30 straight in Miami before Uggla’s homer.

For Uggla, it was his eighth home run in the last 11 games. The hot streak began on July 23 against the Braves, and on July 27 at San Francisco, he enjoyed a two-homer day.

Last Saturday at San Diego,Uggla’s homer was the 144th of his career, making him the Marlins all-time home run leader. Mike Lowell previously held the mark with 143.

Uggla now has 145 homers in his career, and 24 on the season. He is on pace to top 30 homers for the fourth straight season.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Celebration gone sour

A simple jump for joy has landed Chris Coghlan on the disabled list for the first time in his big league career.

coghlaninjury.jpgThe Marlins 25-year-old left fielder was placed on the 15-day DL following Monday night’s win at San Francisco with a torn meniscus in his left knee. If surgery is required, Coghlan will be out six to eight weeks. So being lost for the remainder of the season is possible, but that has yet to be determined.

The frustration of the injury stems from the fact it occurred during a postgame celebration. After Wes Helms’ walk-off RBI single in the 11th inning beat the Braves on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium, Helms was doing a postgame TV interview on the field.

As has become a tradition of late, the hero of the game gets a good-natured shaving cream pie to the face. Coghlan made a high leap in the air to get Helms, and he went landed, he hurt his knee.

“As I jumped, I landed on my knee wrong, and that’s how I got injured,” Coghlan said. “Surgery is a possibility. We haven’t gone that path yet.”

The Marlins won four games during their homestand in walk-off fashion. They were so common that the team had a can of shaving cream ready in the storage room behind the dugout. In the room is a batting tee and players commonly go there to get ready for at-bats.

“It’s just one of those freak things,” Helms said. “You kind of take it hard. I know he does for it to happen that way. It’s one of those things, where you’re kind of like in the wrong place at the wrong time. It just happened. I don’t think it even sunk in to everybody yet.”

The 2009 NL Rookie of the Year, Coghlan is one of the most respected and liked players on the team. Since he broke into the big leagues a year ago, Helms has taken him under his wing.

Coghlan and outfielder Brett Carroll, who is now in Triple-A New Orleans, began calling Helms, “Uncle Wes” because he is a veteran leader on a young squad.

It’s not the first time Coghlan has gotten Helms with shaving cream to the face. After a walk-off win in ’09, Coghlan and Carroll each shared the honors in a postgame celebration.

After Coghlan’s injury, manager Edwin Rodriguez addressed the team, saying that post-game pie celebrations are now off limits.

“He’s a very important part of this team,” pitcher Ricky Nolasco said of Coghlan. “All you can do is hope for a speedy recovery. It’s just unfortunate that something like that happens after your spirits are so high after a game. It’s just real unfortunate.”

Coghlan hopes his injury serves as a lesson to other players.

“We need to be a little bit more aware,” Coghlan said. “This is a game of emotions. There is nothing wrong with that. You just need to be a little smarter when you celebrate.

“I’ve been very blessed to not go on the DL before or not have too many injuries in my life. That’s why this is humbling. I’ve played through things. I’ve always prided myself on going out there and continuing to play, and help the team win, if I can play. But this is something I can’t play on.”

As satisfying as it is to win in dramatic fashion, the Marlins are now braced to be without a key player for at least a couple of weeks, and likely longer.

“If you look back at it, you’re glad you had the celebration, but you wish it could have been different,” Helms said.

– Joe Frisaro

(photo courtesy of Robert Vigon/Florida Marlins)

Hanley back, Stanton stays back

Hanley Ramirez is back in the lineup after resting a tight right groin. But prospect Mike Stanton was held back in Jupiter with a sore left elbow.

Stanton was initially scheduled to travel to Lake Buena Vista on Tuesday to face the Braves. Had he gone, two of the top three prospects in the game would have been together. Atlanta’s Jason Heyward is regarded as the No. 1 prospect, with Stanton ranked No. 3.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Stanton is a little sore after his four at-bat performance on Monday against the Twins. The slugger had a two-run homer, and struck out three times.

Ramirez, meanwhile, was in the starting lineup against the Braves.

In other injury news, Cameron Maybin is running the bases on Tuesday in Jupiter. If he doesn’t feel any discomfort, he could be back in the lineup on Wednesday. Maybin has been out since March 7 with a strained left groin.

Jorge Cantu, out since Sunday with flu-like symptoms, stayed in Jupiter on Tuesday. He is feeling better and may be in the lineup on Wednesday.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Stanton, Heyward set for Tuesday

It’s not by coincidence that the Marlins are bringing Mike Stanton to Lake Buena Vista instead of Viera on Tuesday.

There is intrigue to see two of the top three prospects in the big leagues on the same day. So the Marlins are bringing their young phenom to face the Braves, who feature one of the brightest young talents the game has seen in years, Jason Heyward.

stanton3a4.jpgThe Marlins have a split-squad day on Tuesday. Half the club is facing the Braves, while the other is taking on the Nationals.

According to MLB.com’s Top 50 Prospects, compiled by Jonathan Mayo, Heyward is the No. 1 prospect in the game, while Stanton ranks third. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals is second.

Both Stanton and Heyward are 20-years-old. Both were taken in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, and both play right field. A difference is Heyward bats left-handed, while Stanton hits from the right side.

Stanton has been the talk of Marlins camp, showing flashes of his power potential. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound former high school football, baseball and basketball star, connected on his third Grapefruit League home run on Monday. Stanton lifted an opposite field shot off Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano.

All three of his blasts have been off big league pitchers. He also had an opposite-field liner off Bobby Parnell of the Mets, and a monster drive to left off Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez says he frequently jokes with Stanton about Heyward.

“I say, ‘Hey, you’re the No. 3 prospect. Heyward is the No. 1 prospect in the Minor Leagues,’ ” Gonzalez said. “Early in camp, we were kind of taking it easy with Stanton because of his shoulder. I said, ‘Heyward played again today.’ “

Gonzalez says he hasn’t ruled out keeping Stanton on the Opening Day roster. However, the odds are pretty strong that he will open in Double-A Jacksonville, and remain there at least a couple of months. A realistic callup date is about June 1. Don’t discount the fact that the longer Stanton remains in the Minor Leagues, he prolongs starting his arbitration clock.

However, if he is tearing it up in the Minor Leagues, and there is a need on the big league club, the Marlins wouldn’t rule out an earlier promotion.

What’s impressed Gonzalez most about Stanton is his character.

“When you’re dealing with young players, they have a tendency not to be focused,” Gonzalez said. “To me, the way he has handled himself, he came in here trying to take someone’s job. He didn’t come here to just get looked at. This guy came in here looking to get someone’s job.”

First base coach Dave Collins is so impressed by Stanton, he told Gonzalez: “This guy may hit 25 homers and drive in 90 just trying to figure it out in the big leagues.”

According to Gonzalez, Stanton’s makeup is “off the charts.”

In 2007, the Marlins actually had a chance to select Heyward. If they hadd, they could have had both of the young sluggers.

Heyward was the 14th overall pick, and Stanton was picked in the second round. With the 12th pick, Florida went with third baseman Matt Dominguez.

So what happened in 2007?

Even though the possibility existed to take Heyward, the reality is he may not have been an option, after all.

There were a couple of issues with Heyward at the time. Word around the league was the McDonough, Ga., native badly wanted to sign with the Braves, and wouldn’t sign with anyone else. The feeling was if another team picked him, he would opt for college. So signability was a concern.

From a technical, playing standpoint, there were some minor concerns about Heyward’s swing.

Heyward ended up signing for $1.7 million, which was for above the slot for that year. Dominguez, meanwhile, signed for $1.8 million.

Looking on it now, Stanton was a bargain. His bonus was $475,000.

– Joe Frisaro

(Photo courtesy of Denis Bancroft/Florida Marlins)

 

Stanton fan of Heyward

In size and stature, they are similar.

One difference is Mike Stanton bats right-handed and Jason Heyward hits from the left side.

stanton2a.JPG“We’re the same size. People have said we’re the mirror image, because he bats lefty,” Stanton said. “We have the same attributes. Then again, we’re two different people.”

Another common bond the two right fielders share is they rank among the best prospects in baseball. Heyward rates first and Stanton third in MLB.com’s Top 50 prospect rankings by Jonathan Mayo.

“We are in the same Draft,” Stanton said.

The two 20-year-old phenoms are rising rapidly in their respective systems. Heyward is challenging for the Braves right field job, while Stanton has progressed to Double-A Jacksonville in Florida’s system.

heyward.jpgThe Braves picked Heyward with the 14th overall pick in 2007, while Stanton was a second round choice (76th overall) by Florida in the same class.

Stanton stands 6-foot-5, 230, compared to Heyward at 6-4, 220. The two project to be future big league superstars.

Their paths also have crossed in the Minor Leagues.

“We’ve had a few All-Star Games together,” Stanton said. “We played in the Futures Game, and played against each other a few times. He’s a great athlete. A great player. He deserves the No. 1 spot. He’s going to have a great future.”

The Marlins have made it clear that they don’t plan on rushing Stanton’s development.

Because he is just 20, and he hasn’t had a full season at Double-A, he may wind up spending the entire season in Jacksonville. Then again, if the slugger shows he is ready for the leap to the big leagues, don’t be surprised if Stanton gets called up, perhaps as early as the All-Star Break.

– Joe Frisaro

Gload heading to Phillies

Add left-handed bat off the bench to the Marlins’ needs.

Late Tuesday night, veteran Ross Gload agreed to terms on a two-year contract with the Phillies.

A free agent, the 33-year-old first baseman was an effective pinch-hitter and spot starter in his lone season with the Marlins. Gload had 21 pinch-hits and 15 pinch-hit RBIs, both Marlins records for a season.

The left-handed hitting Gload was also a strong defensive first baseman, and he can also play both corner outfield spots.

In 125 games, Gload batted .261 with six home runs and 30 RBIs. He even was an emergency pitcher on May 22, tossing one scoreless inning against Tampa Bay.

The Marlins acquired Gload and cash from the Royals on April 1 for a player to be named, who became right-hand prospect Eric Basurto.

Gload broke in with the Cubs in 2000, and he also played for the Rockies and White Sox.

In Philadelphia, the likely will fill the pinch-hit role that Matt Stairs held.

The Marlins had a two-year, $1.9 million offer on the table for Gload, who also attracted interest from the Braves.

In early November, the Marlins turned down a $2.6 million club option on Gload, making him a free agent.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Anibal Sanchez to start

For the first time since June 2, Anibal Sanchez will be making a big league start.

After the Marlins suffered a 4-1 loss to the Astros on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park, the team announced Sanchez will take the mound on Friday against the Braves at Turner Field.

Sanchez will be reinstated off the disabled list on Friday, and he will pitch in the series opener. Atlanta is going with Javier Vazquez.

Right-hander Cristhian Martinez, who threw 2 2/3 innings of perfect relief on Thursday, was optioned to Double-A Jacksonville.

Sanchez has been on the DL since June 3 with a right shoulder sprain.

For most of the season, Sanchez’s shoulder hasn’t been quite right. He has made seven big league starts, and he’s 1-4 with a 5.55 ERA.

On June 2 against the Brewers, he threw three innings before aggravating his shoulder. He walked off the mound that day clearly frustrated.

The same shoulder required surgery in June 2007.

Sanchez made two rehab assignment starts for Double-A Jacksonville. He last pitched on Monday, working 3 1/3 innings while throwing 45 pitches.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins considering Smoltz

As expected, John Smoltz was released by the Red Sox on Monday afternoon. Once he clears unconditional waivers on Wednesday, the 42-year-old right-hander will become a free agent.

Strong indications are the Marlins are interested in Smoltz to be a starter in their rotation. It is believed that about six teams are weighing the prospect of signing Smoltz. The Cardinals, Dodgers, Rangers and Astros also have been mentioned.

The Red Sox designated Smoltz for assignment on Aug. 7. With Boston, the veteran was 2-5 with an 8.33 ERA.

In 20 years with the Braves, Smoltz won 210 games and had 154 saves.

The Marlins are looking for bullpen depth, but it appears they are interested in Smoltz to start.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Smoltz-Marlins update

The Marlins are looking for pitching help, and John Smoltz is exploring new job opportunities.

Whether the two sides come together remains a long-shot at this point. But that doesn’t mean the organization isn’t considering the prospect of adding the veteran right-hander, who was designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Aug. 7.

If he is not traded before 2 p.m. ET on Monday, Smoltz becomes a free agent. If the Marlins swing a deal for Smoltz, they’d be looking at picking up the remainder of his salary. The daily breakdown would be about $35,000, unless the Red Sox agree to pick up a large bulk of the remaining contract.

According to a source, teams believed to have interest in Smoltz are the Marlins, Cardinals, Dodgers and Rangers.

The 42-year-old right-hander could be open to either starting or pitching out of the bullpen. The Marlins have a need for both.

Smoltz last pitched on Aug. 6 in the Red Sox’s loss to the Yankees. He threw 3 1/3 innings that day, giving up eight runs while walking four. He was 2-5 with an 8.33 ERA in eight starts for Boston.

In his stellar career, which started in Atlanta in 1988, Smoltz has a 212-152 record with a 3.32 ERA. He also has 154 saves.

In Atlanta, he worked closely with Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez, who formerly was the Braves third base coach.

“I think he’s a tremendous competitor and a good guy,” Gonzalez said of Smoltz, noting that he couldn’t say anything regarding the Marlins possibily acquiring the veteran.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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