Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

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


Mistakes adding up

Until the ninth inning on Saturday night, the Marlins and Rays were playing a pretty competitive game.

Tampa Bay, however, blew it up open with six runs in the ninth inning. The Marlins ended up losing 10-3.

The way the Marlins lost was especially frustrating. In all, Marlins pitching walked nine, hit a batter and issued a walk. In the field, they committed three errors.

According to Elias, the last time an MLB team walked at least nine, hit a batter, recorded a balk, committed three or more errors and allowed 10 runs came in 1998. That year, the Mets did it in a 10-5 loss to the Cardinals on Aug. 21.

— Joe Frisaro

Experimenting with lineup

Tony La Russa does it, and it just might make sense for the Marlins to do it too.

To fully maximize the speed in their lineup, Florida could consider batting the pitcher eighth and Cameron Maybin ninth.

La Russa frequently has the Cardinals pitcher batting eighth.

By doing that, Maybin would have a better chance to develop his offense because he won’t have the pitcher behind him. Instead, he would have Emilio Bonifacio.

The problem, typically, for eighth hitters is they see mostly off-speed pitches because the pitcher is on deck.

The hitter most impacted would be Cody Ross, who has been batting seventh. He then would have the pitcher behind him, unless left-handed hitting Jeremy Hermida flip-flopped with Ross. Hermida has been hitting sixth.

If Maybin hits ninth, then the speed would fall in line for Florida. You’d have Bonifacio following, then John Baker and Hanley Ramirez.

It’s something to certainly think about.

In 2005, when Dontrelle Willis was a force at the plate, former manager Jack McKeon once had the D-Train hit as high as seventh.

— Joe Frisaro

Camping out Sunday

Worth noting on Sunday:

* Wes Helms and Albert Pujols avoided a nasty collision in the first inning. Helms hit a grounder to third, and the Cardinals were attempting to turn a 5-4-3 double play. But second baseman Skip Schumaker’s throw to first was off line. Pujols reached for backhand play, and Helms went airborne to avoid crashing into the All-Star first baseman. Helms actually did a good job leaping over Pujols, but in the process, his cleat caught Pujols in the head/shoulder area. For a few minutes, Pujols was tended to by the Cardinals trainers. He was fine, and continued playing.

* John Lindsey, a 32-year-old non-roster invitee, is quietly been a real professional in camp. Lindsey has been in the Minor Leagues since 1995, and he has yet to see time in the big leagues. He’s played pretty solid defensively at first base in intrasquad scrimmages and B Games. On Sunday, he took grounders at third base. “He must have read the paper and saw we had opportunity at third,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said jokingly.

* Alejandro De Aza continues to be worth watching Spring Training. If he steps up, he could once again find himself in position to make the Opening Day roster. The key for him is to stay healthy. In each of the last two seasons, he was injured either at the end of Spring Training or the beginning of the season.

* On Tuesday, the Marlins are off from Grapefruit League play, but Andrew Miller is slated to throw in an intrasquad scrimmage with Minor Leaguers. Most of the big leaguers will be given the full day off. Miller is throwing to stay on his schedule.

— Joe Frisaro

Game on the run …

Observations from the Grapefruit League opener vs. St. Louis:

* Hanley Ramirez, in his third plate appearance in the three spot, connected on a two-run homer off Francisco Samuel in the sixth inning. The homer came a half inning after he made an error at shortstop that helped the Cardinals score twice in the fifth.

* Cameron Maybin, hitting leadoff, led the game off with a single. Ramirez, batting third, walked in his first at-bat.

* After walking in a run in the first inning, and facing the bases loaded and no outs, Anibal Sanchez asked for the rosin bag. The right-hander then struck out Ryan Ludwick looking before getting Chris Duncan to tap into a 4-6-3 double play.

* Gaby Sanchez, looking to win the first base job, made an error — failing to catch Anibal Sanchez’s throw trying to nab Skip Schumaker. The error led to St. Louis taking the lead in the first inning on an unearned run.

* Cody Ross, in his new position — right field — made a nice play to throw out Khalil Greene trying to stretch a single to a double.

— Joe Frisaro

Tuesday's scrimmage update

The Marlins scrimmage on Tuesday will be on the main field at Roger Dean Stadium, and it begins at 1 p.m. ET. It is not open to the public.

The pitchers in the intrasquad scrimmage will be Ricky Nolasco for one team and Josh Johnson for the other.

On Wednesday, the Marlins open their Grapefruit League season as the visiting team with the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Florida is sending Anibal Sanchez to the mound, with Blake Hawksworth going for St. Louis.

Before that game, on Wednesday around 10 a.m. ET, on the backfield at Roger Dean Stadium, Florida will have a B Game with Italy’s World Baseball Classic team. Burke Badenhop will start for Florida.

— Joe Frisaro


Camping out Sunday

What you may have missed at camp on Sunday:

* Anibal Sanchez has been tabbed to start on Wednesday in the first Grapefruit League game. The 1:05 p.m. ET game with the Cardinals will be played at Roger Dean Stadium. Sanchez will throw two innings or around 30 pitches. Blake Hawksworth is scheduled to pitch for St. Louis.

* Sunday was photo day and the day the team signed autographs at Roger Dean Stadium.

* With scrimmages about to start, Sunday was the last day where pitchers faced hitters in live batting practice.

* Andrew Miller continues to get a lot of work as he polishes up his new delivery.

* On Monday, the first intrasquad scrimmage will take place on a backfield at Roger Dean Stadium. Sean West and Eulogio De La Cruz are the respective starters. The scrimmage will be around 10:30 a.m. ET.  

— Joe Frisaro

Play ball!!!

Games are only a few days away.

The Marlins Grapefruit League schedule gets going on Wednesday against the Cardinals. Before that 1:05 p.m. ET start at Roger Dean Stadium, the Marlins will play a scrimmage against Italy’s World Baseball Classic squad.

The scrimmage will be at 10 a.m. ET on a backfield at Roger Dean Stadium.

Fans actually can watch the Marlins play a couple of intra-squad scrimmages on Monday and Tuesday. Those games could be interesting because some of the front-line starting pitchers are set to throw. There is a good chance Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco will pitch in the scrimmages.

— Joe Frisaro