Results tagged ‘ Fredi Gonzalez ’

Getting Hanley on track

Many players would take a .288 batting average and .395 on-base percentage.

Hanley Ramirez isn’t like most players.

hanley-ramirez2q.jpgThe Marlins slugger is in a bit of a slide — by his standards, at least.

Through 19 games, Ramirez has one home run, six RBIs and nine runs scored. He has now gone five straight games without driving in a run, and with runners in scoring position this season, his average is .176.

After the Marlins lost 8-4 to the Rockies at Coors Field on Sunday, Ramirez noted that it is early. And he is absolutely right.There is no reason to think the 26-year-old won’t get hot, and drastically raise his batting average. We’ve seen it since he was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2006. Last season, of course, he was the NL batting champ with a .342 average, to go along with 106 RBIs. With runners in scoring position a year ago, he batted .373.

“Don’t worry about me. Just worry about the team. I’ll be fine. No worries,” Ramirez said Sunday night. “It’s early. We just have to keep winning. We had a couple of tough losses in Houston and here.

“We’ve got to keep competing the whole game. Our starting rotation has been doing a little bit better, and they’re going to get better. They’ve been going deep into the game.”

The Marlins went 4-5 on the road trip after taking two of three at Philadelphia. In the six games at Houston and Colorado, Ramirez was 4-for-22. When you count the final game in Philadelphia, he is 4-for-26. 

Quite simply, the numbers are very un-Hanleylike.

“It’s early. It’s not September or August,” Ramirez said. “Nothing like that. I’m not worried about that.”

Manager Fredi Gonzalez noted that the Marlins are 10-9 and they are above .500 without the offense clicking. Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla have been the hottest hitters all season. The others have been inconsistent.

“That’s happening to all the teams,” Ramirez said. “All 30 teams. Not nine guys in the lineup are going to be hot. Some guys are going to be cold, and some guys are going to get hot. We’ve got to try to go forward and get out of it.

“If everybody would be hot, we’d be 19-0. No worries for me. I know myself. I know what I can do.”

As long as he’s healthy, and he is, there is enough history on his side to suggest he will get red hot in a hurry. 

— Joe Frisaro



Showing faith in the pen

Leo Nunez didn’t have to do much of a sales job to get an opportunity to close on Thursday.

Shortly before the Marlins faced the Mets in their series finale in New York, Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire checked with Nunez.

leonunez1aa.jpg“I’m ok,” Nunez said. “I can go.”

The message was relayed to manager Fredi Gonzalez. It’s all he needed to hear to throw his closer back into action a day after he threw 40 pitches on Wednesday night.

If there was any signs of fatigued based on 40 pitches in 1 1/3 pitches the night before, Nunez didn’t show it. Instead, he neede 10 pitches (with seven strikes) to collected his first save of the season.

Gonzalez says he doesn’t talk to his pitchers about their well being because he doesn’t always get a straight answer. So he leaves that to St. Claire.

“I don’t talk to those pitchers,” Gonzalez said. “Randy and them have a good rapport. I hope they’re honest with Randy. When I come up, they say, ‘I feel good.’ “

The bullpen had a rough time on Wednesday, especially Renyel Pinto and Jose Veras. Gonzalez says when a players struggles, he tries to throw them back in as soon as possible to build back their confidence.

“I’m a big believer in putting guys in positions where they can succeed,” Gonzalez said. “I’m a believer in run those guys out there, and build their confidence. We can sit here and talk about how much confidence we have in that bullpen, but you have to show it. Those guys, the Pintos, the Verases, get ready to pitch, because you’re going to be used.”

— Joe Frisaro


J.J. making Saturday start

The Super Saturdays Concert Series starts up on Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium. The singer Nelly will be the headliner post game.

During the game, the Marlins will be sending out their ace, Josh Johnson.

JoshJohnsonawe.jpgThere had been some uncertainty as to when J.J. would next pitch. The 26-year-old suffered the loss in Monday’s 7-1 opener with the Mets.

Because of Tuesday’s off day, the Marlins were playing it safe before determining who would take the mound on Saturday against the Dodgers. Johnson threw 99 pitches in five plus innings on Monday at Citi Field.

He gave up four runs on five hits. He says he has worked on a minor mechanical change in his delivery, and he is feeling better.

Johnson has had a busy week in New York. On Tuesday morning, he was a guest on the “Today Show,” representing the People “All-Stars Among Us” program.

The Marlins now will start Johnson on Saturday, and go with Anibal Sanchez on Sunday in Miami. Sanchez is available to pitch out of the bullpen on Wednesday. If he isn’t used at New York, then he will throw off the mound before Thursday’s game.

— Joe Frisaro


Robertson starting Thursday

Looking to get Nate Robertson into the rotation earlier, the Marlins made the move on Sunday to start the left-hander on Thursday in Game 3 of the season. Robertson will face the Mets in New York, instead of throwing on Saturday as originally slated.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez made the announcement on Sunday. Anibal Sanchez, who was lined up to pitch on Thursday, now becomes the fifth starter. Sanchez will start either on Saturday or Sunday at home against the Dodgers.

Chances are it will be Sunday.

Josh Johnson, the Opening Day starter, probably will pitch on his normal fifth day. The Marlins have flexibility with Saturday’s start because they are off on Tuesday. The off day means Johnson could pitch in two of the team’s first five games.

Robertson is the lone lefty in the Marlins rotation, and he will split up the four right-handers.

— Joe Frisaro

McClung released

The Marlins bullpen situation is almost figured out.

On Tuesday, veteran Seth McClung, who was in camp on a Minor League deal, was released.

The move narrows down the final bullpen spot to either Tim Wood or Rick VandenHurk, according to manager Fredi Gonzalez.

The last bench reserve spot is between Brian Barden, Donnie Murphy or Hector Luna.

— Joe Frisaro


J.J. may throw on Wednesday

Josh Johnson is still battling a stomach virus — or flu-like symptoms.

Yet, the Marlins ace is feeling better, and plans are being made to keep him on pace to start on Opening Day against the Mets on April 5 at Citi Field.

Johnson is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday, and if he makes his start on Wednesday against the Mets, he will throw on Opening Day.

Johnson was scratched on Friday due to the stomach virus.

Even though he will face the Mets again on Opening Day, the Marlins rather have Johnson see the Mets in a Grapefruit League game instead of throwing in a Minor League game.

Johnson came to camp late Saturday morning, and he threw off flat ground for about five minutes. The right-hander headed for home before the Marlins played the Cardinals.

If Johnson is not ready to pitch on Opening Day, Ricky Nolasco would get the nod.

— Joe Frisaro


Lates on Lowell, rumors

All of his credentials speak for themselves.

Mike Lowell is a three-time All-Star, a two-time World Series champion, a World Series MVP. But is the 36-year-old a fit for the Marlins?

The question was raised again on Thursday when the Marlins visited the Red Sox at City of Palms Park.

mike-lowell-rounds.jpgAs popular a move it would be to bring back Lowell, there continues to be strong indications that there is minimal Marlins interest, at best.

In fact, the interest is said to be “barely above zero.”

In recent weeks, there has been speculation about the Marlins showing interest in acquiring Lowell in a trade. A scout from Florida recently watched him work out.

“I know it’s a feel good story,” Lowell said on Thursday. “But they’re rumors. That’s about it.”

Miami-raised, Lowell is one of the most popular players in Marlins history. He is Florida’s all-time home run leader with 143.

Lowell was a Marlin from 1999-2005, and he was a key member of the Marlins 2003 World Series title team.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez was Florida’s third base coach in 1999, Lowell’s first year in the big leagues.

“For me, he was always one of those guys who only needed an opportunity,” Gonzalez said. “He came to the right place to get that opportunity. If he had stayed with the Yankees, he might now even have gotten that opportunity. The Marlins gave him an opportunity to play.”

Lowell was drafted in the 20th round by the Yankees in 1995.

“He’d be a good addition for any ball club, including the Red Sox,” Gonzalez said.

Health-wise, Lowell says: “I feel good. Better than last year.”

A career third baseman, Lowell has been taking ground balls at first base. He may have to make the switch to prolong his career.

— Joe Frisaro


Stanton sent to Minors

Mike Stanton showed flashes of why so many feel he will be a future star.

But the 20-year-old outfielder, in the Marlins’ eyes, will need more seasoning. So on Wednesday, Stanton was re-assigned to Minor League camp.

Stanton is expected to open in Double-A Jacksonville.

“We sent him down, but he will let us know when he’s ready,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “It’s a matter of getting him more at-bats.”

— Joe Frisaro

Bullpen shaping up

Perhaps there is just one bullpen spot left to fill at Marlins camp.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez shed some light on some of the relievers who are moving closer to winning spots on the Opening Day roster.

pinto4a.JPGThe Marlins anticipate carrying 12 relievers, and Leo Nunez is locked in as the closer. The team anticipates carrying two lefties. They are expected to be Renyel Pinto and Dan Meyer. Both are out of options.

Also strong possibilities to make the team are right-handers Brian Sanches and Jose Veras, in camp on a Minor League contract. Burke Badenhop is a frontrunner to be the long reliever.

“This can change,” said Gonzalez, noting that other candidates may pop across the waiver wire.

If these five hold true, there will be one reliever spot open.

Candidates include Mike MacDougal, Seth McClung, Tim Wood, Chris Leroux and Scott Strickland. 

The team may also decide to keep someone like Clay Hensley, who is in the mix for a rotation spot. If Hensley isn’t in the rotation, he could be an option in relief. The same would hold true for Rick VandenHurk and Hayden Penn, who are currently being used as starters.

— Joe Frisaro


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