Results tagged ‘ Fredi Gonzalez ’

Baker stays back in Jupiter

Feeling a little soreness in his throwing arm, catcher John Baker didn’t make the trip to Port St. Lucie on Friday.

Baker remained in Jupiter.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Baker likely will get Saturday off, when the Marlins face the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

Baker was supposed to start on Friday against the Mets. Instead, Brett Hayes made the start. Chris Volstad got the starting nod for Florida.

On Saturday, Ronny Paulino will start with Josh Johnson on the mound.

— Joe Frisaro


Recap from Thursday

The opening of their Grapefruit League season was an eventful one for the Marlins.

On a chilly 61-degree afternoon, the Marlins defeated the Nationals, 10-4, at Roger Dean Stadium.

anibal3aa.jpgAnibal Sanchez pitched two innings, giving up one run, while throwing 41 pitches. A radar gun reading had the 26-year-old right-hander topping out at 90 mph. For this time of year, before pitchers build up more arm strength, that’s pretty good.

A native of Maracay, Venezuela, Sanchez grew up playing in extremely hot conditions. A typical day would be pitching in 98 or more degree weather.

Thursday’s chilly conditions reminded Sanchez of when he pitched in Portland, Maine, in the Red Sox system in 2005.

“In ’05, I pitched in Portland, Maine,” Sanchez said. “Cold. We made it to the finals, and it was really cold.”

These chilly days may end up helping the Marlins prepare for their first series of the season. Florida opens at the Mets in Citi Field on April 5.

Trip to Port St. Lucie:  On Friday, the Marlins face the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Not making the trip will be Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. Some of the players who are traveling are Chris Coghlan, Jorge Cantu, John Baker, Cameron Maybin, Jorge Jimenez, Matt Dominguez, Bryan Petersen and Mike Stanton.

High on Jimenez: Manager Fredi Gonzalez repeated on Thursday what he’s said for a while, Jimenez could make the club as the regular third baseman, if he surprises in Spring Training. The Rule 5 pickup, was obtained by the Marlins in December to complete the Matt Lindstrom trade to Houston.

If Jimenez shows he can hit, and no winner emerges in the first base competition between Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez, the Marlins may use another option. In that scenario, Cantu would flip back to first base, and Jimenez could go to third.

“Who knows, Jimenez might win the job, we have that kind of flexibility,” Gonzalez said. “Let’s not put it out of the realm of possibility. If he plays well, we could put him at third and Jorge at first. It fits.”

Maybin’s area for improvement:  Asked to rate Cameron Maybin’s defense, Gonzalez said: “Average.”

Noting that Maybin is not a finished product, Gonzalez says the 22-year-old needs more work on his throwing and getting better reads on fly balls.

“Right now, his breaks on balls, he catches up because of his speed,” Gonzalez said. “You want him to be able to read balls, and then the speed is there. For example, [Brett] Carroll and Cody Ross not as fast as Maybin, but they’re pretty fundamentally sound, and they get [good] breaks and reads on balls.”

Odds and ends:  Donnie Murphy had two hits and four RBIs in Thursday’s win. Bryan Petersen went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. The Marlins were held hitless through three innings before Petersen opened the fourth with a homer. … During his start against the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday, Ricky Nolasco’s fastball reached 91 mph. He mainly in the 88-90 range, normal for now. … Outfield prospect Jai Miller is someone to keep an eye on as Spring Training progresses. He has upside and terrific athletic ability.

— Joe Frisaro





Gearing up for games

Game action will get underway at Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday when the Marlins face the University of Miami.

On Monday, the Marlins got a feel for playing in the big stadium.

During morning workouts, players went through infield and outfield drills, as well as live batting practice.

anibal1a.JPGMostly the regulars were on the main field, while the rest of the 63 in big league camp were on the back fields of the complex in Jupiter, Fla.

On the big field, Anibal Sanchez threw live BP to a group that included Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu.

Looking sharp, Sanchez threw about 30 pitches. One of them jammed Hanley, who stung his right hand on a swing. After shaking it off, Ramirez resumed hitting.

Hayden Penn and Brian Sanches also threw off the mound at Roger Dean Stadium. One close call occurred when Sanches accidentally brushed Cantu back. The two jokingly talked to each other, and later gave each other a big hug.

During practice, catcher John Baker was wearing a microphone for MLB Productions, which had a crew at the workouts. The footage being taken will air at a later date, with some of it mixed into MLB Network reports.

Being miked prompted Baker to receive his share of jokes from his teammates.

“I really do cherish the relationship I have with these players,” Baker said. “It’s a lot of fun to sometimes get a hard time because you’re wearing a microphone.”

When games begin, the Marlins plan on playing by N.L. rules. So they will let their pitchers hit in all Spring Training games except for when they are the visiting team in A.L. parks. Then they will use the designated hitter.

anibal2a.JPG“The pitchers will hit,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’re going to play National League rules. I’m just worrying about our own guys.”

If another team wants to use the DH at Roger Dean Stadium, Gonzalez says they can do so.

On Tuesday, the Marlins will have a lighter day of workouts before they start playing games on Wednesday.

“Let’s get the games going,” Gonzalez said. “After four or five days of pitchers batting practice, you’re looking forward to games. I think the hitters are itching to get going, and so are the pitchers.”

The University of Miami will be hitting with metal bats. Gonzalez said he’s sure some Marlins will want to hit with the metal bats in batting practice, to see how far the ball travels.

Ricky Nolasco will start for the Marlins against UM. Nolasco last faced hitters with metal bats when he was in high school.

When Miguel Cabrera was with the Marlins a few years ago, Gonzalez recalls the slugger taking BP with a metal bat. Some of the balls, traveled on top of the Marlins office building, located behind the left field wall.

— Joe Frisaro


Early Spring rotation set

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez on Saturday set his early Grapefruit League rotation.

The team opens its exhibition season on Wednesday against the University of Miami. Ricky Nolasco will start that game, and Ryan Tucker will enter in relief. John Baker will catch.

Florida’s Grapefruit League season begins on Thursday against the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium. Anibal Sanchez will take the mound that game, and he will be backed by Rick VandenHurk.

On Friday, against the Mets at Port St. Lucie, Chris Volstad will get the nod, followed by Hayden Penn.

Josh Johnson, who will be the Opening Day starter, will make his Grapefruit League debut on March 6 against the Cardinals. Clay Hensley will follow.

On March 7 against the Cardinals, Sean West will get the start. Andrew Miller also will pitch in that game.

The first time around, the starters will pitch about two innings, or 35 total pitches.

Nolasco will make his first Grapefruit League start on March 8 in a split squad game against the Nationals in Viera. Tucker will face the Mets that day in Jupiter.

Early on, Baker and Ronny Paulino will alternate at catcher.

The Marlins have yet to solidify their rotation for the regular season. There is open competition for three spots. Only Johnson and Nolasco are locked into the rotation.

The candidates who are starting off first will flip-flop in their next scheduled appearances. For instance, while, Sanchez is starting on Thursday, and VandenHurk will enter in relief, the next time around, VandenHurk will start the following week, with Sanchez coming in relief. The same holds true for the games that Volstad and West will start.

— Joe Frisaro


Gearing up for UM

On Thursday, manager Fredi Gonzalez announced the Marlins would start Ricky Nolasco on March 3 against the University of Miami.

On Friday, Gonzalez shed some light on who else would be in the starting lineup. Gaby Sanchez, who attended UM, will start at first base. Sanchez is competing with Logan Morrison for the first base job.

nolasco1.JPGThe Marlins basically will start the lineup that finished up the 2009 season: John Baker (catcher), Dan Uggla (second base), Hanley Ramirez (shortstop), Jorge Cantu (third base), Chris Coghlan (left field), Cameron Maybin (center field) and Cody Ross (right field).

The regulars will get about two at-bats at Roger Dean Stadium.

The Marlins open their Grapefruit League schedule on March 4 at Roger Dean Stadium against the Nationals.

The team hasn’t announced who will be the starting pitcher.

During the Grapefruit League season, the Marlins plan on batting their pitchers instead of using the designated hitter, which they have traditionally done in early Spring Training games. The reason? Because a number o the Marlins young starting pitchers haven’t had many at-bats in either their Minor League or big league careers.

The team will use the DH when playing in American League parks. But when they play A.L. teams at home, the pitchers will bat.

— Joe Frisaro


Nolasco to face UM

After a week of workouts and drills, the Marlins will be ready to see some game action soon.

On Wednesday, March 3, the club opens its exhibition season with a contest against the University of Miami. Start time is 3:05 p.m. ET at Roger Dean Stadium.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez announced Ricky Nolasco will make the start against the Hurricanes.

The Marlins open their Grapefruit League play on March 4, also in Jupiter. They will face the Nationals at 1:05 p.m.

Tickets are available at

— Joe Frisaro


Marlins owner optimistic about '10

Attending the Marlins first full-squad workout on Wednesday was team owner Jeffrey Loria, who is upbeat about the 2010 season.

After finishing in second place a year ago, Loria says the playoffs are the goal. The organization feels the pieces are in place to play into October.

“I will say that we’re working off 87 wins last year, and I expect us to make the playoffs,” he said.”Whatever it takes to make the playoffs.”

The Marlins retained the nucleus of the squad from the past few years. Continuity is crucial.

“We’ve brought the core of this team back,” Loria said. “They’re well positioned to make the playoffs. We’ve got all the ammunition that we need.”

Among the topics the owner addressed were:

* Reaching the postseason for the first time since 2003, when the franchise won the World Series.

“I am hungry to win,” Loria said. “The only way to win was to do that [keep continuity]. We’re heading towards our new ballpark [in 2012], and I wanted to see us be more successful than we were the last few years. We should have been one of eight last year. I was disappointed at the end of the season. That’s all I will say about that. We have the ability to do it now.”

* The status of manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose job status came in question after the ’09 season. There were reports that the Marlins were interested in bringing in Bobby Valentine.

“I don’t even want to comment on that,” Loria said. “I know a thousand people. I talk to lots of people everywhere and if people blew things out of proportion, I can’t control that.”

* Continuity within the club, including players, coaches and manager.

“Fredi is the manager. Fredi is here. This is his fourth season. Fredi is here to bring the team to the next level.That’s what we’re hoping happens this year. We’ve love to see that this year, obviously.”

* The new ballpark in Little Havana.

“I was down there yesterday, and I couldn’t have been more excited or overwhelmed, or more impressed with how the building is coming,” Loria said.

“It will be something super special, beyond what you can imagine. What you see on paper. That’s been my commitment, going forward, from Day One here. I wanted to see this stadium done. That’s been all I’ve really wanted to see, along with winning teams, and hopefully winning a championship this year. As we go towards that goal of opening on 2012, we are building with the core of these player. We’ll see down the road what we need to add to it. But it’s going to be something that South Florida is going to be proud of.”

— Joe Frisaro



Hanley-Jeter breakdown

They are All-Star shortstops who each wear No. 2.

Derek Jeter, the captain of the defending World Series champion Yankees, is regarded as the standard at his position. Based on his overall numbers and five rings, it is easy to see why.

Still, when discussing the best shortstops in the game, don’t discount Florida’s Hanley Ramirez. The 26-year-old is the defending N.L. batting champion, coming off a .342 season. He’s won two straight Silver Slugger Awards. Manager Fredi Gonzalez quipped to Ramirez, “I was telling him, hey, ‘We’ve got enough silver, we’ve got to get gold this year.” Ramirez hopes to reach Gold Glove status in the field. He committed 10 errors in 2009 after racking up 22 in ’08.

Across the board, Ramirez stands above the rest at his position. He has speed, power, hits for average and he is one of the best baserunners in the game.

If scoring runs and stealing bases are qualifications for being a great base runner, then Hanley (nicknamed H2R) stands alone.

According to Elias, since 2006, Hanley’s rookie season, the Marlins shortstop is the only player in baseball to rank in the top five in runs scored and stolen bases.

Here are the stolen base leaders over that span:

* Jose Reyes, 209
* Carl Crawford, 193
* Juan Pierre, 192
* Chone Figgins, 169
* Hanley Ramirez, 164

The top run scorers since 2006:

* Hanley Ramirez, 470
* Chase Utley, 460
* Albert Pujols, 442
* Jimmy Rollins, 442
* Matt Holliday, 440

“I don’t think there is anything he can’t do on a baseball field,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez says of his two-time All-Star shortstop. “He’s got good instincts on the bases. The speed is still there. He goes from first-to-home. That’s when I like to see him run, when he goes first-to-third, or first-to-home on a double. That’s when you see his athleticism.”

The days of Ramirez stealing 50 bases may be over, because he is batting third now.

“You don’t want to beat up that body too much,” Gonzalez said. “But I think he’s a guy who can still run you 30. It’s when you steal them. I’ve seen guys with 50, stealing third with two outs, swiping a base that is really meaningless.”

Since his rookie season, Hanley’s numbers certainly hold up when next to Jeter.

From 2006-09, Ramirez has compiled: 470 runs, 771 hits, 170 doubles, 22 triples, 103 HRs, 313 RBIs, 164 stolen bases, .316 BA, .387 OBP, .531 slug, .918 OPS.

Jeter from 2006-09 posted: 415 runs, 811 hits, 130 doubles, 11 triples, 55 HRs, 305 RBIs, 90 stolen bases, .325 BA, .394 OBP, .453 Slug, .847 OPS.

In his first four big league seasons, from 1996-99, Jeter turned in these figures: 481 runs, 795 hits, 118 doubles, 30 triples, 63 HRs, 334 RBIs, 86 stolen bases, .319 BA, .391 OBP, .467 slg, .858 OPS.

Jeter’s obvious edge … five rings.

— Joe Frisaro

Full-squad workouts set

Since Saturday, Marlins pitchers and catchers have stolen the show.

Beginning on Wednesday, they will have company. The first full-squad workouts get underway between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. on the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium.

On Tuesday, a number of regulars already were fielding ground balls.

Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and Jorge Cantu were among the regulars on Tuesday taking infield practice. Outfielders Cody Ross, Brett Carroll, Cameron Maybin and Mike Stanton were among the position players in camp.

“I don’t think introductions will even be needed tomorrow,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Everybody has been here a while.

“We get it going tomorrow with live BP. That’s always fun.”

Workouts are open free to the public. Pitchers will be throwing to hitters during the day.

The Marlins right now don’t have any scrimmages scheduled, but the team is kicking around the idea of having one next Tuesday, March 2. Spring games get underway on March 3 against the University of Miami in Jupiter.

— Joe Frisaro

Mission to Iraq

Before Spring Training gets underway in February, several members of the Marlins organization will be headed overseas.

Doing their part to meet and support the troops, a Marlins contingent will be headed to Iraq and possibly Kuwait at the end of the month.

Chris Coghlan, catcher John Baker and manager Fredi Gonzalez are scheduled to make the visit to Iraq. A representative from the organization, and few of the Marlins Mermaids also will be on the week-long trip.

A few weeks back, the Marlins took the intiative to do their part in offering support to the military. The organization approached the State Department, and final details are being put into place.

Coghlan’s brother, Kevin, is a corporal in the United States Marines. So the trip is taking on special meaning for the 2009 N.L. Rookie of the Year.

Gonzalez is an avid supporter of the military. In December, the Marlins manager attended the Army-Navy football game with his son, Alex.

— Joe Frisaro