Results tagged ‘ Jose Veras ’

Houser designated, Veras selected

Once again, the Marlins bullpen is back to having one lefty.

Left-hander James Houser was designated for assignment on Friday afternoon, one day after he made his Major League debut in Baltimore.

Houser threw 1 1/3 innings, giving up three runs with one hit batter, one walk and one strikeout. He yielded a home run to Miguel Tejada.

The Marlins had promoted Houser from Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday.

Replacing Houser is right-handed reliever Jose Veras, who had his contract selected from New Orleans on Friday.

Veras rejoins the Marlins for the second time this season. The veteran right-hander was a non-roster invitee in Spring Training, and he was on Florida’s Opening Day roster. However, he appeared in four games, and gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings with four walks and six strikeouts.

Veras appeared in 24 games at New Orleans, and he was 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA. In 29 1/3 innings, he struck out 37 and walked 15.

Taylor Tankersley is the lone lefty in Florida’s bullpen.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Bullpen options for Baltimore

For the Marlins to get back over .500 and into realistic playoff contention, they need to solidify their bullpen.

There are more unanswered questions, even after Josh Johnson’s brilliant eight-inning start on Sunday in a 4-1 win over the Rays.

When Johnson is on the mound, the bullpen pretty much gets a day off. Only closer Leo Nunez was used to polish up the ninth inning for his 15th save in 18 chances.

After the game, the Marlins announced they had designated Jorge Sosa for assignment and optioned Jay Buente to Triple-A New Orleans.

The club has yet to announce which two relievers would be getting called up for their series at Baltimore, which begins on Tuesday.

Burke Badenhop doesn’t appear to be one of them. Badenhop opened the season with the Marlins, but was optioned to Triple-A last month. Jose Veras, who is not on the 40-man roster, also was on the Opening Day roster before being designated for assignment in April.

If the Marlins stay with pitchers on their 40-man roster, there is a candidate to keep an eye on. Jose Ceda, the 23-year-old who was acquired from the Cubs for Kevin Gregg after the 2008 season.

Now, Ceda missed all of 2009 with a shoulder injury. He was in Spring Training this season for a little while with the big league club.

Ceda is working his way back into shape at low Class A Greensboro, where he has thrown eight innings with five strikeouts and one walk. His ERA is 4.50, but three of the four runs he allowed came on June 5.

If Ceda doesn’t get the call as soon as Tuesday, he is a promising hard-thrower who likely will make his big league debut sometime this season. Ceda threw 30 innings at Double-A Tennessee in the Cubs system in 2008.

He remains a possibility to help the bullpen in the near future.

Veras, meanwhile, has appeared in 23 games at New Orleans. He’s struck out 35 and walked 15 in 28 1/3 innings. Veras pitched a scoreless inning on Sunday, striking out three, but walking two.

With Sosa designated for assignment, Veras could be added to the 40-man and active roster for Tuesday, if the team goes with him.

Kris Harvey, at Class A Jupiter, and Brett Sinkbeil, at Triple-A New Orleans, are other right-handed relievers who are on the 40-man roster. They may be in the mix, if not immediately then something this year.

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins outright Veras

Joe Veras, who was designated for assignment on April 14, cleared waivers and he was outrighted to Triple-A New Orleans on Friday.

The move means the veteran right-hander remains in the organization.

veras2.jpg“We’ll see him some time again this year,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Veras made the Marlins Opening Day roster, and he initially was in a late innings setup role.

But he struggled throwing strikes, and after four appearances, his ERA was 15.43, although he had a win. Veras allowed eight runs in 4 2/3 innings, and he struck out five while walking four.

“Sometimes it is just about getting people out,” Gonzalez said.

In Spring Training, Veras was throwing hard, showing a 96 mph fastball.

“We liked his velocity and movement,” Gonzalez said. “I’m glad he cleared waivers. We’ll see him again.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins make roster moves

The Marlins have made their first roster moves since the start of the season.

Infielder Emilio Bonifacio was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, while reliever Jose Veras was designated for assignment.

The Marlins recalled right-hander Chris Leroux from Triple-A to fill in Veras’ spot in the bullpen. Outfielder Brett Carroll was activated off the 15-day disabled list.

Bonifacio was serving as a super utility player, but he is projected to be an every day second baseman. Now he goes to New Orleans, where he can play every day.

Carroll had been on the DL with a strained left oblique. He spent the past few days playing in rehab assignment games for Class A Jupiter.

– 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

 

Final roster spots appear set

Nothing has been announced yet, but look for Brian Barden, Mike Lamb, Clay Hensley and Jose Veras to be the non-roster invitees to make the team.

Barden appears to have won the final bench spot. Lamb will be the primary lefty bat off the bench.

Cody Ross hasn’t ruled out playing on Opening Day. Ross may play in a Minor League game in the next day or so.

Bryan Petersen is being reassigned to Minor League camp.

Non-roster invitees Hector Luna and Donnie Murphy didn’t make the team.

The final roster, for now, seems to be:

C – John Baker, Ronny Paulino

1B – Gaby Sanchez

2B – Dan Uggla

SS – Hanley Ramirez

3B – Jorge Cantu

LF – Chris Coghlan

CF – Cameron Maybin

RF – Cody Ross

Bench – Mike Lamb, Wes Helms, Brian Barden, Emilio Bonifacio

Starting pitchers – Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Nate Robertson

Bullpen – Leo Nunez, Renyel Pinto, Dan Meyer, Brian Sanches, Jose Veras, Burke Badenhop, Clay Hensley

DL – Brett Carroll

Carroll strained his left oblique, and he will go on the DL retroactive to March 26. The earliest he can be activiated is April 10. Carroll will remain in Jupiter when the team heads to Jacksonville for Friday.

Carroll took some swings on Wednesday off the tee. He again will do some light hitting on Thursday. He says he is making progress. The plan is for him to play for Class A Jupiter in their home opener on April 8.

If Ross isn’t ready for Opening Day, Emilio Bonifacio is a possibility to play right field. Boni started in right field on Thursday in the Marlins final Grapefruit League game.

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

Speculating on final roster

For weeks, Marlins coaches and officials have been evaluating. Now, the time is getting close to make the tough final decisions and set the 25-man roster.

Opening Day is a week away (April 5 at the Mets), and there are still some unanswered questions.

On Monday, the Marlins did settle who will be the starting first baseman. As expected, Gaby Sanchez was given the nod when Logan Morrison was reassigned to Minor League camp. Morrison will start off at Triple-A New Orleans. Don’t discount the 22-year-old making an impact at some point during the season. A year ago, Chris Coghlan was in Triple-A until May, and he went on to become the N.L. Rookie of the Year.

The rotation also has come together, with Clay Hensley securing the fifth spot.

Still to be resolved are at least one bench player, as well as a bullpen spot.

Over the past few days, Marlins personnel evaluators have been in Jupiter, consulting and meeting. Final moves can happen any day now.

While nothing has been officially announced, for recreational purposes, here is a look at how the 25-man roster may shake down. There are a few factors that will come into play, like how players fit into the 40-man roster. Currently, nine non-roster invitees are still in camp.

Again, this is for conversational purposes only, and not an officially announced 25-man squad.

Catchers: John Baker, Ronny Paulino

Infielders: Gaby Sanchez, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, Jorge Cantu, Wes Helms, Brian Barden, Mike Lamb

Outfielders: Chris Coghlan, Cameron Maybin, Cody Ross, Emilio Bonifacio

Starting pitchers: Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Clay Hensley

Bullpen: Leo Nunez (closer), Brian Sanchez, Jose Veras, Burke Badenhop, Tim Wood, Renyel Pinto, Dan Meyer

On this projected roster, there are four non-roster invitees who will have to be added to the 40-man roster — Hensley, Lamb, Barden and Veras. Currently, there are 37 on the 40-man. So that means, if they all make it, one current 40-man player would be removed.

The Marlins did clear a 40-man spot when pitcher Hayden Penn was claimed off waivers by the Pirates on Monday.

Barden, Donnie Murphy and Hector Luna are are vying for a utility position. All three are non-roster invitees. Murphy has impressed several other teams who have been watching him in camp. But Barden may secure the job. Working in Barden’s favor is his ability to play shortstop defensively at a high level. Of all the players in camp, Barden appears to be the best insurance policy to Ramirez. Barden also can play left field.

Bonifacio, of course, is a natural middle infielder. For now, it looks like he will be used in a super utility role previously held by Alfredo Amezaga.

The Marlins appear to be leaning toward not carrying a primary backup outfielder. Bryan Petersen, a highly regarded prospect, has impressed. But he likely will be in Triple-A.

The Marlins don’t have the need for a regular outfield backup because the starters — Coghlan, Maybin and Ross — won’t be replaced for defensive purposes. Now, if there is an injury situation, the team would likely make a move to call up an outfielder. Brett Carroll, who will open the season on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, is an option once he is healthy. Jai Miller, Scott Cousins and Petersen (if he doesn’t make the team) are other choices.

Barden also gives some flexibility if the Marlins slide Cantu over to first base in the late innings. The Marlins could go with Barden or Helms at third, or use them as pinch-hitters. Lamb is expected to be the lefty bat off the bench.

Gaby Sanchez adds value in the fact he could be the emergency third catcher. This is important because it means either Baker or Paulino — the catcher who doesn’t start — could be used as a pinch-hitter.

The bullpen battles have been tightly contested all spring. Seth McClung, a non-roster invitee, has more big league experience than Wood. McClung alsohas a clause that allows him to opt out of his contract on April 1. Not being on the 40-man roster may work against McClung and for Wood.

If Wood makes the team, he would be a middle relief candidate. The hard-throwing right-hander has been impressive in camp, and his slider has improved.

Badenhop is a long relief, and spot starter candidate. He’s had a solid spring. Veras has been throwing 95 mph all spring, and he has big league experience in a setup role.

Much can still change in the next few days. But the picture of how the team may look is becoming a bit more clear.

– Joe Frisaro
 

Odds and ends for Sunday

Some interesting items to digest after meeting with manager Fredi Gonzalez on Sunday morning.

* The manager pointed out that Gaby Sanchez, who has caught in the Minor Leagues, gives flexibility as an emergency third catcher.

Stopping short of declaring Sanchez as the starting first baseman, Gonzalez noted that if Sanchez is an emergency third catcher option, it frees up the team to use either John Baker or Ronny Paulino as a pinch-hitter.

* The Marlins feel their final bullpen slot will be filled from pitchers who are in camp. Recently, Gonzalez declared Leo Nunez, Dan Meyer, Renyel Pinto, Brian Sanches, Burke Badenhop and Jose Veras as frontrunners to make the squad. That leaves one spot open. If the Marlins take another long reliever, Rick VandenHurk is an option. Otherwise, Seth McClung, Scott Strickland and Tim Wood are choices.

* The projected bench is — backup catcher, Wes Helms, Emilio Bonifacio, Brian Barden and Mike Lamb, who also has caught in his career.

* Cody Ross on Sunday was the DH in a Minor League game for the second straight day. Ross had a good day, going 2-for-4 with a double and home run. The double was off Scott Strickland in the intrasquad scrimmage. The homer was off Jeff Allison. Ross is expected to play six innings in the outfield of a Minor League game.

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

MacDougal released, Jones optioned

Struggling to throw strikes this spring, the Marlins on Tuesday morning cut ties with veteran reliever Mike MacDougal.

The hard-throwing right-hander was released on Tuesday morning, after appearing in five Grapefruit League games for Florida. In his most recent outing, on Sunday against the Nationals, MacDougal worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up three runs while walking three.

In 4 2/3 innings of Grapefruit League play, MacDougal walked seven and struck out two.

The Marlins on Tuesday also optioned lefty Hunter Jones to Triple-A New Orleans. with Jones out of camp, Florida’s lefty reliever situation is cleared up. Renyel Pinto and Dan Meyer — both out of options — are projected to be the situational left-handers.

MacDougal signed a Minor League contract with Florida a couple of days before Spring Training began. Last year, he split time between the White Sox and Nationals. With Washington, he had 20 saves in 21 chances. But after the season he had surgery on his left hip.

MacDougal has been at his best when his fastball is in the upper 90s. On Sunday, it reached as high as 94 once, but for most of Spring Training it’s been clocked about 91-92 mph. Command has been an issue with the right-hander in the past.

Even with his 20 saves last year, he walked 31 and struck out 31 with the Nationals.

Because MacDougal has closing experience, he had been considered a candidate who could fill in at closer if Leo Nunez struggled or was injured.

Nunez is firmly established as the closer. But in case of an emergency, candidates to close would be Brian Sanches, Jose Veras, Meyer and Seth McClung, if he makes the team.

Veras and McClung are signed to Minor League deals. Both have clauses to opt out on April 1 if they don’t feel they are part of Florida’s plans.

– 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

  

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