Results tagged ‘ Josh Willingham ’

Bonifacio performing in Winter Ball

When Spring Training opens, touted prospect Matt Dominguez will be given every opportunity to win the Marlins’ starting third base job.

But the 21-year-old, who hasn’t played above Double-A, will have some competition.

Emilio Bonifacio likely will see a great deal of time at third base when Spring Training opens.

Since he was acquired from the Nationals for Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham after the 2008 season, the Marlins have regarded Bonifacio as an every day player. One of the fastest players in the league, the Marlins would like to maximize his game-changing speed and above average defense.

But the 25-year-old has yet to show the consistency at the plate to be a regular. Bonifacio spent time at Triple-A New Orleans, and he appeared in 73 games with the Marlins, playing six different positions — second base, third base, shortstop, center field, left field and right field.

In 2009, he opened the season as Florida’s regular third baseman, and he played the position in 86 games that year.

During the offseason, Bonifacio has been playing Winter League ball for Licey in the Dominican Republic. He’s been seeing steady time at third base. In 33 games, he’s batting .271 with a .344 on-base percentage.

A switch-hitter, Bonifacio continues to post better numbers from the left side, where he is batting .296 with a .350 on-base percentage, compared to a .222 average with a .333 on-base percentage from the right-side.

If Dominguez doesn’t win the job, there is another scenario that could play out. Bonifacio could go to second base, a more natural position for him, and Omar Infante could slide over to third base.

Infante will enter Spring Training as the starting second baseman, but Florida’s defense may shape up better with him at third and Bonifacio at second. That’s if Dominguez doesn’t claimed the third base spot.

– Joe Frisaro
  

Stanton matches hit record

One day Mike Stanton may indeed tie the Marlins record for home runs in a game. It is three done twice, by Mike Lowell and Cody Ross.

On Wednesday night, Stanton ended up matching a team mark for hits in a game. By going 5-for-5, Stanton posted the 14th five-hit game in club history.

“It could have easily been 3-for-5,” Stanton said.

In the second inning, Stanton singled on a hard liner that was juggled by shortstop Ian Desmond. In the ninth inning, he hit the ball off the end of his bat that fluttered into right field for another single.

“I didn’t try to change anything,” Stanton said. “It was just one of those nights where everything went my way, I guess.”

Stanton is the second Marlin to have five hits and four RBIs in the same game. Gary Sheffield previously did it on Sept. 17, 1995 at the Rockies. At 20 years, 276 days old, Stanton is the second youngest player ever to register five hits and four RBIs in a game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Phil Cavarretta did it at 19 years, 33 days.

Aug. 11, 2010: Mike Stanton vs. Nationals
July 10, 2008: Hanley Ramirez vs. Dodgers
July 1, 2007: Josh Willingham vs. Braves
June 16, 2007: Miguel Olivo vs. Royals
April 28, 2007: Miguel Cabrera vs. Phillies
Sept. 11, 2006: Dan Uggla vs. Mets
Oct. 2, 2005: Juan Pierre vs. Braves
May 8, 2005: Juan Pierre vs. Rockies
April 27, 2001: Eric Owens vs. Astros
June 22, 1998: Mark Kotsay vs. Rays
Sept. 17, 1995: Gary Sheffield vs. Rockies
May 29, 1995: Terry Pendleton vs. Astros
July 24, 1994: Gary Sheffield vs. Rockies
May 3, 1994: Chuck Carr vs. Braves

– Joe Frisaro

 

 

Marlins-Nationals lineups

Strasburg vs. Nolasco.

It’s one of the best pitching matchups of the season, and it gets underway in the first game of the second half for the Marlins.

Ricky Nolasco has won four straight for the Marlins, who draw the Nationals on Friday night. Rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg, with his 100 mph fastball, takes the mound for Washington.

The lone lineup change the Marlins are making is swapping Dan Uggla with Jorge Cantu. Uggla will bat fourth, with Cantu sliding to fifth.

 

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1) Nyjer Morgan, CF

2) Cristian Guzman, 2B

3) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4) Adam Dunn, 1B

5) Josh Willingham, LF

6) Ivan Rodriguez, C

7) Roger Bernadina, RF

8) Ian Desmond, SS

9) Stephen Strasburg, P

 

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1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Jorge Cantu, 3B

6) Cody Ross, CF

7) Mike Stanton, RF

8) Ronny Paulino, C

9) Ricky Nolasco, P

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins-Nationals lineups Saturday

The Marlins and Nationals play their second of three games on Saturday afternoon at Nationals Park. Florida won 4-2 on Friday.

Josh Johnson gets the start for the Marlins, while the Nationals are going with lefty Matt Chico.

Before the game, the Marlins flipped Brett Carroll and Cody Ross in the field, not in the order. Carroll is playing right field to better take advantage of his strong arm. Ross is making his first start of the season in left field. 

 

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1) Cameron Maybin, CF

2) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Cody Ross, LF

8) Brett Carroll, RF

9) Josh Johnson, P

 

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1) Cristian Guzman, SS

2) Adam Kennedy, 2B

3) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4) Adam Dunn, 1B

5) Josh Willingham, LF

6) Willie Harris, RF

7) Roger Bernadina, CF

8) Wil Nieves, C

9) Matt Chico, P

 

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins lineup for Friday

Cody Ross, after sitting out a few games with flu-like symptoms, is back on the starting lineup on Friday in the series opener with the Nationals.

The Marlins opened their homestand dropping two of three to the Padres.

 

 

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1) Nyjer Morgan, CF

2) Adam Kennedy, 2B

3) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B

4) Adam Dunn, 1B

5) Josh Willingham, LF

6) Ivan Rodriguez, C

7) Roger Bernadina, RF

8) Ian Desmond, SS

9) Scott Olsen, P

 

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1) Cameron Maybin, CF

2) Chris Coghlan, LF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Ronny Paulino, C

7) Cody Ross, RF

8) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

9) Ricky Nolasco, P

 

– Joe Frisaro

 

Marlins-Nationals lineups

The Marlins take on the Nationals on Saturday night in the second of three games at Land Shark Stadium.
 
Here are the complete lineups
 
Nationals
 
1) Willie Harris, CF
2) Ian Desmond, SS
3) Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4) Adam Dunn, 1B
5) Josh Willingham, LF
6) Elijah Dukes, RF
7) Josh Bard, C
8) Alberto Gonzalez, 2B
9) Marco Estrada, P
 
Marlins
 
1) Chris Coghlan, LF
2) Nick Johnson, 1B
3) Hanley Ramirez, SS
4) Jorge Cantu, 3B
5) John Baker, C
6) Dan Uggla, 2B
7) Cody Ross, RF
8) Cameron Maybin, CF
9) Anibal Sanchez, P
 
Umpires
 
HP Jim Reynolds
1B Chad Fairchild
2B Bill Welke
3B Tim Welke

Marlins improving defensively

Protect the baseball was among the Marlins’ highest priorities heading into this season. A couple of trades made after the 2008 season were done to reshape the roster to add speed, athleticism and defense.

A year ago, the club was more power oriented. But first baseman Mike Jacobs was dealt to the Royals for reliever Leo Nunez, and left fielder Josh Willingham was sent to the Nationals as part of a deal that brought in third baseman Emilio Bonifacio.

“We’ve seen improvement, no doubt about it,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said.

Heading into Thursday, the Marlins were tied for 21st overall in the Major Leagues in field percentage at .982. They were joined by the Cubs, Reds, Mets and A’s.

Now, the current lineup has been slightly different than what the team drew up in Spring Training. Jorge Cantu was switched from third base last year to first base. Bonifacio, a natural second baseman, was shifted to third. Infielder Chris Coghlan was switched to left field.

The Marlins had thought the outfield would have Jeremy Hermida in left field, Cameron Maybin in center and Cody Ross in right. But Maybin struggled early and was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in May.

Ross went to center, Hermida to right, and Coghlan in left.

“The defense itself has been good,” Beinfest said.

A case in point of how the defense stepped up came in Wednesday’s 5-0 win over the Padres. Ricky Nolasco pitched 6 1/3 strong innings, striking out 10. The defense came up big on a couple of occasions and the offense scratched out some runs.

“Again, this is not rocket science,” Beinfest said. “You get a quality start, you play good defense, you’re in the game, and you end up winning, even if the offense wasn’t going crazy. It worked out.

“We’ve seen that steady improvement. I think in May, there was that little bit of everything. The pitching was struggling. The defense. I think since then, it’s steadily improved. There is still room for improvement.”

– Joe Frisaro

 

Breaking down Nolasco

When his pitch count went up, the Marlins decided on Friday to take the 26-year-old out after four innings.

A telling at-bat was a 10-pitch encounter with Washington pitcher John Lannan, who eventually grounded out to shortstop. Yet, that sequence left Nolasco at 87 pitches, which was enough in the eyes of manager Fredi Gonzalez.

On Saturday, pitching coach Mark Wiley said physically Nolasco is fine. There is no dead-arm period, which is common for pitchers at some point.

“I don’t think it’s a dead-arm period, because he’s throwing 92, 91, 93, and that’s nice for him,” Wiley said. “I’m pleased that he’s at that point. Right now, in finishing his pitches with his fastball, he’s not as good as he’s been. His location is not right.

“He can battle out of it. But his pitch count got a little bit high.”

Also in that fourth inning where Lannan tacked on 10 pitches, Josh Willingham had an eight-pitch showdown with Nolasco.

Since Nolasco faced the Nationals on Opening Day, he has seen them twice in 10 games.

“I think with Ricky, he faced the same team twice,” Wiley said. “He was trying to do too much maybe with his breaking ball. He’s fine. I think it’s just a little bit of an approach. But he’s carrying out counts a little too deep. Not that he’s not getting ahead in the count, but he’s not getting that put-away pitch like he’s used to.”

The encouraging thing about Nolasco, who will next pitch on Wednesday at Pittsburgh, is his struggles are easily correctable. For example, sometimes he would throw three straight breaking balls, with two of them crisp but maybe the third one not being.

“I think that’s just a matter of a touch-up here and there, and he will be fine,” Wiley said.

– Joe Frisaro 

 

Camping out in Port St. Lucie

Some leftovers from a busy Saturday morning:

* Manager Fredi Gonzalez said if Emilio Bonifacio makes the team, he likes the speedster in the leadoff spot.

* Matt Lindstrom will throw off the mound again on Sunday. If Lindstrom opens the year on the DL, he can be back-dated to March 27, and be eligible to play for the first time on April 11. There was some confusion on the back-date, which I reported yesterday as March 28. Instead, it is March 27.

* Alfredo Amezaga took some ground balls in the morning, his first drills since being sidelined with a left knee sprain. Infield coach Andy Fox saw Amezaga moving around and said he looked good. Amezaga is expected to miss most of the first month of the season.

* Wes Helms suffered a bruise to his left leg on Friday against the Orioles. It came on a play where right fielder Cody Ross tried throwing out a runner at first base. Helms was involved in a collision. He is fine, but was held back in Jupiter on Saturday.

* The Marlins are looking for an emergency catcher. John Baker and Ronny Paulino will handle the duties. But if a third catcher is needed, there isn’t a logical choice. The past few years, Mike Jacobs and Josh Willingham had catching experience. No one fits the bill this year. Wes Helms could be a candidate.

Left-handed throwing Cody Ross was asked in the dugout, and he said he’d try it.

– Joe Frisaro

Bonifacio turning heads

Don’t discount Emilio Bonifacio winning the starting third base spot.

It’s no coincidence that the 23-year-old has more at-bats than any Marlin thus far in Spring Training. Right now, his numbers aren’t overwhelming .250 average in 60 ABs, and a .297 on-base percentage.

But in recent weeks, he’s been hitting the ball better, and the team is giving him every chance to develop into an every day player.

There are a couple of reasons why the club would like for him to succeed: Foremost, he is a quality defender, and secondly he has the type of speed that can change a game. Then there is the fact the Marlins traded two established players — Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham — for him. So they’d like for him to be more than a reserve.

A lineup that includes Bonifacio, Cameron Maybin and Hanley Ramirez is something the team thinks can cause havoc to opposing pitchers.

If Bonifacio is at third, Jorge Cantu will move to first base. Wes Helms would back up both spots.

– Joe Frisaro

 

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