Results tagged ‘ Kiko Calero ’

Non-roster invitees announced

In the past the Marlins have had success with non-roster invitees emerging as key contributors. The list includes Jorge Cantu, Clay Hensley and Kiko Calero.

Perhaps they will strike big with some players in 2011.

On Tuesday, the Marlins annouced the signings of seven six-year free agents, who will be at Spring Training as non-roster invitees.

Signed are left-handers Darin Downs and Victor Garate. Right-hander Frank Mata also will be in camp.

Ruben Gotay, a switch-hitting infielder, is among the group who has big league experience. Tim Torres (infielder), outfielder-first baseman Josh Kroeger and outfielder Chris Lubanski also have signed.

Lubanski will be a candidate for a left-handed bat off the bench.

— Joe Frisaro


Leaning against salary arbitration

If Nick Johnson and Kiko Calero sign elsewhere in free agency, it doesn’t look like the Marlins will receive draft pick compensation in return.

The Marlins are leaning against offering arbitration to both Type B free agents. Tuesday is the deadline to extend arbitration to qualifying free agents. 

What offering arbitration would mean is if either of these players opt to sign with another club, the Marlins would receive a compensatory pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. The choice would be a compensatory one, between the first and second rounds.

Johnson, the 31-year-old first baseman, made $5.5 million in 2009. If arbitration is to be extended to him, the figure would be higher, and the Marlins won’t take the risk that the veteran would accept it.

Free agents have until Dec. 7 to decide if they will accept arbitration.

Calero was a bargain at $500,000 in 2009, but the right-handed reliever is looking at a raise to perhaps more than $2 million on the open market.

The Marlins project to have a modest payroll in 2010, remaining close to the $36 million it worked with this year.

The South Florida SunSentinel reported the payroll will rise to close to $40 million. has heard it will be about the same as in 2009, give or take a couple of million.

— Joe Frisaro


Sanches quietly delivering

Unsung no more.

Marlins reliever Brian Sanches has been a major part of a heavily-used bullpen, and he’s quietly approaching a team record.

After tossing two shutout innings on Thursday night against the Astros, Sanches ran his scoreless streak at Land Shark Stadium to 24 1/3 straight innings. That’s the third longest stretch in club history. The only strings longer are by former Florida starters. Dontrelle Willis logged 31 straight without a run in 2003, and A.J. Burnett had a run of 26 innings in 2005.

Sanches, 31, is 2-0 with that 0.00 ERA at home. Overall, his numbers are impressive — 3-0 record with a 1.01 ERA in 30 games. In 35 2/3 innings, he has struck out 34, while walking 15.

A versatile right-hander, Sanches opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans, where he had four saves. He had his contract selected on May 18, and he’s been used in setup situations as well as long relief.

The Marlins are firmly in the playoff race, and the role of the bullpen will be huge down the stretch.

“Obviously, the bullpen is a really strong part of the team,” Sanches said. “That’s what we’re looking for, to make sure guys are ready and are taking precautions, preparing their bodies for the work that is coming up.”

Through the years, the Marlins have had a knack for finding relievers with some big league experience who are looking to resurrect their careers. A year ago, Joe Nelson and Doug Waechter fit the mold. They found success with Florida before moving to other teams.

Sanches and Kiko Calero are two of the bargains this year. And Dan Meyer was claimed off waivers, providing a lefty who has stepped up after having a change of scenery.

“The organization does a very good job. They had Joe Nelson and Doug Waechter last year,” Sanches said. “They had guys like me who have been up and down in the big leagues, and they come in and produce. I think it is a reflection of their scouting, and the character of the guys.

“You also have to give credit to the staff up here, because obviously, they’re doing something to change either the mental approach or they make a physical tweak that helps them produce. That’s what I was looking for, an opportunity. What I needed was a chance. They actually approached me early in the free agent process. It helps when you’re in a situation where they want you.”

— Joe Frisaro

Calero day-to-day

In the eighth inning of Florida’s 12-3 win over Philadelphia, Marlins reliever Kiko Calero was lifted with pain in his right knee.

Appearing for the first time since Aug. 4 at Washington, Calero exited after issuing a two-out walk to Chase Utley.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez and trainer Sean Cunningham came to the mound, and the veteran right-hander was replaced without even testing the knee with a warmup pitch.

Afterwards, Calero said he feld discomfort in the muscle area above the kneecap.

“It felt weak today,” said Calero, who has appeared in 47 games this season. “On Friday, I started feeling it. But today, there were two pitches [to Utley] where my knee felt weak. I’m fine.”

Calero is listed as day-to-day.

In 2003, he had surgery to repair a torn right patella.

Gonzalez said before of his past history with the knee area, the team is being extra cautious.

Calero was on the disabled list from June 21-July 9 with right shoulder inflammation.

The Marlins were hoping to avoid using Renyel Pinto on Sunday, but the lefty replaced Calero, and he retired Ryan Howard on a fly ball to right field.

Calero has been used in a late-inning relief role. Matt Lindstrom, Brendan Donnelly, Brian Sanches and Tim Wood are right-handed setup options. Leo Nunez has been used as closer.

— Joe Frisaro



Calero back from DL

On Thursday, the transaction became official as reliever Kiko Calero was reinstated off the disabled list. The right-hander had been out since June 18 with shoulder inflammation.

Reliever Tim Wood, who was doing a nice job, was optioned back to Triple-A. Even though Wood was sent back down, the Marlins saw promise from the right-hander. He likely will get called back up in the second half.

Calero’s return helps solidify the bullpen, which is starting to shape up. The 34-year-old has appeared in 36 games, and he will help out in a setup role, either in the seventh or eighth innings.

The Marlins also recently added veteran Brendan Donnelly. More veteran relief help promises to be on the way after the All-Star Break. On June 26, the Marlins signed right-hander Scott Williamson to a Minor League deal. Williamson last pitched in the big leagues in 2007, and he’s getting himself back into shape in Jupiter.

Shortly after the All-Star Break, closer Matt Lindstrom (right elbow sprain) may be ready to return.

Luis Ayala, who also signed a Minor League contract recently, is another relief option.

The Marlins open a four-game set with the Diamondbacks on Thursday in Arizona. In the final two games at San Francisco, Florida’s bullpen worked only one inning, so they should be rested.

— Joe Frisaro


Calero on rehab assignment

Kiko Calero’s first rehab assignment appearance was an impressive one.

The Marlins right-hander tossed a scoreless inning for Class A Jupiter on Saturday night, striking out one. Calero threw 12 pitches.

On the disabled list since June 21 with right shoulder inflammation, Calero is scheduled to throw another inning for Jupiter on Monday. If that goes well, the right-hander could rejoin the team on the road at Arizona, perhaps as early as July 9.

— Joe Frisaro

Wood offered needed relief

Not to be overlooked in the Marlins’ 7-4 loss to the Pirates on Friday night were three shutdown relief innings from Tim Wood, a recent callup from Triple-A New Orleans.

“He went three innings and 36 pitches,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He was very effective with his pitches. He really saved us. He really, really saved us, picking up those three innings. And he kept us in the ball game.”

Because of a 45-minute rain delay in the bottom of the third inning, starter Chris Volstad didn’t return for the fourth inning. That meant the bullpen needed to pick up some extra innings. Two days before, long reliever Burke Badenhop, tossed 2 2/3 innings in relief of Josh Johnson on Wednesday against the Nationals.

Long relief isn’t a role that Wood normally handles. But because Badenhop wasn’t available, Wood assumed long relief duties on Friday.

It marked the most innings he’s thrown since he returned from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery to his right elbow in 2006.

“I’ve made spot starts, but I didn’t go three innings,” Wood said on Saturday.

Friday was Wood’s third MLB appearance since being brought up.

He retired the first eight batters he faced before allowing a single to Adam LaRoche followed by a walk to Garrett Jones. Wood was able to escape the jam by getting Andy LaRoche to tap a ground ball to shortstop.

Admittedly, Wood felt fatigued in his third straight inning.

“I was definitely getting tired,” he said. “I was getting winded a little bit. I was able to bear down and make some pitches.”

Wood held the score at 4-0 after six innings.

The Marlins are in need of bullpen help due to some injuries. Closer Matt Lindstrom (sprained right elbow) and Kiko Calero (right shoulder inflammation) are out.

The Marlins have come to terms with veteran reliever Luis Ayala to a Minor League contract. Ayala will get some work at Triple-A New Orleans before joining the club.

Lindstrom threw off flat ground for the second straight day, and he could be back shortly after the All-Star Break. Calero, who is scheduled to pitch in a rehab assignment game for Class A Jupiter on Saturday, may be ready to join the team late next week at Arizona.

Wood is striving to help out whenever he is called upon.

“I’m noticing that you have to throw strikes,” he said of how to achieve big league success. “You’ve got to be ahead in the count. You can’t fall behind and be in fastball counts. These guys are professional hitters. They don’t miss fastballs in fastball counts.”

— Joe Frisaro



Lindstrom throwing, Kiko close

Friday was an active day for Marlins pitchers on the disabled list.

Closer Matt Lindstrom threw off flat ground for about 10 minutes. It’s the first time the right-hander is tossing a ball since he went on the DL with a right elbow sprain on June 24.

“I felt better than I thought I was going to,” Lindstrom said. “It was coming out of my hand pretty good for being 10 days off.”

Lindstrom is scheduled to continue throwing daily. When the Marlins head to San Francisco after Sunday’s game, the right-hander expects to stay in South Florida. He expects to continue his throwing program at the team’s Roger Dean complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Lindstrom hasn’t ruled out being activated shortly after the All-Star Break.

Reliever Kiko Calero, on the disabled list since June 21, is slated to throw in rehab assignment games for Class A Jupiter on Saturday and Monday. If all goes well, Calero could rejoin the team in Arizona. The Marlins open a four-game set with the Diamondbacks on July 9.

Starter Anibal Sanchez, out with a right shoulder sprain since June 4, is slated to throw a light bullpen session on Saturday. The Marlins aren’t pushing it with Sanchez. There is no time line as to when he may be back.

Not much has changed in the status of utility man Alfredo Amezaga, who has been resting a bone bruise to his left knee since May 21.

Amezaga visited Dr. Richard Steadman in Vail, Co., on Wednesday. The diagnosis remains a bone bruise, and Amezaga has been advised to keep resting.

— Joe Frisaro


Lindstrom dealing with adversity

No one can accuse Matt Lindstrom of ducking the issues.

After he allowed four straight singles with two outs and no one on in the ninth inning on Tuesday, the Marlins closer was sitting at his locker waiting for reporters.

The hard-throwing right-hander has been a standup player from the time he joined the Marlins in 2007. Right now, he’s going through a difficult stretch.

In the month of June, Lindstrom’s ERA is 7.56 — seven earned runs in 8 1/3 innings. While the Marlins beat the Orioles, 7-6, in 12 innings on Tuesday, Lindstrom was upset at himself for not being able to record the final out in the ninth inning.

He entered with a three-run lead, but the Orioles did all their damage with two outs. Manager Fredi Gonzalez replaced Lindstrom with Brian Sanches with a runner on third. Sanches was seeking his first MLB save, but he allowed the game-tying single, setting up extra innings.

“It’s difficult to get that 27th out,” Gonzalez said. “We’re going to keep running [Lindstrom] out there.”

Having a bad outing or two is nothing new to anyone in the big leagues. On Sunday, Lindstrom faced a similar situation in a 6-5 win over the Yankees. He recorded two quick outs to New York, and then gave up two runs, before working out of the jam, stranding a runner at third.

“It’s a tough growing process, that’s for sure, especially when you get the first two outs like that,” Lindstrom said.

Typically, when a player struggles as much as Lindstrom, it makes one wonder if he is healthy. Thus far, no one has said Lindstrom is not, and his velocity was at 98 mph on Tuesday. Still, he had no command of his offspeed pitches, and threw a number of four-seam fastballs, which are less stressful to his arm. 

It doesn’t take hitters long to realize that only fastballs are coming.

Lindstrom has appeared in 32 games this year, and he’s 2-1 with a 6.52 ERA. He is 14 of 16 in save chances. He didn’t get the missed save on Tuesday, that went to Sanches.

In Spring Training, Lindstrom dealt with a rotator cuff strain at the World Baseball Classic, and he missed almost all of the preseason games.

The Marlins bullpen already is dealing with some injury issues. Kiko Calero is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. On Wednesday afternoon, he was throwing catch on flat ground with Anibal Sanchez, who is on the DL with a shoulder injury.

And Leo Nunez, a fallback closer option, has an injury concern. Nunez left Tuesday’s game after facing two batters in the eighth inning due to a sprained right ankle. He is day-to-day.

If Lindstrom is indeed feeling some discomfort, the Marlins bullpen be even more shorthanded.

A possible option in the Minor Leagues is right-hander Rick VandenHurk, who is in the rotation for Triple-A New Orleans.

— Joe Frisaro  

Lindstrom still closing … for now

It wasn’t a ringing endorsement, but it was an endorsement, just the same.

Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom was relieved with the bases loaded and two outs on Saturday night, and ultimately Leo Nunez worked out of the jam in a 5-4 win over the Giants at Land Shark Stadium.

Even though Lindstrom is 11 of 13 in save chances, and he’s recorded eight straight saves, the hard-throwing right-hander has struggled with command.

He walked two and filled the bases before handing the ball over to Nunez, who now has two saves this year.

Asked afterwards if there were a save situation on Sunday, who would get the ball? Gonzalez answered at that specific time — after 11 p.m. ET on Saturday — it likely would be Lindstrom.

Obviously, that is subject to change. And there is a catch with the question.

Gonzalez directly answered the specific question — who would close on Sunday? Well, Nunez likely won’t be available on Sunday because he’s pitched in three straight games. So that could play in Lindstrom’s favor. 

The unanswered question is: What happens if all things are equal?

Another possibility is Kiko Calero, who has been heavily used in a seventh inning setup role.

Ultimately, Gonzalez may play the matchups or who has the hot hand. The Marlins could have the makings of a committee situation.  

Lindstrom clearly has the talent to close. It’s a matter of him finding the consistency.

Gonzalez made this much clear after the game: “My responsibility as a manager is to 25 guys, and the Florida Marlins, not just one guy. We’re trying to get the win for the club.”

— Joe Frisaro