Results tagged ‘ Mark Wiley ’

Marlins coaching staff options

The Marlins are in the process of filling their coaching staff. Teams typically don’t make announcements during the playoffs. So after the World Series, the club is expected to make their moves official.

On Monday, the Marlins hired Randy St. Claire as their new pitching coach.

A few other positions currently are unfilled, including first base, third base and bullpen coach.  A name that has surfaced to fill a position on the staff is Jamie Quirk, who played 18 years in the big leagues. A former first-round pick of the Royals in 1972, Quirk retired as a player in 1992.

He also has coached 15 years in the big leagues. Quirk has played and coached in the World Series.

Quirk was the Rockies bench coach in 2007, the year they lost to the Red Sox in the Fall Classic. Since 2008, he’s been a scout for the Reds.

This year Quirk was the third base coach for the United States World Cup team.

As a player, he was used all over. His primary position was catcher, but he also played third base, first base and the outfield. He also very limited action at shortstop and second base.

If hired, Quirk could fill any number of positions, including working with the infielders or outfielders.

He played on the Royals 1985 World Series championship team.

St. Claire, meanwhile, is replacing Mark Wiley. After relieving Wiley of his pitching coach duties, the Marlins offered him the opportunity to remain with the organization in another capacity. Indications are Wiley will stay on with the Marlins.

Before joining the Marlins as pitching coach in 2008, Wiley was a special assistant for the Rockies, where he did a great deal of scouting.

— Joe Frisaro

Marlins pitching coach search

On the radar for the Marlins’ pitching coach position is Bryan Price.

The Marlins, however, are not alone.

“He’s on everybody’s list,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Marlins have contacted Price, who has drawn interest from a few other teams, including the Reds.

Years ago, Florida president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest worked for the Mariners when Price also was in the organization.

There also is speculation that Price may be waiting to see what Bob Melvin does. Melvin and Price are close friends, and both opened the season with the Diamondbacks. But when Melvin was dismissed as manager, Price stepped down out of loyalty.

Melvin is a candidate for the Astros managerial job.

The Marlins are in the market for a pitching coach after Mark Wiley was not retained. The team also has a bullpen coaching position open because Steve Foster turned down a contract to return.

There are a number of names on the market who are drawing attention for pitching coach jobs. Not all necessarily choices for the Marlins. But these are names within the industry that are being tossed around for a number of teams. 

Carl Willis was recently released as pitching coach of the Indians. Chuck Hernandez was athe Indians bullpen coach before being dismissed.

A name to keep an eye on is Bryan Harvey, an original Marlin, who is the pitching coach for Double-A Tulsa in the Rockies system. Harvey’s son, Kris, pitched for Florida’s Class A Jupiter squad this season.

Rick Peterson is a front-runner for the Brewers pitching coach job. He formerly was with the A’s and Mets. Peterson has also been linked to the Reds.

Dick Pole was dismissed earlier this month as the Reds pitching coach, but he is highly respected.

Another possible candidate to return as a big league pitching coach is Tom Hume, formerly with the Reds.

— Joe Frisaro

More coaching openings

The Marlins have a few more coaching vacancies.

On Friday, the team announced third base/outfield coach Bo Porter and bullpen coach are not returning for 2010.

Bench coach Carlos Tosca, hitting coach Jim Presley and bullpen coordinator Pierre Arsenault accepted contracts for next year.

The Marlins now have four coaching positions open.

Pitching coach Mark Wiley and first base/indield coach Andy Fox were not offered contracts.

— Joe Frisaro

J.J. looks to regroup

Dependable and durable have been two of the traits that have separated Josh Johnson from many starters in the National League.

The Marlins and their fans have been spoiled seeing Johnson work at least six or seven innings every time out. That’s why watching the 25-year-old ace exit after 4 1/3 innings on Thursday night at Houston was alarming.

Johnson simply had an off night against the Astros, suffering the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits with two strikeouts and a walk.

“It was funny because he warmed up really good,” pitching coach Mark Wiley said. “He was pulling his slider, and he wasn’t getting his changeup over.”

With an ineffective slider and changeup, Johnson relied more heavily on his fastball.

“There are certain teams that are really good fastball-hitting teams,” Wiley said. “When you’re not getting your off-speed pitches over for strikes enough, which J.J. didn’t yesterday, it doesn’t matter how hard you throw.

“When he’s not getting his off-speed pitches over, sometimes that leads to a little less consistency on the height and depth on his fastball. That’s pretty much happened yesterday. It’s one of those things that happens.”

Johnson, now 12-3, saw his ERA rise to 2.99. The 6-foot-7 right-hander takes the mound next on Wednesday against the Mets at Land Shark Stadium. At home, Johnson has an ERA of 2.09, and his night time ERA is 2.83.

The one thing you won’t see is Johnson dwelling on a sub-par start.

“He doesn’t change. I know he’s disappointed,” Wiley said. “But he wasn’t ballistic about it. He will get back after it and get back like Ricky did.”

The Marlins certainly hope for a rebound performance from Johnson like Ricky Nolasco recently had. Nolasco gave up a career most 10 runs on Aug. 12 to the Astros, and then recovered with a three-hit, complete game on Aug. 18 at Minute Maid Park.

— Joe Frisaro



Measuring interest in Cabrera

Daniel Cabrera’s struggles to throw strikes may ultimately shy the Marlins away from signing the right-hander, who was designated for assignment by the Nationals on Wednesday.

The Marlins are exploring whether to sign the 27-year-old. Working against him is the fact he has almost as many walks as innings pitched. With Washington, Cabrera walked 35 in 40 innings.

According to a source on Friday, Cabrera may have a difficult time landing immediately with another MLB team. There is a strong possibility that he could sign a Minor League contract, where he could work on his command first.

The Marlins Minor League pitching depth is thin, and that may be where he would fit immediately, if he is obtained by the organization.

Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley previously worked with Cabrera when the right-hander pitched for the Orioles.

Cabrera was 0-5 witha 5.85 ERA in nine games with eight starts for the Nationals.

Along with his 35 walks, he’s struck out 16. He’s also had 10 wild pitches, and two hit batters, including plunking Jorge Cantu on the back of the left hand on April 8.

— Joe Frisaro

Getting Ricky back on track

Sometimes a step backwards is all that is needed to move forward.

The Marlins are hoping that is the case with Ricky Nolasco, their Opening Day starter who was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans after Friday’s 15-2 loss to the Rays.

In nine starts, Nolasco was 2-5 with a 9.07 ERA, and he gave up eight runs in two innings against the Rays before he was optioned.

Best case scenario is Nolasco makes two starts with the Zephyrs, and he’s right back with the Marlins. Pitching coach Mark Wiley said on Saturday that’s his hope, but he noted there is no timetable.

Technically, a player optioned has to spend 10 days in the Minor Leagues before getting called back up again. That would change if there is a disabled list situation.

Nolasco will make at least two starts for New Orleans, and the Marlins have a plan of things they want him to work on while he is regaining his form. A top priority is getting the right-hander to regain command of his fastball, along with a boost in his confidence.

“I think he was putting pressure on himself to do well,” Wiley said. “He was over-throwing pitches, and kind of losing a little bit of his mechanics.”

A year ago, when Nolasco was 15-8, he was one of the top command pitchers in the National League. He attacked hitters, and worked his array of off-speed and breaking pitches off a crisp fastball.

This year, he’s been hurt with runners in scoring position. In those situations, his ERA is 16.88.

Before sending him down, the Marlins worked on just about everything imaginable to get the right-hander right. Some days he did two sessions with Wiley. His delivery was tinkered with. At times he was lifting his leg too high, and other times his elbow was dropping too low.

“Pitching is kind of a funny thing,” Wiley said. “The difference in throwing really well and really bad could just be a rhythm issue. Where you’re not trying to do too much. You’re just making quality pitches.

 “If you look throughout the history of baseball, it’s all about confidence. Confidence, performing well, and doing what you’re supposed to do. Getting comfortable within yourself, and not trying do too much. Not trying to overcompensate and overanalyze things.”

— 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