Results tagged ‘ Matt Lindstrom ’

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

Owens suspension almost up

On Saturday afternoon, the Marlins will face the Mets at Citi Field.

It will mark the 50th game of the season, an important number for right-hander Henry Owens, because it marks the last game of his suspension.

On Nov. 11, 2008, it was announced that Owens tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance in violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. 

The 30-year-old last pitched in the big leagues in 2007. He currently is pitching for Class A Jupiter, where he has made one appearance — a scoreless inning — as he builds his innings back up.

For players who were suspended 50-games before the start of the season, their earliest return date is June 1 — or Monday.

The hard-throwing right-hander won’t get a call up within the next week, but he could become a welcomed addition to the bullpen as the season progresses.

The Marlins acquired Owens and Matt Lindstrom from the Mets on Nov. 22, 2006 for Jason Vargas and Adam Bostick.

— Joe Frisaro


Bonifacio back leading off

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez gave serious thought to hitting Chris Coghlan leadoff again on Tuesday, but ultimately opted to go with Emilio Bonifacio.

So after being given Monday off, Bonifacio was back in his familiar leadoff spot, while Coghlan was slotted eighth.

“Boni’s speed is his weapon,” Gonzalez said. “You put him in the eight hole and you kind of negate that.”

The feeling is Coghlan, a pure hitter, will be able to handle batting in front of the pitcher.

Gonzalez added that Coghlan is a second option to lead off on days Bonifacio doesn’t.

Tuesday’s lineup:

1) Bonifacio, 3B

2) Hermida, RF

3) Hanley, SS

4) Cantu, 1B

5) Baker, C

6) Uggla, 2B

7) Ross, CF

8) Coghlan, LF

9) Miller, P

Gonzalez is hoping to stay away from using relievers Dan Meyer and Matt Lindstrom on Tuesday. Kiko Calero is a candidate to close if Lindstrom isn’t used.

Also of note, Baker’s right leg, below the knee, has huge scrape marks. He had the skin torn off in the area when he was thrown out sliding into home plate on Sunday against Tampa Bay.

— Joe Frisaro

Mets Manuel fined

The Marlins asked MLB to look into the delay tactic by the Mets on Wednesday, and a decision has been rendered.

MLB has fined Mets manager Jerry Manuel an undisclosed amount of money for violating the leagues “pace of game” regulations.

In the ninth inning on Wednesday at Citi Field, the Mets took a long time getting pinch-hitter Omir Santos to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. A catcher, Santos was in the bullpen, which is behind the outfield wall.

With two outs, Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom was left waiting for several minutes on the mound as Santos made his way to the plate.

Santos lifted a pop out to shortstop, and the Marlins won 4-3. Still, the delay upset the Marlins, who asked MLB to look into the matter.

There are “pace of game” rules designed to speed the game up.

The Marlins had no comment on the MLB decision.

— Joe Frisaro

Gregg offers Lindstrom advice

For two years, Kevin Gregg was a veteran presense who offered advice to Matt Lindstrom.

This season, Lindstrom has replaced Gregg as the Marlins closer. Gregg, meanwhile, is pitching for the Cubs. The two had a long conversation at Wrigley Field on Thursday.

“He’s learning on the job now,” Gregg said. “He’s got the reins full time. Obviously, he has the stuff. Now it’s just figuring out how to use his stuff, and bouncing back day-to-day. You’re not going to be perfect out there.”

Lindstrom is 5-for-7 in save chances, but his most disappointing outing came on April 24 against the Phillies. The hard-throwing Lindstrom entered in the ninth inning with Florida ahead 3-0, but he was tagged for seven runs, including a grand slam to Shane Victorino.

“When he gave up those seven runs against Philly, that’s part of the lumps you’ve got to take,” Gregg said before the Marlins faced the Cubs on Friday. “You’ve got to learn what you’re doing, and how to control it.

“That stuff happens quick. One thing, you’ve got to get out of that inning. Secondly, then you’ve got to come back the next day. The game is going to come after you right away. He bounced back, and he’s throwing well.”

While Lindstrom has logged two straight saves since he suffered that loss to the Phillies, he had to wait four days before taking the mound again. That opportunity came on Tuesday in New York, and he closed out the ninth.

“There are times when you don’t want to stew on it, but there are also times that it’s good for you,” Gregg said. “You have to know what that feeling is like, because you don’t want to do that. You don’t want to repeat that ever. But, I think that made him tougher, and realize, ‘Hey, I’ve got to attack the hitters, and go after them.’ That’s what he showed in New York.”

— Joe Frisaro


Delay prompting Marlin reaction

The delay the Mets used to get pinch-hitter Omir Santos to the plate in the ninth inning on Wednesday at Citi Field is not going away without a Marlin reaction.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez on Thursday said the organization is in the process of contacting Major League Baseball for a response on what action could have been taken by the umpires.

“We, the Marlins, will talk to Major League Baseball because it could happen to somebody else,” Gonzalez said. “Just to make them aware. I don’t know if they could do something. I don’t know if they could put a clock on it. I don’t know. To go to the extreme of striking the guy out, without him being there.”

Baseball does have “pace of the game” rules. But to the Marlins knowledge, that applies, for example, when a player is on deck and he is taking too long to get into the batter’s box. If a delay is taking too long, an umpire could start having strikes called on the batter, even if no one is in the box.

On Wednesday, Santos was being called upon to pinch-hit for Ramon Castro with two outs and the bases loaded. Santos was in the bullpen warming up pitchers, and it took him several minutes to arrive to the dugout to get ready to hit.

Meanwhile, closer Matt Lindstrom was left on the mound. The umpires tried to hurry up the action, and Lindstrom was told he could throw a few warmup pitches.

The Marlins held on to win, 4-3, when Santos lifted a routine pop that was collected by shortstop Alfredo Amezaga for the final out.

The Marlins were worried that Lindstrom was being iced on the mound.

— Joe Frisaro


Lindstrom not available Saturday

Matt Lindstrom still is the Marlins closer. But not for Saturday night.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez is staying away from using Lindstrom on Saturday because he threw 38 pitches in the ninth inning in Friday’s 7-3 loss to the Phillies.

Lindstrom was tagged for all seven runs in the ninth inning, including a grand slam to Shane Victorino and a solo shot to Chase Utley.

Because of the high pitch count, Lindstrom was given Saturday off. Still, Gonzalez says about Lindstrom, “There’s something special there.”

A closer for the first time, Lindstrom is 3-for-5 this season in save chances, and he’s converted eight of 13 in his career.

The Marlins are being patient with Lindstrom, letting him grow into the role.

“You can’t simulate that seventh inning,” Gonzalez said. “I looked it up. He’s only had 13 opportunities.”

The pressures of the ninth inning just aren’t the same as in the seventh or eighth. Gonzalez notes that starting pitchers feel the same heat while trying to get through the necessary five innings to qualify for a win.

“It’s the ninth inning for the closers and the teams, and it’s the fifth inning for the starters,” Gonzalez said. “How many times do you see the starters go out there, and all a sudden they say, ‘If I get one more hitter, I get the W?’ Then all of a sudden, it’s like base on balls, and 25 pitches later.”

Lindstrom watched some video of his performance on Friday, because he wanted to see the location of his pitches. He admitted to having a rough night of sleep.

“I’ve got to stop getting behind hitters,” Lindstrom said. “I’ve never had an inning like that. Never like that. Not even in the Minor Leagues.

“There were quite a few pitches I’d want back from last night. Pitches I threw with not a lot of conviction, just because my stuff was a little more difficult to harnass last night.”

Lindstrom said his fastball was cutting five or six pitches away from the plate.

“Then I’d have to ease one in there to throw a strike,” Lindstrom said. “That’s not going to cut it, especially when these guys are timing it, timing it and timing it.”

Leo Nunez is the strongest candidate to close, but Gonzalez said he would play matchups.


Camping out Saturday

The final day of Spring Training in a nutshell:

* Tied 1-1 with Toronto. 2:05 time of game.

* Marlins finished Spring Training with a 12-19-2 Grapefruit League record.

* Matt Lindstrom threw an inning in a Minor League game, and he will be on the Opening Day roster. The only drawback for Lindstrom, who has nursed a strained right rotator cuff, is he won’t be used in back-to-back games, at least early in the year. Lindstrom also isn’t expected to pitch more than one inning in his role as closer.

* Prospect Michael Stanton, who will be at Class A Jupiter, was 1-for-2 with a single and walk on Saturday. Matt Dominguez also got in the game. Both will be in Jupiter.

* Anibal Sanchez gave up no runs on two hits in three innings.

* Dan Uggla got in a pinch-hit. Uggla has been bothered by a tight left calf. He will be ready for Monday.

* Alfredo Amezaga, sprained left knee, did some running from first-to-third on Saturday. He also hit in the cage. He will open on the DL, and should miss seven to 10 days.

* Emilio Bonifacio finished Grapefruit League play with 86 at-bats, the most on the Marlins and one of the highest of any player in the league.

* Cameron Maybin turned 22 on Saturday.

— Joe Frisaro

Final roster set

Barring anything not on the immediate horizon, the Marlins’ 25-man roster is set.

It’s actually the exact 25 I named last night in an earlier blog.

The new developments on Friday were the roster moves to get the team down to 25,

Reliever Carlos Martinez was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, and reliever Brian Sanches was reassigned to Minor League camp.

The bad news of the night was right-hander Rick VandenHurk is going on the disabled list with right elbow discomfort. VandenHurk last pitched on March 28 against the Mets at Port St. Lucie, and he tossed a a scoreless inning of relief, walking two and striking out one.

VandenHurk missed time with the Marlins during Spring Training because he pitched for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

VandenHurk is going on the disabled list, retroactive to March 29.

The Marlins also are placing utility player Alfredo Amezaga on the disabled list with a sprained left knee. And reliever Scott Proctor will go on the disabled list with right elbow discomfort. Amezaga and Proctor are on the DL, retroactive to March 27.

Chances are Amezaga could be activated within seven to 10 days after Florida opens on Monday against the Nationals at Dolphin Stadium. The earliest he can be reinstated is April 11.

Unless some other moves are made before Monday, the contracts of infielder Andy Gonzalez and right-handed reliever Kiko Calero will be selected.

Florida will carry 13 position players and 12 pitchers.

The position players are: Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Emilio Bonifacio, John Baker, Jeremy Hermida, Cameron Maybin, Cody Ross, Wes Helms, Ross Gload, Brett Carroll, Ronny Paulino and Gonzalez.

The rotation will feature, in order, Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad, Anibal Sanchez and Andrew Miller.

Because of two early off days, Florida will go with a four-man rotation until April 15. At that point, Miller will be slotted in. Until then, Miller will pitch out of the bullpen.

The rest of the relievers will be closer Matt Lindstrom, Leo Nunez, Logan Kensing, Calero, Hayden Penn, Renyel Pinto and Dan Meyer.

— Joe Frisaro

My projected 25-man roster

Not that this is a final list, but for entertainment purposes, here is my projected 25-man roster. Keep in mind, I still think the club could make a move for a left-handed reliever, perhaps up until Opening Day or a few days into the season.

Again, this isn’t what the team has announced. That actually could come as early as Friday. For now, to play GM for a night, here is what I’m predicting of those players left in camp:

C — John Baker, Ronny Paulino
1B — Jorge Cantu, Ross Gload
2B — Dan Uggla, Andy Gonzalez
SS — Hanley Ramirez, Andy Gonzalez
3B — Emilio Bonifacio, Wes Helms
LF — Jeremy Hermida
CF — Cameron Maybin
RF — Cody Ross, Brett Carroll

Ricky Nolasco
Josh Johnson
Chris Volstad
Anibal Sanchez

Matt Lindstrom (closer)
Leo Nunez
Logan Kensing
Kiko Calero
Renyel Pinto
Dan Meyer
Andrew Miller
Hayden Penn


Alfredo Amezaga

FYI regarding Penn. Some feel the Marlins could try sneaking him through waivers. From what I hear, he wouldn’t clear, so I expect him to stay in a long relief role for a little while.


— Joe Frisaro