Results tagged ‘ Mets ’

Avoiding tipping his hand

Spring Training is a time to work on things, make corrections and prepare for the regular season.

For Leo Nunez, it’s also time to figure out something glaring he has been doing wrong.

leo-nunez-46-2009-mlb-florida-marlins.jpgA couple of days ago in Fort Myers, pitching coach Randy St. Claire pointed out that the Marlins closer has been tipping his pitches. Basically, but his glove positioning, Nunez was telegraphing when he would throw his fastball and changeup.

In looking at video from this spring and last year, it seems Nunez had been getting into this habit.

“It’s something I’m working on every day,” Nunez said. “For my changeup, I’m a little bit here [by his belt]. And my fastball, I’m a little here [glove closer to his face]. I have to do everything the same.”

St. Claire picked up on something being possibly wrong on March 11, when the Marlins faced the Cardinals. Entering in a save situation, Nunez gave up five runs (three earned) in two-thirds of an inning.

“I have to do everything the same, with my changeup, fastball and slider,” Nunez said. “I’m working every day.”

In terms of how he is throwing the ball, Nunez is doing fine. His fastball is gaining life, and his changeup is considered an “out pitch.” He says his slider is also coming along.

“Every day I’m working on my slider,” he said. “Every day it is getting better.”

Nunez has made six appearances in Spring Training, and he’s lined up for a few more outings, including working a two-inning stint before Opening Day on April 5 against the Mets in New York.

— Joe Frisaro


Sim Game in the Rain

They started off throwing in a light drizzle. About 30 minutes later, when the conditions worsened under a steady rain, they were shut down.

Bottom line for Clay Hensley and Andrew Miller is they both got their work in on a day that didn’t seem possible.

hensley23ag.jpgWith the Marlins having their lone off day of Spring Training, Hensley and Miller were scheduled to pitch. Initially, they were called in on Monday to throw in a scrimmage on Field 2 of the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

Because of the rain, the scrimmage didn’t take place, and instead, the two threw to batters in a simulated game that lasted about 30 minutes. Batters were hitting under a cage, and the two pitchers dealt with messy conditions. There weren’t any fielders.

Hensley, a non-roster invitee, continues to improve his chances of winning a rotation spot. In three innings — including a four-out inning due to a low pitch count — he didn’t allow a run. Of his 32 pitches, 18 were for strikes.

On a couple of occasions the right-hander slipped after throwing a pitch. A sinker-ball pitcher, Hensley induced nine groundballs out of the 11 batters he faced. He struck out two. His fastball topped out at 88 mph, and he was mainly throwing in the 85-86 mph range. Velocity isn’t a major issue with him, as long as his sinker is breaking downward, which it has all camp.

“He commands all his pitches,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He’s putting himself into position where he can fill a role easy.”

The Marlins are looking for two remaining rotation spots. Miller and Hensley are candidates, along with Chris Volstad, Rick VandenHurk and Hayden Penn.

Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco have been named the Nos. 1 and 2 starters, and Anibal Sanchez is regarded as the No. 3 starter, although that hasn’t been announced. Volstad is a frontrunner to be the No. 4 starter.

Gonzalez added that Hensley, if he is not in the rotation, could still win a bullpen spot.

The left-handed Miller threw 43 pitches with 23 strikes, and he had four strikeouts and two walks in the sim game.

Miller’s velocity was 92-93 mph in wet conditions on Monday.

When they were done throwing on the field, Miller and Hensley threw some more pitches under a covered bullpen. 

Either Henlsey or Miller could start on Saturday against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

Johnson, meanwhile, will face the Mets on Friday at Roger Dean Stadium. Because Johnson will pitch against New York on the April 5 opener at Citi Field, the team doesn’t want to showcase him too much to the Mets before Opening Day.

The way Johnson’s rotation schedule is shaping up, however, he was in face them on Friday and on March 31 at Port St. Lucie.

Gonzalez said on Monday that Johnson will not face the Mets twice to close out Spring Training. But he will see them once, on Friday in Jupiter. On March 31, Johnson most likely will throw in a Minor League game.

Typically, in their last Spring Training appearance, starting pitchers have their pitch count scaled back to about three innings. Johnson threw 80 pitches on Sunday against the Nationals. He could go to about 100 pitches on Friday.

— Joe Frisaro


Weighing early rotation

A scheduled off day on April 6 gives the Marlins some rotation flexibility entering the season. As of now, the team is weighing how to set up its pitchers.

joshjohnson-532x778.jpgAn option the team has is to come back with Josh Johnson on Saturday, April 10 against the Dodgers, or to use whoever is the fifth starter on that day.

Johnson will pitch in the April 5 opener against the Mets. Because of the off day, Johnson could pitch the first and fifth games.

“We haven’t decided what to do yet,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

The Marlins have yet to set their five-man rotation. The only other pitcher officially announced is Ricky Nolasco, who will pitch in the second game on April 7.

Most likely, Anibal Sanchez will be the No. 3 starter, throwing on April 8 at New York.

The Marlins will have their Opening Night at Sun Life Stadium on April 9, with the Dodgers in town for a 7:10 p.m. ET start.

If Johnson stays on his regular five-day schedule, he would pitch the first Super Saturday concert series home game. If the Marlins opt to use their fifth starter on April 10, then Johnson would throw on Sunday, April 11.

Because the Marlins platoon their catchers, Ronny Paulino is expected to catch on Opening Day. The Mets will be throwing lefty Johan Santana.

— Joe Frisaro


Mets lineup for Thursday

The Marlins and Mets are playing a 7:05 p.m. ET Grapefruit League gam on Thursday night at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.






1) Angel Pagan, CF

2) Luis Castillo, 2B

3) David Wright, 3B

4) Mike Jacobs, 1B

5) Jason Bay, LF

6) Jeff Francoeur, RF

7) Alex Cora, SS

8) Henry Blanco, C

9) Oliver Perez, P








1) Jai Miller, LF

2) Cameron Maybin, CF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

4) Jorge Cantu, 3B

5) Dan Uggla, 2B

6) Cody Ross, RF

7) Ronny Paulino, C

8) Gaby Sanchez, 1B

9) Ricky Nolasco, P

— Joe Frisaro


Stanton stands out in scrimmage

Whether he is on the main field or a back field, Mike Stanton is makig an impact.

The heralded Marlins prospect had yet another impressive performance on Sunday. This time, it was on Field 2 of the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

stanton4a.jpgIn a B Game against the Mets, Stanton went 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs. The slugger ripped an RBI double to right-center in the first inning off lefty Pedro Feliciano. He also walked, but was picked off first.

The Marlins won, 7-0.

In his third plate appearance, he stepped up with the bases loaded. The Mets were throwing R.A. Dickey, who throws a knuckleball.

On a 2-2 offering, Stanton delivered a two-run single.

“You’ve got to put the ball in play,” Stanton said. “There are no excuses if you don’t put the ball in play, regardless if he is a knuckleball pitcher or he’s throwing 120. You’ve got to.”

Stanton, 20, says he has faced a knuckleball thrower before. It was last year at Double-A.

“You just have got to be patient,” Stanton said when facing a ball that is fluttering at him.

In his final at-bat, he struck out. But overall, it was another strong performance for the right fielder, who is making a case to make the team.

The Marlins are weighing whether Stanton is ready to make the big league leap. Most likely, he will open again in Double-A. But the way he’s performing, it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets called up before the All-Star Break.

Vinny Rottino connected on a solo home run.

— Joe Frisaro

(Photo courtesy Denis Bancroft/Florida Marlins)



Lineups vs. Mets on Sunday

The Mets are sending Johan Santana to the mound on Sunday at Roger Dean Stadium, while the Marlins are countering with Anibal Sanchez. The game is set for 1:05 p.m. ET.






1) Gary Matthews Jr., CF

2) Luis Castillo, 2B

santana-720353.jpg3) David Wright, 3B

4) Jason Bay, LF

5) Daniel Murphy, 1B

6) Jeff Francoeur, RF

7) Alex Cora, SS

8) Omir Santos, C

9) Johan Santana, P







1) Chris Coghlan, LF

2) Bryan Petersen, CF

3) Hanley Ramirez, SS

anibal-sanchez_392.jpg4) Dan Uggla, 2B

5) Wes Helms, 3B

6) Logan Morrison, 1B

7) Jai Miller, RF

8) Brad Davis, C

9) Anibal Sanchez, P

— Joe Frisaro


B Game before The Game

Fans headed to Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday will get a chance to see Johan Santana take the mound against fellow Venezuelan Anibal Sanchez.

Before the Marlins and Mets play their Grapefruit League game in Jupiter, there will be some game action on Field 2 at the stadium complex.

The Marlins and Mets have scheduled a B Game scrimmage beginning at 10 a.m.

It will mark the second straight day the Marlins will play a B Game before their regularly scheduled contest, which will start at 1:05 p.m. ET.

On Saturday morning in Sarasota, the Marlins and Orioles played a B Game. The seven-inning contest was before the Marlins faced the Rays in Port Charlotte.

— Joe Frisaro


Baker resting sore forearm

John Baker’s sore forearm is keeping him out of game action for at least a few games.

The Marlins catcher didn’t make the trip to Port St. Lucie on Friday, and on Saturday manager Fredi Gonzalez said a possible return to game action could come in the middle of next week.

“We’ll give him a couple of days. It’s just a tight forearm,” Gonzalez said. “We’ll give him a couple of days of no throw. He should be fine.”

Baker was scheduled to start against the Mets on Friday, but Brett Hayes got the call instead.

On Saturday, Ronny Paulino was in the lineup to catch Josh Johnson in a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

— Joe Frisaro


Maybe the middle of the week, for games.


Baker stays back in Jupiter

Feeling a little soreness in his throwing arm, catcher John Baker didn’t make the trip to Port St. Lucie on Friday.

Baker remained in Jupiter.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Baker likely will get Saturday off, when the Marlins face the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.

Baker was supposed to start on Friday against the Mets. Instead, Brett Hayes made the start. Chris Volstad got the starting nod for Florida.

On Saturday, Ronny Paulino will start with Josh Johnson on the mound.

— Joe Frisaro


Recap from Thursday

The opening of their Grapefruit League season was an eventful one for the Marlins.

On a chilly 61-degree afternoon, the Marlins defeated the Nationals, 10-4, at Roger Dean Stadium.

anibal3aa.jpgAnibal Sanchez pitched two innings, giving up one run, while throwing 41 pitches. A radar gun reading had the 26-year-old right-hander topping out at 90 mph. For this time of year, before pitchers build up more arm strength, that’s pretty good.

A native of Maracay, Venezuela, Sanchez grew up playing in extremely hot conditions. A typical day would be pitching in 98 or more degree weather.

Thursday’s chilly conditions reminded Sanchez of when he pitched in Portland, Maine, in the Red Sox system in 2005.

“In ’05, I pitched in Portland, Maine,” Sanchez said. “Cold. We made it to the finals, and it was really cold.”

These chilly days may end up helping the Marlins prepare for their first series of the season. Florida opens at the Mets in Citi Field on April 5.

Trip to Port St. Lucie:  On Friday, the Marlins face the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Not making the trip will be Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. Some of the players who are traveling are Chris Coghlan, Jorge Cantu, John Baker, Cameron Maybin, Jorge Jimenez, Matt Dominguez, Bryan Petersen and Mike Stanton.

High on Jimenez: Manager Fredi Gonzalez repeated on Thursday what he’s said for a while, Jimenez could make the club as the regular third baseman, if he surprises in Spring Training. The Rule 5 pickup, was obtained by the Marlins in December to complete the Matt Lindstrom trade to Houston.

If Jimenez shows he can hit, and no winner emerges in the first base competition between Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez, the Marlins may use another option. In that scenario, Cantu would flip back to first base, and Jimenez could go to third.

“Who knows, Jimenez might win the job, we have that kind of flexibility,” Gonzalez said. “Let’s not put it out of the realm of possibility. If he plays well, we could put him at third and Jorge at first. It fits.”

Maybin’s area for improvement:  Asked to rate Cameron Maybin’s defense, Gonzalez said: “Average.”

Noting that Maybin is not a finished product, Gonzalez says the 22-year-old needs more work on his throwing and getting better reads on fly balls.

“Right now, his breaks on balls, he catches up because of his speed,” Gonzalez said. “You want him to be able to read balls, and then the speed is there. For example, [Brett] Carroll and Cody Ross not as fast as Maybin, but they’re pretty fundamentally sound, and they get [good] breaks and reads on balls.”

Odds and ends:  Donnie Murphy had two hits and four RBIs in Thursday’s win. Bryan Petersen went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored. The Marlins were held hitless through three innings before Petersen opened the fourth with a homer. … During his start against the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday, Ricky Nolasco’s fastball reached 91 mph. He mainly in the 88-90 range, normal for now. … Outfield prospect Jai Miller is someone to keep an eye on as Spring Training progresses. He has upside and terrific athletic ability.

— Joe Frisaro