Results tagged ‘ Nationals ’

Baker to have Tommy John surgery

The injury news isn’t getting any better for the Marlins.

On Friday, catcher John Baker will undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. The procedure will be performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Baker, who hasn’t played since May, may need about a year to recover.

Also, on Thursday, infielder Donnie Murphy, who dislocated his right wrist on Wednesday night, underwent surgery.

Murphy, who started at second base in the Marlins’ 16-10 win over the Nationals, dislocated his wrist while making a catch on Ian Desmond’s short fly ball into shallow center field in the fourth inning.

Sometime next week, pitcher Ricky Nolasco will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Nolasco is out for the season.

— Joe Frisaro


Is the bad blood now over?

Now that the dust has settled, has the matter really been resolved?

The Marlins certainly hope so.

Tempers flared and fists were flying in the Marlins’ 16-10 win over the Nationals on Wednesday night at Sun Life Stadium.

Benches cleared after Nyjer Morgan charged pitcher Chris Volstad in the sixth inning. On the night, there were six ejections. MLB is expected to issue harsh suspensions and fines.

To Marlins veteran Wes Helms, what took place on Wednesday should put an end to the bad blood.

“I know it’s over for me,” Helms said. “I hope it is for these other guys.”

We’ll find out soon. The Marlins face the Nationals Sept. 10-12 at Nationals Park.

“[Wednesday night] was something we had to do,” Helms said. “But we need to be professionals and just play the rest of the season. Unless something else happens there that starts it, then we’re going to go there and just play baseball.”

Chad Tracy was one of the first players in the pile at the mound.

“You’re trying to protect your pitcher from getting hurt, because after about the first 10 seconds, it’s just bodies on top of each other anyway,” Tracy said. “You’re trying to keep yourself from getting hurt. But at the same time you’re trying to protect your pitcher. If you go in throwing blows, you’re asking for a suspension. We can’t really lose any more players right now.”

Asked if the tensions between the teams are now resolved, Tracy noted: “It should be, yeah.”

— Joe Frisaro


How JJ makes more of less

Even among power pitchers, Marlins ace Josh Johnson ranks up there with the best of him.

The 6-foot-7, 250-pound right-hander repeatedly brings the heat when he’s on the mound. His fastball, according to, is the fourth highest on average of any starter in the big leagues. The average of all JJ’s fastballs this season is 94.6 mph.

JoshJohnsonawe.jpgPure heat, however, isn’t necessarily the formula for success. Yes, being overpowering enables a pitcher to get away with more mistakes. But to be truly the best of the best, Johnson is aware that he must be better at subtraction with his off-speed pitches.

A good sign for Johnson is when his slider is in the neighborhood of 85-86 mph. The thing with Johnson is, because he throws so hard, even his slider can be 90-91 mph.

Why the benefit of the 10 mph drop in speed off his fastball? Because it is harder to hitters to time.

A case in point came in Johnson’s last start, when he beat the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on June 10. In the first inning, JJ faced runners on second and third with two outs. On a 2-2 pitch, he struck out Jayson Werth with an 85 mph slider, after he threw a 96 mph fastball for a ball.

The more Johnson learns about subtracting on his slider, the better he will be. At 26, JJ is still learning the finer points of the game.

Hitters have shown they can foul off his 91 mph slider, running up JJ’s pitch count. When he gets them to wave at 85 mph, he becomes virtually unhittable.

A big reason why Nationals sensation Stephen Strasburg is so effective is he throws an 86 mph curveball to complement a 99 mph fastball.

JJ is very skilled at adjusting during games. He is working on spinning the baseball  more to reduce velocity. A good indicator on if it is working is if you see the velocity on his slider in the 85 mph range. 

— Joe Frisaro



State of the Union speech

In a stadium that you can view the Capitol building from the upper deck, it was a fitting setting for a “State of the Union” speech.

Well, manager Fredi Gonzalez noted it was a “State of the Union” address. Basically, it was the “State of the Marlins” at this point.

Before Friday’s 4-2 win over the Nationals, the Marlins had a team meeting. Gonzalez’s message to the team was to not get too down. Florida was coming off a 3-6 homestand, including being swept by the Giants.

“He was just encouraging us and telling us, it’s not that bad,” outfielder Cody Ross said. “We were two games under. We haven’t played up to our potential. We weren’t clicking on all cylinders. We had to stay positive, and not to get down.

“Everyone knows we’ve got a tough division, and we’re playing a division team. We can make up ground.”

Gonzalez touched on not getting too emotional.

“He said, let’s play the game we know how, and try to stay away from the errors,” Ross said.

As fate had it, the Marlins snapped their losing streak with a win. Chris Volstad tossed seven strong innings.

So was it the speech that motivated the Marlins?

“I think you are making way too much of the address,” Gonzalez said. “Give the credit to Volstad. It’s not easy to face a team in back-to-back starts, and be successful like he was.”

— Joe Frisaro


MacDougal released, Jones optioned

Struggling to throw strikes this spring, the Marlins on Tuesday morning cut ties with veteran reliever Mike MacDougal.

The hard-throwing right-hander was released on Tuesday morning, after appearing in five Grapefruit League games for Florida. In his most recent outing, on Sunday against the Nationals, MacDougal worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up three runs while walking three.

In 4 2/3 innings of Grapefruit League play, MacDougal walked seven and struck out two.

The Marlins on Tuesday also optioned lefty Hunter Jones to Triple-A New Orleans. with Jones out of camp, Florida’s lefty reliever situation is cleared up. Renyel Pinto and Dan Meyer — both out of options — are projected to be the situational left-handers.

MacDougal signed a Minor League contract with Florida a couple of days before Spring Training began. Last year, he split time between the White Sox and Nationals. With Washington, he had 20 saves in 21 chances. But after the season he had surgery on his left hip.

MacDougal has been at his best when his fastball is in the upper 90s. On Sunday, it reached as high as 94 once, but for most of Spring Training it’s been clocked about 91-92 mph. Command has been an issue with the right-hander in the past.

Even with his 20 saves last year, he walked 31 and struck out 31 with the Nationals.

Because MacDougal has closing experience, he had been considered a candidate who could fill in at closer if Leo Nunez struggled or was injured.

Nunez is firmly established as the closer. But in case of an emergency, candidates to close would be Brian Sanches, Jose Veras, Meyer and Seth McClung, if he makes the team.

Veras and McClung are signed to Minor League deals. Both have clauses to opt out on April 1 if they don’t feel they are part of Florida’s plans.

— 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





Broadcast schedule begins

Marlins baseball is back, and beginning on Thursday, so are the voices of the organization.

The opening of the Grapefruit League season matches the Marlins against the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. Thursday also marks the first radio broadcast of Spring Training.

Dave Van Horne and Glenn Geffner will call the action of the 1:05 p.m. ET contest.

“It’s an exciting time for baseball, and it’s an exciting time for the Marlins,” said Van Horne, who has broadcasted MLB games for more than 40 years. “I feel very strongly that if the Marlins can get good production out of the third and fourth spots in their starting rotation that they can really do some damage in the East Division.”

dvh.jpgAfter winning 87 games a year ago, the Marlins are talking playoffs in 2010.

“They can not only contend with all the powers in the division, and even the Phillies, deemed by most peoples’ estimations the team to beat in the division,” Van Horne said. “It’s a very exciting time for the Marlins and the Marlins fans.”

In all, the Marlins flagship station, 790 The Ticket, will broadcast 15 Grapefruit League games.

“We’re back on our same keystone station, of course, 790 The Ticket, in Miami,” Van Horne said. “Glenn Geffner and I begin our third year working together on the broadcast. We have made a pact. We’ve talked about it all winter long. We have promised our listeners that we will broadcast more winning games this year than last year.”

The intimacy of Spring Training is an attraction for fans.

glenngeffner.jpg“It’s a great time for the fans because they can get close to the players,” Van Horne said. “They can get down on the field, and watch a team work out. They are close to the batting cages, the pitching mounds, and watch all these things in person that are tougher to see when the regular season begins. It’s a great time fans, but I’ve got to admit, it’s a great time for broadcasters, too.”

The Marlins opened their exhibition season with an impressive 19-3 win over the University of Miami on Wednesday.

In their Grapefruit League opener, Anibal Sanchez will get the start. Rick VandenHurk will pitch in relief.

— Joe Frisaro



Marlins line up their pitching

Grapefruit League play will get going on Thursday when the Marlins face the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium.

Start time is 1:05 p.m. ET, with the gates opening around 11:30 a.m.

Anibal Sanchez will make the start for Florida, and throw about 35 pitches (or two innings). Also slated to pitch on Thursday are Rick VandenHurk, Taylor Tankersley, Seth McClung, Scott Strickland and Dan Meyer.

On Friday, the Marlins will visit the Mets at Port St. Lucie. Chris Volstad is scheduled to start, followed by Hayden Penn, Chris Leroux, Cristhian Martinez, Brian Sanches and Derrick Turnbow.

On Saturday, the Marlins are back in Jupiter, taking on the Cardinals in the first of two meetings over the weekend.


Josh Johnson will make his Grapefruit League debut on Saturday, with the start time set at 1:05 p.m. ET. Clay Hensley, Brett Sinkbeil, Chris Schroder, Renyel Pinto and Leo Nunez also are lined up to pitch.

Tickets for all Marlins home games at Roger Dean Stadium are available on Gates open 90 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.


— Joe Frisaro

McClung to join pen?

Looks like another former Brewer will be in Marlins camp when pitchers and catchers begin Spring Training on Feb. 20 at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

Seth McClung, who will turn 30 on Super Bowl Sunday, is close to finalizing a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Last Friday, the Marlins announced they have signed former Milwaukee All-Star closer Derrick Turnbow to a Minor League contract.

If Turnbow makes the team, he will make $600,000 with a chance for $50,000 in incentives.

McClung will compete for a spot in the bullpen.

McClung also strongly considered the Cardinals, Giants and Nationals.

— Joe Frisaro


Report: Uggla wants to remain at second

Dan Uggla is a two-time All-Star second baseman who has already placed his name in the record books.

By belting 31 homers in 2009, Uggla is the first player in MLB history to reach 30 homers in three straight years in which he played at least 100 games at second base.

With that kind of track record, Uggla sees himself as a second baseman. And he has little desire to switch positions, according to his agent, Jeff Borris.

Borris on Friday told Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown that his client wants to stay at second base.

“Danny Uggla’s been a full-time second baseman for the last four years,” Borris told Yahoo! Sports columnist. “He’s performed exceptionally well at that position. Although he has the athleticism to play other positions, he’s performed remarkably over these four years at second base and there should be no reason to consider a position change at this time.”

In his second season of arbitration, Uggla’s salary is slated to rise for the $5.35 million he made this year.

At this week’s General Managers Meetings, the Marlins had conversations with several clubs about Uggla. The Giants reportedly would like to add Uggla and switch him to third base. The Red Sox would consider Uggla in left field. The Orioles also reportedly have interest.

The Nationals, too, are a team that could enter into the mix. So may the Diamondbacks, the team that drafted Uggla in 2001. Former Marlins third base coach, Bo Porter, has now joined the Arizona staff.

Uggla has 121 career home runs, and he is building his legacy at second base. He has not played any other position in the big leagues besides second.

— Joe Frisaro