Results tagged ‘ Tony La Russa ’

Bobby Cox's influence on Fredi

News broke the other day that Bobby Cox would be back to manage the Braves in 2010, and then retire after next season.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez is hopeful that his former boss sticks around for years to come.

Gonzalez was the Braves third base coach for four years before joining the Marlins in 2006. Gonzalez refers to Cox as a mentor, and the two talk regularly.

“I’m glad that he’s got one more year,” Gonzalez said before the Marlins faced the Mets on Friday. “There was a lot of speculation that this was going to be his last year. I’m glad that they signed him for one more year, and I hope at the end of next year, he says he wants to go one more. It’s good for baseball to have guys like Bobby Cox, [Tony] La Russa, [Lou] Piniella, managers like that around.

“I know he will be through 2010, and we’ll see after that. I’m glad that he’s still going to be around.”

A part of Gonzalez isn’t convinced Cox will retire after 2010.

“I’ll believe it when I see it, because he loves managing the game, and he’s good at what he does,” the Marlins manager said.

Cox has been influential in Gonzalez’s managing style.

From Cox, Gonzalez learned more about the intensity of the game, patience of players, and showing confidence in players.

“The consitency,” Gonzalez said. “The day in, day out relationship you have to give to these guys.”

Gonzalez prides himself on being level, regardless of how his team is doing. He learned that from Cox.

“If you were on the other side of the world, and you didn’t know if the Braves won 10 in a row or lost 10 in a row, and you walked into his office, you wouldn’t know,” Gonzalez said. “He isn’t one of those guys who is up-and-down, one of those rollercoaster ride guys.”

— Joe Frisaro




Considering hitting Bonifacio ninth?

Tony La Russa has been doing it. Now, Fredi Gonzalez is considering it.

The Marlins manager said on Friday that he may opt to bat the Marlins pitcher in the eighth spot, and slot Emilio Bonifacio ninth.

With the Marlins playing on the road in Interleague action the next six games, they will be using the designated hitter. So that scenario doesn’t come into play. Bonifacio on Friday at Toronto was hitting ninth.

It will be interesting to see where Bonifacio is batting when the team returns to Land Shark Stadium on July 19 against the Yankees. At that point, the pitcher will again hit.

“You can say I’d consider it,” Gonzalez said of batting Bonifacio ninth, and the pitcher eighth.

It may come down to who is on the mound. Gonzalez said may do it with Josh Johnson, a decent hitting pitcher. Johnson already has a three-run home run to dead center field at Land Shark Stadium.

The last time a Marlins pitcher batted anywhere but ninth was in 2005. At the end of that season, manager Jack McKeon regularly slotted Dontrelle Willis eighth. Once, Willis hit as high as seventh.

La Russa in St. Louis has regularly hit the pitcher eighth because he feels as the game moves on, it increases the chances of more runners being on base when Albert Pujols steps to the plate.

Gonzalez’s reasoning has more to do with the makeup of their lineup than beefing up the order for, say, Hanley Ramirez, who hits third.

If he slides Bonifacio out of the second spot, Gonzalez must consider who to replace him. One choice could be Dan Uggla, who flourished hitting second in 2006 and 2007 when he batted between Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera. Uggla on Friday was hitting sixth.

John Baker also could hit there, setting up two straight left-handed hitters when Chris Coghlan leads off.

Bonifacio is young and the Marlins want to have him protected in the lineup.

Bonifacio has hit mostly leadoff all season, and the past two weeks he’s been hitting mostly second.

From the leadoff spot, Bonifacio has 211 at-bats, and his batting average is .246, with a .288 on-base percentage. He’s appeared in 10 games hitting second, and his numbers from there are .250 with a .333 on-base.

Why not just bat Bonifacio eighth and keep the pitcher ninth?

That could be an option. But the Marlins are hopeful the 23-year-old speedster will emerge into a quality hitter. They don’t want to frustrate him by having him see less pitches with the pitcher behind him. And batting ahead of the pitcher presents a challenge to any eighth batter.

Cody Ross could be most impacted by such a move since he hits seventh. But Ross also has batted eighth, and he has some more big league seasoning to make the necessary adjustments.

In the second spot, Bonifacio has the luxury of Ramirez behind him, and in theory he should see better pitches to hit. If he hit ninth, the top of the order would follow. So it may create a situation where the switch-hitting speedster can serve basically as a leadoff batter at the bottom of the order.

— Joe Frisaro

Parcells attends series


Bill Parcells, a close friend of Tony La Russa, was on hand for the series with the Cardinals.

Photo by Robert Vigon/Florida Marlins