When the Marlins announced they were bringing back Jack McKeon to manage the team, I was excited both personally and professionally. I think this man is old school yet not to the point where he hurts players, he trusts his eyes and gut, not the stat sheet or “book.” The 2011 Marlins need that type of guiding hand. This roster has a ton of young guys, guys who could use a father figure type. McKeon is a great choice and fit. One of the first moves he made showed why. SS Hanley Ramirez, a talent but a headache causing talent, was late for Jack’s 1st team meeting and was not in the starting lineup that day. Did McKeon bury the struggling superstar? No, he talked him up and placed him in the clean up slot! Ramirez responded with 7 hits and 4 rbi in the next 4 games. When you consider that Ramirez was hitting .200 with 4 home runs as of June 20th, that is a good thing! Age aside, Jack can manage and this team is better off under his leadership. Would you want to let your grandfather down? Think of this team as 25 men trying to please their Grandfather.
MARLINS NOTES: Team allowed 24 home runs during the 1-18 skid in June…. For a team that has struggled, closer Leo Nunez has been incredible, saving 21 games. .. RH SP Anibal Sanchez is 6-1 with a 2.90 ERA… McKeon sat left handed hitting OF Logan Morrison the day off vs LHSP Jason Vargas June 25th. Morrison, a popular figure with his twitter updates, was hitting .193 in June and the skipper wanted to give him a day to relax. “Try something different. Give ‘Twitter’ a rest,” McKeon said. “Maybe it will calm him down, and he will relax a little.”
After the surprising resignation of Manager Edwin Rodriquez Sunday June 19th, the Florida Marlins acted quickly and have brought in 80 year old Jack McKeon to take over for the struggling team. McKeon came in as a mid season replacement in 2003 and led the young and talented Marlins to the 2003 World Series championship. The player friendly skipper stayed on thru the 2005 campaign, posting 3 straight winning seasons with a record of 241-207. Preciously, he managed 4 major league clubs: the Kansas City Royals(1973-75), Oakland A’s(1977-78), San Diego Padres(1988-1990) and Cincinnati Reds(1997-2000). Since stepping down as Marlins manager in 2005, he has served as a special assistant to owner Jeffrey Loria. McKeon recently represented the club at the 2011 MLB draft. His biggest task right now is the state of the current Marlins, who have dropped 11 in a row and have one win in June(1-19)!
MARLINS NEWS: SS Hanley Ramirez, the team’s most talented player, was not in the lineup in McKeon’s first game as the skipper chose to give him the night off after seeing him struggle running the previous game(June 19th). The all star recently came off the DL with a lower back strain. However, numerous reports had Ramirez arriving late to the ball park and McKeon’s introductory meeting with the team. The meeting message was simple according to OF Logan Morrison, play hard and there won’t be a problem. … OF Chris Coghlan(Left Knee inflammation) was placed on the 15 day DL June 20th after the team attempted to send him down to the minors last Friday(June 17th). The troublesome knee was operated on last season after tearing a meniscus following a walk-off celebration last July.
1st year Florida Marlins manager Edwin Rodriquez resigned unexpectedly Sunday May 19th after one of the worst runs in the history of the franchise. The team has fallen into last place in the NL East and lost 10 straight, putting their embarrassing June record at 1-18(32-40 overall in 2011). Bench coach Brandon Hyde managed the club during Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. The club hopes to have an interim manager in place as soon as possible with candidates such as Hyde, former Marlins manager Jack McKeon and Nationals 3B coach Bo Porter(an ex Marlins staffer) being mentioned.
Rodriquez replaced the fired Fredi Gonzalez June 23rd of 2010 and was given the job full time five days later. The team played exactly .500 ball under their former Triple-A manager in New Orleans and started the 2011 season well. However, an injury to ace Josh Johnson(the 2010 NL ERA leader,out since Mid May with right shoulder inflammation) and off year from superstar SS Hanley Ramirez(.204,4 home runs, 17 rbi,also DL-ed due to a back injury) was too much for this young club to overcome. Rodriquez notified Florida president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest of his decision and resigned early sunday morning. The Marlins players were told of the news in a team meeting with Rodriquez talking to individual players in his office. He did not speak with reporters. Sad, sad day but an unfortunate part of the business. Great quote here from one of the better skippers in the game, Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon: “He’s one of the nicest, most decent men I’ve met in this game, and it’s unfortunate that he has to feel the weight of this whole moment because it’s not his fault,” Maddon said. “He’s worked so hard to get to this point. They were doing so well a couple weeks ago. That’s the strange part about it. We just played them down there and they beat us two out of three. They were playing good baseball.”
Marlins have decided to move ace righty Josh Johnson(Right shoulder inflammation) to the 60 day disabled list as he continues to slowly make progress in his rehab. This is not a situation where the injury is not improving but more about building strength back up in the joint. Johnson(3-1,1.64 ERA,9 starts) , on the DL retroactive to May 17th, is throwing a long-toss program in South Program and is eligible to return July 16th at the Chicago Cubs. The Florida hopes to have their ace throw at least two rehab assignment games before he returns to the big club. Johnson cannot return soon enough as the slumping Marlins have lost 14 of 15 , losing in almost painful ways nightly.
One of the early feel good stories of the 2011 baseball campaign has hit a huge bump in the road and is paying for it dearly, as the Florida Marlins, a team with both tremendous young talent and upside, has lost 10 of 11, dropping to .500 for the first time since they started 5-5 in April. When you are a franchise with a budget and play in division with giants such as the 4 time defending NL East champion Philadelphia Phillies and perennial playoff contenders in the Atlanta Braves, you need things to break right for you to have success. Unfortunately, two things that have broken are the staff ace(Josh Johnson) and franchise player(SS Hanley Ramirez). Not a recipe for success! On the bright side, The bullpen has been good all season after costing the team games throughout 2010 while 2nd year man RF Mike Stanton has really found his home run stroke as off late(9 homers in May after 2 in April, followed by 5 in 35 June at bats) .
JOHNSON-RAMIREZ UPDATES: All signs point to Ramirez returning to the lineup Tuesday(June 14th) after being on the DL since May 30th with a left back strain. The Marlins superstar shortstop went 5 for 8 in two rehab starts at Single A. The plan is to have Ramirez work out with the team Monday then play vs the Phillies Tuesday. Meanwhile, ace Josh Johnson(Right shoulder inflammation) continues to make steady but slow progress, throwing off flat ground. He is throwing from 150 feet and may push it to 200 feet early this week. However, Johnson has not tossed from a mound in almost 3 weeks. The team hopes he returns sometime in July.
MARLINS NOTES: Marlins Lefty specialist Randy Choate has not allowed a run since April 13, totaling 22 games and 8 innings pitched in this scoreless run…. Florida selected Cuban defector and Tampa high school pitcher RH Jose Fernandez with the 14th selection of the MLB draft last week…. 1B Gaby Sanchez hit his 12th home run Sunday June 12th… Marlins left 13 men on base going 0 for 12 with runners in scoring position in the same game.. Marlins Triple A pitcher Sean West hit two home runs in his start June 12th, helping his own cause in a 7-4 victory
Should and could be very interesting the next time the San Francisco Giants and Florida Marlins play! By this date,we have all seen the unfortunate home plate collision that has ended the season of the Giants star C Buster Posey after Marlins OF Scott Cousins ran him over in the May 25th contest. Well, lets just say long time Giants General Manager Brian Sabean is not happy. As a guest on the World Champions flagship station, he said ” I don’t blame(Posey). Why not be hard-nosed? If I never hear from Cousins again or he never plays another day in the big leagues, I think we’ ll all be happy.” YIKES! Not exactly standard MLB front office speak. But Sabean continued! “(Cousins) chose to be a hero in my mind, and if that’s his flash of fame, then that’s as good as it’s gonna get, pal, We’ll have a long memory. We’ve talked to (former catcher Mike) Matheny on how this game works. You can’t be that out-and-out overly aggressive, let’s put it that way. I’ll put it as politically as I can state it. There is no love lost, and there shouldn’t be.”
Cousins issued a statement on Friday through his agent, Matt Sosnick.
“I hope and believe that Mr. Sabean’s comments were made in the heat of the moment and are based more on his fondness for Buster Posey than on any animosity towards me,” Cousins said in the statement. “This situation is still an open wound for many, including myself. As I have stated previously, nobody outside of Buster feels worse about his injury than I do. I have reached out to Buster to let him know how badly I feel about his being injured during our collision at home plate.
“I do believe, however, that the play was clean and totally within the rules of the game. Explaining over and over that I would never intentionally hurt another player for any reason won’t change the minds of those who doubt my sincerity or intent. I have a responsibility to myself, my teammates and my organization to play the game hard. This is what has gotten me to the big leagues, and hopefully this is what will keep me here.”
To make matters worse, Cousins is a Bay area native and attended the University of San Franciscico. He has received death threats via email. The Marlins are tight, feisty group and OF Logan Morrison came to the defense of his teammate Friday(June 3rd).
“I hope [Sabean] apologizes, because what he said was wildly inappropriate and wildly unprofessional, and it really shows ignorance on his part,” Morrison said. “Not to show compassion for a human being who is going through a hard time … I guess he wouldn’t know anything about. If it were me, and I was on his side, I’d reserve my comments until the death threats have subsided.”
Morrison also had a message for the fans threatening Cousins: “That’s immature. That’s childish.”
Sad, sad situation on all fronts. Sad that the Giants and their fans lost their top player(Posey), Sad that a good kid like Cousins is taking heat and really sad that a great baseball man like Sabean goes WWE on the radio. Harold Reynolds of MLB network made a great point on the air tonight regarding Sabean, who I like. ALOT. If he was player and said the same thing, he would heavily fined and suspended. MLB needs to step up and do the same to the Giants General Manager. What makes his comments even worse is the incident is almost 10 days old. This was not a spur of the moment thing, he had time to collect his thoughts. Awful, awful job by Sabean. The teams meet again August 12-14th in South Florida.
HANLEY RAMIREZ UPDATE, HENSLEY DL-ED AGAIN : Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez(Lower back) continues to miss time and the team will wait until Monday June 6th to decide whether to place the franchise’s top player on the DL. Marlins Manager Edwin Rodriquez has not seen Ramirez(.210,4 home runs, 17 rbi,11 steals) do any baseball activities since the original injury May 29th. The team had originally hoped to make a decision on Ramirez by Friday(June 3rd) but top set up man Clay Hensley(0-2,3.60 ERA,8 holds) injured his shoulder in Wednesday’s game(June 1st) and was placed on the DL today(June 3rd). Tough early season for Hensley, who just returned from a rib injury that cost him a DL stint in May. To fill the roster spot, the team recalled INF Ozzie Martinez, if Ramirez goes on the 15 day, look for corresponding pitching move.
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