Tag:Hanley Ramirez
Posted on: June 16, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: June 16, 2011 9:08 pm
 

Marlins haven't 'pondered' a managerial move

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria isn't thinking about changing managers… yet.

Marlins president David Samson spoke to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post about the team's struggles, but if I'm Rodriguez, the quotes aren't making me think about ditching the rental and buying real estate in South Florida.

The Marlins fired their hitting coach a week ago, so it's no surprise a reporter would be asking about Rodriguez's job status. Still, Samson didn't sound prepared to answer that particular question.

"It's not something that I have pondered with Jeffrey. I can't really say that… I can't really say, to be honest with you…" Samson said. "List, [general manager] Larry [Beinfest] and I are talking every day. Larry is talking with his baseball people to figure out what the best thing we can do, how we can get this turned around. Obviously, it got sour very quickly. I've never seen something turn as quickly, so we've got to figure out what, if anything, needs to be done."

The Marlins, with their loss on Thursday, have lost seven in a row and 15 of their last 16 (or 17 of their last 19, if you want to go back even a little further). Given the Marlins fired hitting coach John Mallee last week and Rodriguez only has a contract through the end of this year, it's understandable if he's feeling the heat. Add to those Loria's history of a quick trigger, it wouldn't be a shock of Rodriguez already has his office packed up ready to go at a moment's notice.

"I saw the firing of Mallee coming," Rodriguez told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. "I was more worried about Mallee than firing me. I think it would be a mistake [to fire me] because I don't think anything is going to change on the field. I'm grateful they gave me a chance to be here. What they do after this, whatever they want to do."

Last June Loria fired Fredi Gonzalez and named Rodriguez the interim manager. After flirting with several other managerial choices, most notably Bobby Valentine, Rodriguez was named the manager for the rest of the season and then given a contract for just the 2011 season. Many expect Loria to go after a big-name manager for 2012 when the Marlins move into their new stadium and perhaps make another run at Valentine.

Rodriguez at least has his best player behind him.

"I'm on his side," Hanley Ramirez told the Miami Herald. "Whatever he does, I'm good for it, because he's the best guy we've ever had here.

"Everything is bad right now. But he's there for you. I'll never complain about anything he does. He's a pretty good guy and a pretty good manager. He's smart."

Rodriguez is certainly smart enough to know his days as Marlins manager are numbered.

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Posted on: June 15, 2011 1:35 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Big Game James



By Matt Snyder

James Shields, Rays. Since Shields threw a shutout on May 22, he was 0-2 with a 6.50 ERA in his next three starts. Sure, two of them weren't awful and one was -- skewing the small sample numbers a bit -- but he wasn't throwing the ball near as well as he was earlier in the season. His task Tuesday night was to face the now-mighty Red Sox, who entered the game with a nine-game winning streak -- one in which they'd averaged about nine runs per game. After a shaky first, where Shields left the bases loaded, he settled in and threw a complete-game shutout. The victory moved the Rays to within 3 1/2 games of the Red Sox. Shields has already set the Rays record with three shutouts in a season and is the fastest to three shutouts in the AL since Randy Johnson and David Cone in 1994.

Domonic Brown, Phillies. The Phillies slugged five home runs en route to a 9-1 victory of the disappearing Marlins, but the highlight was Brown's upper tank shot in the seventh. It was not only majestic, but also his second blast of the game. As too many long-time members of the lineup get closer to being too old, the 23-year-old outfielder provides a glimpse into the future.

Johnny Cueto, Reds. As the Reds creep closer to the NL Central leaders -- we'll get to them in a moment -- they can definitely start to feel very confident when one member of the rotation gets the ball each turn. Cueto has now thrown 14 consecutive innings without having allowed an earned run and his ERA has shrunk to 1.68 through eight starts and 53 2/3 innings. Coming out and giving an effort like Tuesday night's -- seven innings, five hits, five strikeouts, zero earned runs -- against Clayton Kershaw is the stuff aces are made of.

Also: Don't forget to give props to Justin Verlander for shutting out the Indians and moving the Tigers into first place. It's just that it's not really surprising anymore.




Alexi Ogando, Rangers. So much for that sparkling ERA, WHIP and undefeated record. Ogando entered Tuesday with a 7-0 record, 2.10 ERA and MLB-best 0.898 WHIP. He couldn't even get out of the second Tuesday, though. The Yankees tuned him up for six earned runs on six hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. This came after a 1-2-3 first inning, too. Ogando now has a 12.38 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in Yankee Stadium this season. Everywhere else? 1.68 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Fortunately for him and the Rangers, this will be his last outing in the Bronx this season -- well, unless he has to pitch there in the playoffs. If it comes to that, they'll surely find a way to avoid throwing him in his house of horrors.

Hanley Ramirez, Marlins. The DL-stint may have cured his back, but it didn't do much to alter the path this disaster of a season has taken for the star shortstop. Ramirez returned to the lineup in the leadoff spot and proceeded to go 0-4 with two strikeouts. Granted it wasn't exactly an easy matchup against a locked-in Cole Hamels, but it certainly wasn't encouraging for Ramirez, either.

Brewers', Cardinals' bullpens. As the two teams fight for the top of the NL Central, they seem to be going out of their way to blow late leads. Tuesday, they each coughed up leads against sub-par teams. The Cardinals held a 6-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh against the Nationals. Miguel Batista, Trever Miller and Jason Motte combined to allow five hits, three walks, a hit-by-pitch and six earned runs. Yes, that was all in one inning. Most of the damage was allowed by Batista, but Miller hit the only guy he faced and Motte let two inherited runners cross home plate. Not to be outdone, Marco Estrada of the Brewers gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth to the Cubs. The big blow was an Aramis Ramirez two-run home run, which tied the score at four and eventually sent the game to extra innings. In the 10th, Tim Dillard allowed a Tony Campana double, a sacrifice and a Starlin Castro single to lose the game. The Brewers have now lost two in a row to the Cubs. The Cardinals have lost four straight. They're tied atop the Central, though the Reds and Pirates are in striking distance. Meltdowns like Tuesday are the reason no one has pulled away.

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Posted on: June 6, 2011 3:01 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 3:41 pm
 

Marlins disable Ramirez, call on Hand

RamirezBy Evan Brunell

The Marlins placed Hanley Ramirez (pictured) on the disabled list Monday, retroactive to May 30 with a left back strain.

The move was expected after the hobbled shortstop spoke about how bad his back pain has been. But the team still waited a week to place him on the DL, meaning Ramirez will be eligible to return in a little over a week from Monday. The Marlins will move forward with Emilio Bonifacio as the primary shortstop until Ramirez returns.

To replace Ramirez on the roster, the club selected the contract of lefty pitcher Brad Hand from Double-A. Hand is only 21 but will make his major-league debut in place of Josh Johnson, who is dealing with shoulder inflammation.

Selected in the second round, Hand had a 3.53 ERA in 11 starts for Double-A, the highest level he has reached in his career with only 12 career starts. He's only struck out 44 and walked 27, so his statistics are far from dominating. Baseball America noted in its preseason organization rankings that Hand is young for the league and could eventually develop into a No. 3 starter. Hand's fastball ranges from 91-94 mph and he possesses a quality hard curveball, but his changeup still needs work.

Hand will make his debut on Tuesday against the Braves, opposing Tommy Hanson.

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Posted on: June 1, 2011 11:20 pm
 

Ramirez to hit DL Friday if no progress made

By Evan Brunell

RamirezThe Marlins will wait until Friday to make a decision on whether Hanley Ramirez should be placed on the DL, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Ramirez, who has never hit the DL in his short career thus far, is dealing with major back pain that is severely impacting his day-to-day life. He has not played since leaving Sunday's game with the pain, which he says has been bothering him for a month.

The Marlins can no longer wait to decide on Ramirez, however. The Marlins have an off day Thursday and then starts an 11-game homestand. “We can’t keep going with only one shortstop,” manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “Pretty soon we have to make a decision.”

Surprisingly, Ramirez hasn't seen a doctor for the issue that also has tingling in his left leg. Fortunately, Ramirez reported improvement on Wednesday, Rodriguez relayed, but he's unable to play entirely, never mind pinch-hitting. While the Marlins are hoping the off day will help matters, Ramirez could have a problem with the plane flight from Arizona to Miami.

“That long flight home is going to be painful,” Rodriguez said.

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Posted on: May 30, 2011 6:20 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 6:34 pm
 

Ramirez's back not feeling better

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Hanley RamirezFlorida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez is in so much pain that he can't even put his shoes on. He left Sunday's game in the first inning with back pain and wasn't sure if he'd play today. He's not in the team's lineup for tonight's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"To get up from bed, I have to take 10, 15 seconds, I have to do everything slow," Ramirez told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. "That's the worst pain I've ever had in my life, in my career, that back. . .

"I'm getting tingles in my [upper left] leg. That's not a good sign. That's what we're worried about right now, to get this thing out of my leg."

Curiously, the Marlins seem to taking a "wait and see" approach, as Ramirez has yet to see a doctor for the problem. The team traveled to Arizona last night from Los Angeles and is in Phoenix until Wednesday. The team has an off day on Thursday before starting an 11-game homestead.

Still, there are doctors -- and some good ones -- in Phoenix. When a guy is owed more than $60 million through 2014, you might want to take a few precautionary measures.

Ramirez said his back has been bothering him for about a month. He said he doesn't want to go on the disabled list, something he hasn't done in his career.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: May 29, 2011 11:17 pm
Edited on: May 30, 2011 7:32 am
 

Ramirez says his back is 'bad'

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Hanley RamirezMarlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez said it's unlikely he'll play Monday in Arizona after leaving Sunday's game with lower back pain in the first inning of his team's loss to the Dodgers.

"Bad," Ramirez said of his back when asked by Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald.

Ramirez said his back has been hurting him, but got worse when he popped up in the first inning. He played in the field in the bottom of the first, but didn't return for the second.

"We'll find out [Monday]," manager Edwin Rodriguez said. "I have to find out what's the situation, what's the status with Hanley and then we'll go from there."

Rodriguez was referring to the team's roster makeup. the team is currently playing with a short bench because it's carrying 13 pitchers on the roster. The Marlins start a three-game series in Arizona before an off day on Thursday, followed by the start of an 11-game homestand on Friday.

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Posted on: May 27, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: May 27, 2011 1:29 pm
 

Breaking player slumps tough job for managers

By Matt Snyder

Just over a week after saying he would leave Adam Dunn in the three-hole, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has now dropped Dunn to seventh in the batting order. It's pretty tough to blame him, from a certain point of view.

Dunn is hitting .186 with an incredible 65 strikeouts in 156 at-bats. He's only hit five home runs. Even his traditionally-high on-base percentage is a sub-par .314.

The flip-side, however, is that Dunn has been one of the most consistent power hitters of the past decade. Scoff if you will -- there's a stigma that comes with Dunn because of his high-strikeout, low-batting average rates -- but here are his home run totals from the past seven seasons: 46, 40, 40, 40, 40, 38, 38. He reached 100 RBI in six of those seasons, his OBP was .381 and OPS was .914. He also never played less than 152 games in a season. That's a really productive offensive player.

So, if you're Guillen, you have to expect Dunn to start hitting well any day now. There's just no reason to believe he's cooked at 31. Sure, he switched leagues, but any drop off shouldn't have been this drastic. It's just that if you leave him in the third spot of the lineup and he continues to pump out four-strikeout games, it's killing your team.

This situation is a good illustration of a very tough job for managers. Figuring out how to approach a guy in a huge slump is a delicate business. No matter what action is taken, there are lots of possible negative consequences.

Lineup movement happens a lot. The Marlins have moved Hanley Ramirez to second. The Red Sox dropped Carl Crawford to eighth -- and he's absolutely going off this week, finally.

Sometimes the DH is used. The White Sox have started to play Adam Dunn at first more often, in case playing defense keeps him more into the game. On the opposite end, the Yankees have used Derek Jeter at DH three times.

Do you start benching the guy? The Indians started Carlos Santana behind the plate only once in the three-game series against the Red Sox. Sometimes that helps to clear a player's head, but sometimes he becomes worried the manager has lost confidence in him and becomes a headcase. Look at the Jorge Posada situation in New York.

What about doing things out of the ordinary, strategically? Getting the hit-and-run sign could help. If a hitter knows he has to swing at the pitch, there's a big hole in the infield and he ends up making good contact for a base hit, sometimes that's the only mental boost he needs. The Marlins made an interesting decision with Ramirez Tuesday night. With a four-run lead in the top of the ninth, they had him lay down a sacrifice bunt. I actually have no idea how this will help him break out of a slump, but I guess they're breaking out all the stops.

Or you could just leave the guy alone. Charlie Manuel essentially did this with Raul Ibanez. He rarely sat out and only bounced between fifth and sixth in the order. Now Ibanez has gotten hot after a pretty sizable slump.

Most any blogger will tell you that the managers should just relax and wait for a regression to the mean. I understand that, but it's pretty easily said for a guy behind a computer whose job doesn't depend on wins and losses. Each win is precious, and the managers need players like Crawford, Ramirez, Dunn, Jeter, Ibanez and Santana to hit the ball. The longer they go before breaking out of a slump, the more chances there are the team loses more games. The longer the managers stick with the struggling big hitter in a major lineup spot, the more risk there is of leaving the table-setters on base multiple times every game. Dropping the hitter in the lineup or benching him might mean missed opportunities to break out of the slump, too.

It's quite the juggling act, and there is no one proven method that maximizes results -- probably because the mentality of hitting a baseball is immeasurable. It's pretty difficult to blame managers for trying to be proactive instead of just sitting back. Not when their job is constantly on the line.

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Posted on: May 10, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: May 10, 2011 10:58 am
 

Pepper: Aces meet in Florida



By Matt Snyder

WEST AT IT AGAIN: Another game, another ejection by Joe West's awful excuse for an umpiring crew. Monday night, Ron Gardenhire of the Twins was West's victim. MLB Network studio analyst Larry Bowa said MLB executive Joe Torre needs to find a way to get West under control. You know I agree, and here's a link to my rant from last week on West's crew.

UH ... REALLY? During Justin Verlander's no-hitter in Toronto, Blue Jays' outfielder Juan Rivera ran by the mound and told Verlander he was just "getting lucky." Verlander even confirmed this after the game. "He was probably just trying to get under my skin," said the righty. (sportsnet.ca ) I know sometimes things are said due to frustration, so maybe Rivera backed off the comments later. Only he didn't. Instead he stood behind the remark. Look, there are certainly times where a run-of-the-mill pitcher has everything break his way and throws a no-no, but Verlander now has done it twice and is one of the elite arms in the game. There's no other way to spin the situation than to say that Rivera was just jealous.

QUITE A LEAP: From running a small hot dog stand to the Wrigley Field public address announcer within a few days? Yep, that's what Andrew Belleson did. Pretty cool story. (Chicago Tribune )

OFFENSIVELY CHALLENGED: The Twins have had a putrid offense pretty much all season. Before Monday's game against the Red Sox, a reporter asked manager Ron Gardenhire about Francisco Liriano's next start, saying "you don't need another no-hitter." Gardenhire's reply? "We don't? Who are you kidding?" (Twins Now via Twitter)

MONEY MATTERS: While Chris Young's season -- and maybe even career -- hangs in the balance, the Mets still have money woes. Thus, it's worth looking at Young's contract. He has a base salary of $1.1 million with incentives that could have pushed the deal all the way up to $4.5 million. He obviously hasn't reached any of those yet, so it's looking increasingly likely the Mets will only owe the initial $1.1 million. (ESPN New York )

MAD MILTON: When Milton Bradley was clipped by the Mariners Monday, the reaction across the baseball-loving world was anywhere from jubilation to relief to mockery. The always-great Geoff Baker of Mariners Blog (Seattle Times ) offers up a very thoughtful piece on Bradley, in that now he should be trying to figure out what makes him happy and get himself straightened out. It's very fair. While pointing out that Bradley has never been accountable for his actions, Baker also points out that teams continuing to sign Bradley have been enabling his behavior instead of forcing him to solve his personal demons. Meanwhile, Jerry Brewer of the same outlet discusses that Bradley's career is probably over. I tend to agree. When he was productive, it wasn't surprising that teams would give him a shot. But, to put it succinctly, he sucks now. There's no reason for anyone to give him a shot.

TURNIN' BACK THE CLOCK: Hanley Ramirez has had an awful beginning to the 2011 season. Back in 2009, he hit .342 with 24 home runs and 106 RBI, finishing second in MVP voting. So Hanley went back into his storage closet and found his bats from 2009. He started using them Sunday and has since gone 3-9 with two runs scored. He also scorched a pair of balls Sunday that didn't work out (one was a foul ball that easily had home run distance, the other was a line drive double-play that was right at the shortstop). Hey, if he thinks that will help, it very well might. Baseball is such a mental game, any little adjustment could get things on track. (Fish Bytes )

THE ROAD BACK: Josh Hamilton has been out several weeks with an injured shoulder, but he's going to take batting practice Friday (Evan Grant via Twitter).

MASKED MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN: "We are constantly looking for ways to connect and engage with our great fan base," said Angels vice president of sales and marketing, Robert Alvarado. And Tuesday night in Anaheim, the Angels will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for "largest gathering of people wearing costume masks." Specifically, everyone in attendance is going to get an Angels wrestling mask. Sorry, this is stupid. Can't the fans just go watch a baseball game? (MLB.com )

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