Negotiations may have nearly come down to the wire, but in the end, the Marlins will have the services of their 2013 first-round Draft pick. According to a source, Colin Moran on Thursday reached agreement on a contract with Miami, pending completion of his physical. The Marlins selected the 20-year-old third baseman from the University of North Carolina with the sixth overall pick on June 6 in the First-Year Player Draft. The club has not confirmed the deal. Barring any unexpected setbacks, Moran is expected to finalize a contract at slot value, which is $3,516,500.
Stanton is batting .162 (6-for-37) since June 30. Miami is 4-6 during that span. "Once you're here for a few years, it's usually nothing more than you're thinking too much," Stanton said. "I don't feel like I do too often, but when you have a little thought in your head besides what he's going to throw or focusing on the ball, you're not going to have 100 percent of your mind in that at-bat." His recent skid is the latest in what has been an up-and-down season for Stanton. He has delivered a number of clutch hits for Miami, including game-winning home runs against the Brewers on June 11 and the D-backs on June 17.
Jacob Turner was impressive over seven innings, and Placido Polanco had three hits and three RBIs to boost Miami to a 6-2 win over the Braves on Wednesday afternoon at Marlins Park. Backed by early run support in the form of a four-run first inning, Turner limited Atlanta to two runs on four hits while striking out five. The 22-year-old, who opened the season at Triple-A New Orleans, rebounded from a loss at St. Louis. In seven of his eight starts, Turner has allowed three runs or fewer.
The Marlins snapped a five-game skid with a 6-2 win against the Braves on Wednesday. Miami skipper Mike Redmond would like to see his club demonstrate more patience at the plate. Such a strategy could prevent Strasburg from pitching deep into Friday's game. Strasburg blanked the Marlins across seven innings on Opening Day. "We need to do a better job of getting ourselves deeper into counts," Redmond said. "It seems like we'll burn that pitcher out a little bit in the first three innings. Then, as we get towards the middle, we'll have back-to-back first-pitch swings and soft outs. We can't do that."
It took 52 games and 175 at-bats for Rob Brantly to connect on his first home run of the season. But as much of a relief as it was to circle the bases, the Marlins' rookie catcher was equally satisfied to once again feel comfortable in his approach. Brantly, who turns 24 on Sunday, went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in Miami's 6-4 loss to the Braves on Tuesday night. In his first full MLB season, the left-handed-hitting catcher has endured his share of growing pains. He entered Wednesday batting .242 with a .296 on-base percentage, one homer and 18 RBIs. Brantly's three-run homer came in the second inning on Tuesday.
Jon Rauch didn't make much of a lasting impression as a reliever during his brief and largely forgettable stay with the Marlins. But he might have made a significant contribution in a way that went unnoticed. Marcell Ozuna said Rauch improved his throwing accuracy by changing the way the outfielder grips the baseball. Rauch told Ozuna he would receive better results if he threw a two-seamer with the palm of his hand "behind the seams." That slight adjustment flattened Ozuna's throws. "The ball was diving before," Ozuna said. "Jon Rauch told me to grab the ball with the seams behind. I saw the difference right away. The ball went straight, straight, straight -- no movement."
By retiring 24 straight batters Monday, Marlins relievers equaled the major league record for most consecutive batters retired by a bullpen over the past 40 seasons. According to info provided by Stats Pass, the Oakland A's bullpen also retired 24 straight in a 2011 game against the Cleveland Indians. No bullpen since 1974 (which is as far back as the Stats Pass records go with that statistic) has pitched the equivalent of a perfect game (27 straight), and the previous Marlins record for consecutive batters retired by the team's bullpen was 18 in a 2005 game
In comparison, Brantly’s teammate Jeff Mathis has the best ERA among catchers since he returned from injury in mid-May. In his first 25 starts on the season, Mathis’ ERA was 2.49. Brantly knows he’s not playing up to his standards. "It’s been a little bit of a grind early," he said. "I’ve grown from it and become a better defensive player. I really think it’s starting to come together."
Fernandez, 20, a baby even for a rookie, made the National League All-Star team Saturday. Maybe it’s a Miami thing, anybody who escapes Cuba’s tyranny for America’s promise as a teenager, on his fourth try, rates as heroic for that vision, that resolve. If Fernandez had done that and was today just some hard-working 20-year-old dishwasher we never heard of, he would be the same kind of heroic.
The Marlins were content for shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria to have his glove do most of his talking. But they also felt the 24-year-old could swing the bat a bit, and now he’s finally proving it. Hechavarria extended his hitting streak to 10 games Wednesday with a single and a double, raising his average for the month to .436. "We’ve all said this is a kid who’s going to hit," manager Mike Redmond said. Hechavarria, who began the month with a .203 average, has raised it to .236.
Ricky Nolasco was in the clubhouse today packing his belongings before heading to the airport to join his new team, the Dodgers, in Arizona. Nolasco said all the right things about his time with the Marlins and how much he’ll miss his former teammates, but there is no question Nolasco is beyond excited to be heading to L.A. "The phone has been non-stop," said Nolasco, who grew up about an hour east of Dodger Stadium and attended several games a year as a Dodgers fan. "Obviously, I’ve never dealt with anything like that to where the phone was just blowing up. Everybody is just excited, everybody from back home. Even people who don’t have my number, on Twitter and stuff, obviously where I grew up, they’re all excited to see this happen. It’s just an exciting time."
Around the League
Derek Jeter beamed his thousand-watt smile as he crossed home plate at Yankee Stadium for the first time in nearly nine months, scoring his team's first run of the afternoon and gleefully accepting a flurry of congratulatory fist-bumps and high-fives. By the end of the day, Jeter's tone was more muted, as he and the Yankees both await the results of a trip into the MRI tube. With Jeter's help, the Yankees rallied for an 8-4 victory over the Royals in the Bronx, but the 39-year-old was unable to finish the game because of a tight right quadriceps. "It's not frustrating yet. We'll see," Jeter said. "They MRI everything around here. I'm going to get an MRI and we'll find out, but I hope it's not a big deal. I don't ever think anything is a big deal, so I'm hoping for the best."
The same goes for Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who grabbed an early lead and never relinquished it. Freeman will represent the NL as the Final Vote winner and will, along with Delabar, head to New York for All-Star festivities next week. This was a record-setting venture. Baseball fans from around the world turned in an unprecedented 79.2 million votes, surpassing the prior high-mark of 68.6 million set in 2009. Fans also cast 10.2 million of those votes via text messaging this time around. Both Freeman and Puig paced a close race by finishing with more votes than the previous record-holder, Shane Victorino, who netted 15.6 million in 2009. Freeman's total of 19.7 million is the new all-time Final Vote record.
Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is still feeling the effects of last week's collision with the right-field fence in Colorado, and left Thursday night's game against the Rockies after aggravating his left hip. With the Dodgers ahead, 3-0, manager Don Mattingly pulled Puig after seven innings. Andre Ethier replaced the rookie in center field. Mattingly said Puig aggravated his hip running out a single in the fourth inning.
Looks like all the signs and rancor Pirates fans have worked up for the weekend over National League Home Run Derby captain David Wright's exclusion of Pedro Alvarez will go to waste. Alvarez has been added to the NL foursome for Monday night's 2013 Chevrolet Home Run Derby as a replacement for Carlos Gonzalez, who has withdrawn due to a sprain of his right middle finger suffered earlier this week.
At Fish Stripes
The Marlins have agreed to terms with first-round pick Colin Moran, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel.
With Ricky Nolasco out of town, the trade winds roll towards Justin Ruggiano who has been linked to a few potential playoff teams.