Giancarlo make another appearance on MTV2 Off the Bat, and didn't damage a car this time.
The Marlins have been looking all over for bullpen help, in the form of washed-up former closers. According to Ken Rosenthal, Jim Johnson was on the list of possible targets to fill the Marlin’s setup role.
It might not seem like it to the average baseball fan who has seen Adeiny Hechavarria make many a sterling defensive play, but in the eyes of his position coach and those who measure fielding metrics there's still plenty of room for the Marlins' shortstop to grow. And in Wednesday's thrilling 5-4 win over the Rays, a game where Hechavarria made seven assists and turned three big double plays, Marlins infield coach Perry Hill saw growth were most others probably couldn't.
Mike Redmond is feeling better about his bullpen, not only because he got three scoreless innings in Monday’s series opening win against the Rays, but because help is on the way. Miami officially announced the signing of veteran Kevin Gregg Tuesday, the second reliever the Marlins added this week, joining Bryan Morris, who came over from the Pirates for a draft pick. "The bullpen has been a concern and it’s great we made a trade and signed a guy and now hopefully these pieces come to together and help us and give us a chance to win ballgames," Redmond said.
Second baseman Derek Dietrich was optioned to Class AAA New Orleans following the Marlins’ 1-0 victory over the Rays Tuesday. Dietrich has struggled in the field all season. He has eight errors and has been bailed out a few times by first baseman Garrett Jones on errant throws. The move could clear the way for Rafael Furcal to make his Marlins debut after signing a $3.5 million contract in the off season.
This coming three-game set at Wrigley Field is like a reunion weekend of Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins alumni. Four different Marlins have ties to the Cubs, who drafted Casey McGehee (2003) and Justin Bour (2009). McGehee made his major league debut for the Cubs in 2008. Jeff Baker (2009-’12) and Reed Johnson (2008-’09 and 2011-’12) also called Wrigley Field home for a while. The Marlins plucked Bour off the Cubs’ Double-A Tennessee roster in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft last December. Bour wasn’t even aware he was draft eligible.
As soon as he saw the business end of Giancarlo Stanton’s broken bat strike Casey McGehee in the on-deck circle Tuesday, Baker flashed back to Sept. 19, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium. Baker was a Cubs teammate of Tyler Colvin, who was on third base when a broken bat impaled in his chest. Colvin, who missed the season's final three weeks, suffered a collapsed lung and was hospitalized before ultimately driving home to South Carolina.
Marlins' pitching coach Chuck Hernandez's eyes' reddened and his voice softened as he began speaking about Don Zimmer after Wednesday's 5-4 win at Tropicana Field. A baseball icon who devoted 66 years to the game, Zimmer passed away in Dunedin at the age of 83. Growing up in Tampa and during his time in the Rays' organization, Hernandez developed a special relationship with Zimmer.
Rookie catcher J.T. Realmuto, making his Major League debut, delivered two hits and drove in three runs, and Giancarlo Stanton belted his National League-leading 17th home run of the season Thursday as the Marlins won their 12th Interleague game in a row, 11-6, over the reeling Rays, who have now lost 10 straight. With the victory, Miami moved into a tie for first place in the National League East with idle Atlanta.
Marlins rookies Justin Bour and J.T. Realmuto both made their Major League debuts Thursday. And manager Mike Redmond was as excited about it as his two players. "This is the fun part of managing -- being able to watch guys in their Major League debuts," Redmond said before Bour, Realmuto and the rest of the Marlins took the field in the Citrus Series finale against the Rays. "This is something they'll never forget. I told them to just relax and have fun. Just allow their ability and talent to come forward.
Nathan Eovaldi's fastball is one of the fastest in the Majors, and the Marlins right-hander should be able to use that to his advantage when he faces the Cubs for the first time in his career on Friday at Wrigley Field. The Cubs had the lowest batting average against fastballs of any team in baseball at .234 coming into Thursday night's game against the Mets. Eovaldi's fastball has averaged 95.8 mph this year, and he's held batters to a .244 clip with it.
Around The League
Carlos Rodon, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound left-handed throwing standout from North Carolina State, was selected No. 3 overall by the White Sox in the first round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft on Thursday.
He never earned a paycheck that wasn't from baseball. That was the quiet boast of the 83-year-old character called Zip and Zim and Zimmie and Popeye who died on Wednesday in Dunedin, Fla. His legacy, though, was immeasurable.
Erick Fedde, a righty from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, went 18th overall to the Nationals in the Draft on Thursday night, joining the Blue Jays' No. 9 overall pick, righty Jeff Hoffman from East Carolina, as first-round selections who recently went under the knife to repair their torn ulnar collateral ligaments.
For the second time in three years, the Astros selected a 17-year-old with the top pick in the First-Year Player Draft. The Astros on Thursday tabbed left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken from Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego with the top pick, making it the second year in a row the club took a pitcher with the first selection.
At Fish Stripes
The Miami Marlins will be participating in a critical 2014 MLB Draft tonight. Here is all you need to know to follow along with tonight's proceedings here at Fish Stripes.
With the second overall pick in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft, the Miami Marlins selected Tyler Kolek out of Shepherd High School in Texas.
The Miami Marlins make a surprising move in the competitive balance round, as the Fish use the 36th pick in the draft to take West Lauderdale High School catcher Blake Anderson.
The Miami Marlins went for another high-variance selection, as they targeted multi-sport star and freak athlete Justin Twine with the 43rd pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.
Blake Anderson, a high school catcher out of West Lauderdale High School in Collinsville, MS, gets selected by the Marlins with the 36th pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.