Sports Outside the Beltway

Florida Marlins put Pitcher Leo Nunez on restricted list

Who is this man? From AP-

Florida Marlins closer Leo Nunez has been playing under an assumed name, and the issue prompted him to return Thursday to his native Dominican Republic, two people familiar with his immigration status said.

Both people said the Marlins have been aware of the issue for several months. They spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Dominican and team officials haven’t made any public comment on the case.

One of the people said Nunez’s real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo and he’s 29, a year older than listed in the team media guide. The Marlins placed Nunez on Major League Baseball’s restricted list, and he isn’t expected to pitch in the final week of the season.

His agent, Andy Mota, declined to comment. The Marlins traveled Thursday to Milwaukee for their final road series of the season.

Nunez has 36 saves and a 4.06 ERA in 68 games this year. His ERA was 2.59 in late May but is 6.00 since then.

The age of a baseball prospect does matter though one year would seem to be slight. What appears to be the bigger is why Nunez did this deception. Most people will believe he has something to hide, and at this moment in time I have to agree.

Update- Baseball players lying about their age is hardly anything new and something I had totally forgotten about. Other players have weathered this ‘crisis’. Nunez will probably do the same.


Chicago Cubs OF Tyler Colvin hospitalized after being hit by broken bat


Chicago Cubs rookie outfielder Tyler Colvin is in stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after being struck by the end of a shattered bat during the second inning of Sunday’s game against the Marlins.

The bat punctured the left side of Colvin’s chest just below the collarbone. He was taken to the trauma center and underwent a battery of tests, a Cubs spokesman said. Colvin had minimal external bleeding.

Colvin was leading off third base when catcher Wellington Castillo doubled to left field. It appeared he never saw the bat coming as he was watching the ball. Colvin continued toward the plate after being struck, scored the run and headed toward the dugout.

Note- My sister-in-law works as a nurse at Jackson Memorial.

Colvin is all right, which is what matters. Someone may use this an argument for pro baseball to switch to aluminum bats since they are used at all amateur levels. On the other hand, there has never been a MLB player seriously injured by a broken bat. I don’t care either way myself.


Florida Marlins fire Manager Fredi Gonzalez

Coaches Jim Presley and Carlos Tosca were also given the boot. From the Miami Herald-

The Florida Marlins have fired manager Fredi Gonzalez and two coaches.Fredi Gonzalez

Edwin Rodriguez, manager at Triple A New Orleans, has been named interim manager.

“We believe we can do better and be better,” owner Jeffrey Loria said in a written statement. “Everybody knows how I feel about winning. That’s the reason we’re making this change.”

Loria said before the season he had high expectations for the Marlins, who improved to 34-36 with Tuesday night’s victory against the Orioles and are in fourth place in the National League East.

Also let go were hitting coach Jim Presley and bench coach Carlos Tosca.

“We still have a long season in front of us, and plenty of time to turn things around,” Loria said.

The Marlins have been burdened by a poor bullpen and slow starts by two of their top hitters, Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan. Defensively, they continue to rank among the worst fielding teams in the majors.

Gonzalez took over as Marlins manager in 2007 when Joe Girardi was fired after one season. Gonzalez has a record of 276-279 with the Marlins and finished with winning records in 2008 and 2009. He won more games than any manager in Marlins history, including World Series winners Jack McKeon and Jim Leyland.

The Marlins has an owner that till only recently, avoided paying out big bucks for talent. Nevertheless Loria has expected miracles from his managers, and mediocrity or insubordination(Joe Girardi) won’t be tolerated.

I thought the firing of Girardi was dumb. As for mediocrity, what can be expected from a team on a limited budget that always has to pin its hopes on some untried prospect? World Series Rings IMHO can’t be expected under those circumstances.

Before today’s firing, Gonzalez was threatening the record for the longest tenure as Florida Marlin manager. The odd thing is, Gonzalez has managed the most games as Marlins manager. What Florida skipper had a longer tenure but managed a smaller amount of games? The answer is beneath the fold.

All that said, Gonzalez has never impressed me as an in game manager. Last week’s lineup snafu is just one of many blunders Gonzalez made during his tenure. The Marlins needed a skipper who can manage and Gonzalez I’m sorry to say, wasn’t the person for the job.


Florida Marlins put unused perfect game tickets on sale

This sounds like a really bad idea to me. From the Sun-Sentinel-

So you decided not to buy a ticket Saturday and missed Roy Halladay’s perfect game, the 20th in baseball history. Thanks to some outside-the-box thinking in the Marlins’ front office, you can still obtain proof that you were there!

The Marlins are selling tickets to Saturday’s game at the Sun Life Stadium box office and through No discount prices just because you already know the outcome either. The Marlins figured they might sell a couple hundred. Theoretically, since 25,086 were on hand Saturday, they could disperse another 13,474 tickets. Baseball seating capacity at Sun Life Stadium is listed as 38,560.

These tickets aren’t going to be worth more than their face value at this. Some time in the future they could be worth more money. Some people collect all sorts of weird shit. A person who has bought one of the tickets may be able to fool a collector with the tickets.

Another possibility is a person using these tickets as a possible alibi for their real whereabouts. All of this sounds like a twisted television crime drama or novel but successful crooks are some of the most imaginative people around


Roy Halladay Pitches 20th Perfect Game In MLB History

052910_halladay_400Only twenty days after Dallas Braden had pitched a perfect game in Oakand, the Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay accomplished the same feat this evening:

MIAMI (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in major league history, delivering the marquee performance of his All-Star career in a 1-0 win over the Florida Marlins on Saturday night.

It was the second perfect game in the majors this month alone, Dallas Braden doing it for Oakland against Tampa Bay on May 9. It’s the first time in the modern era that there were a pair of perfectos in the same season — Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter, too, in April.

Halladay struck out 11, then got pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino to ground out to end it, and was cheered by a crowd of 25,086 throughout much of the night. While there were a couple of good plays behind him, Halladay didn’t need any great defensive work in this gem.

The 33-year-old righty was a veritable one-man show.

Always stoic on the mound, Halladay (7-3) broke into a big smile as his teammates rushed in to congratulate him.

This is the first perfect game pitched for Philadelphia since Jim Bunning, now a Senator from Kentucky, did it on June 21, 1964. It is also the first time in the modern baseball era that there have been two perfect games pitched in the same season. This did happen once during the 19th Century baseball era; in 1880 when Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs pitched a perfect game on June 12th, and John Montgomery Ward did it for the Providence Grays five days later on June 17th.

Congratulations Roy.


New York Mets and Florida Marlins to play 3 games in Puerto Rico

It sure isn’t New York Met fans who will be losing three popular home games. From AP-

A three-game series between the New York Mets and Florida Marlins in June has been moved from Miami to San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico.

Major League Baseball made the official announcement Thursday.

Florida will remain the home team, and the games will be played June 28-30.

Hiram Bithorn hosted 22 Montreal Expos home games in each of the 2003 and 2004 seasons before the franchise relocated to Washington and was renamed the Nationals. Average attendance dropped from 14,000 in 2003 to 10,000 in 2004.

I have never liked these transplanted games. Not when the Miami Dolphins played a home game in London or when the Florida Panthers played a game in Helsinki. Why are South Florida sports fans being needlessly penalized by pro sports leagues. We only have so many home games against popular teams in a given year. The New York Giants have played in South Florida a grand total of twice in 40 years since the AFL and NFL merged. The Blackhawks haven’t been to South Florida in over 3 years, and the Mets when they visit down here are one of the biggest draws for baseball fans. We get screwed, and I’m sick tired of it.

Up yours Bud Selig. Why not a Brewer game in Puerto Rico?


Florida Marlins sign P Josh Johnson to a 4-year deal

For now, the Florida Marlins are keeping their promise to spend more money on payroll. From the Miami Herald-

Two days after pledging to raise payroll, the Marlins locked up pitcher Josh Johnson to a long-term deal, reaching agreement on a four-year contract that pays $39 million. The deal was confirmed Thursday by the pitcher’s agent, Matt Sosnick.Josh Johnson

“To know where I’m gonna be the next four years, you can’t really put it into words,” Johnson said. “Hopefully I can throw the first pitch in the new ballpark. Not too many people can say that.”

Johnson is the first Marlins pitcher to have a long-term contract since Jeffrey Loria took over as owner in 2002.

The Marlins are buying out Johnson’s final two years of arbitration and also securing his first two years of free agency.


The year-by-year breakdown for Johnson’s contract: $3.75 million in 2010, $7.75 million in 2011, $13.75 million in 2012 and $13.75 million in 2013.

Johnson, who turns 26 on Jan. 31, was the team’s fourth-round draft pick in 2002 and quickly rose through the minor-league ranks before making his debut in ’05.

But he sustained an arm injury toward the end of the 2006 season, and after an unsuccessful comeback bid the following year, underwent elbow ligament replacement surgery on his pitching arm.

Johnson made his way back toward the end of the ’08 season, going 7-1, and confirmed his status as one of the league’s elite pitchers last season when he started the first half of the year with an 8-2 record and a 2.74 ERA. He also earned his first All-Star team selection.

While Johnson pitched very well the last two years, one has to remember he had Tommy John surgery in 2007. He’s 26, and pitchers of that age who undergo serious arm surgery have a greater risk of recurrence.

As for the big deal the Marlins made, they could still try to trade Johnson before those hefty payments have to be made in 2011, 12, and 13. I wouldn’t designate the Johnson signing as a permanent change of team policy quite yet.


Florida Marlins agree to increase team payroll

A complaint by the Players union was what caused the change. From the Miami Herald-

The perennially frugal Florida Marlins have reached an agreement with the players’ union to increase spending in the wake of complaints the team payroll has been so small as to violate baseball’s revenue sharing provisions.

The deal was announced Tuesday in a joint statement by the Marlins, the union and Major League Baseball. The parties did not comment beyond the statement, and it was unclear how much the Marlins’ payroll might increase.

The agreement runs through 2012, when the Marlins’ new ballpark is scheduled to open.

“In response to our concerns that revenue sharing proceeds have not been used as required, the Marlins have assured the union and the commissioner’s office that they plan to use such proceeds to increase player payroll annually as they move toward the opening of their new ballpark,” said Michael Weiner, executive director of the players’ association.

Mediation will be used in case there is any future disagreements.

The Marlins current payroll is 37 million. How much is team owner Jeffrey Loira willing to increase it? I’d really be surprised at any figure more than ten percent. The Marlins have been run on a shoestring since 1998, and the only way I see any real change occurring is if and when the team gets a new owner. The Marlins are supposed to move into a new stadium in 2012, but I would bet the Loira remains thrifty after it opens.

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MLB Pitcher Luis Ayala unharmed after kidnap attempt

He pitched for the Minnesota Twins and Florida Marlins last season and is currently under contract to the Los Angeles Dodgers. From AP-

Relief pitcher Luis Ayala was unharmed during an apparent attempted kidnapping by gunmen at his home in the northern Mexico state of Sinaloa.

Martin Robles, a spokesman for the state prosecutors’ office, said investigators believed Ayala was the intended victim, whom police prevented from being abducted.

Robles said gunmen in three vehicles forced their way into Ayala’s home near the city of Los Mochis on Monday by shooting open the door.

Police arrived at the scene after receiving a call to an emergency number, and soldiers dispatched to the scene apparently scared off the assailants.

Ayala’s family was unhurt but police found him in handcuffs when they arrived.

With the drug related violent crime rampant there at the moment, Mexico might be the last country in this hemisphere I’d want to visit.


Colorado Rockies sign C Miguel Olivo

He played for the Kansas City Royals last season. From AP-

The Colorado Rockies and catcher Miguel Olivo agreed to a $2.5 million, one-year contract Monday that includes a club option for 2011.

Olivo will share catching duties with Chris Iannetta. Free agent Yorvit Torrealba wanted to return to the Rockies but the sides couldn’t reach a deal this offseason.

Olivo hit .249 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs in 114 games for the Kansas City Royals last season, when he served as AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke’s catcher for 31 of his 33 starts. He threw out 18 of 74 base stealers, a 24.3 percent mark that ranked third in the AL.

The well traveled 31-year-old veteran plays good defense and has power which but doesn’t hit for average and has very low on base percentages. I see the one-year signing as a plus for Colorado


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