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Bour homers, but Marlins can't bail out Koehler

Righty creates early hole with two-out runs; rookie hits first, plates two

Bour homers, but Marlins can't bail out Koehler play video for Bour homers, but Marlins can't bail out Koehler

MIAMI -- The Marlins had moments to savor. Justin Bour blasted his first big league home run, showing the kind of power the team has seen in batting practice but not in a game until Friday night. And Tom Koehler worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam.

But it was the Nationals who did what was necessary to pick up another valuable win. Doug Fister allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings and Adam LaRoche blasted a two-run homer as Washington edged Miami, 3-2, at Marlins Park.

"Those guys put the balls in the seats. That's what they do," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "If you're at the middle of that order, they've got what, four guys with 80 RBIs? Those guys can do some damage."

The Marlins have dropped the first two in the four-game set, and they moved to the brink of being mathematically eliminated from the postseason. With Pittsburgh's win over Milwaukee on Friday night, Miami's elimination number is now one.

Even if the Marlins win on Saturday, they can be eliminated if the Pirates also win.

At 74-79 with nine games remaining, the Marlins are a half-game ahead of the Mets for third place in the National League East.

But Miami is showing flashes, and Bour was a bright spot. In his 46th MLB at-bat, the 26-year-old connected on his first home run. It was an impressive blast to right-center that reached the second deck. The ball deflected back onto the field, where right fielder Jayson Werth collected it and flipped it into the Marlins' bullpen, giving the Miami first baseman a keepsake.

"It's not as enjoyable as if we had won," said Bour, who belted 18 homers at Triple-A New Orleans this year. "But it's definitely very cool, and I'm very excited that it happened. It took a little longer than I thought it would. But I'm glad it did."

Koehler worked five innings, giving up three runs, but his night was over after 98 pitches. The Nationals grabbed the early lead against him on LaRoche's two-out, two-run homer to right in the first. Koehler was hurt by a two-out walk to Werth. LaRoche capped an eight-pitch at-bat with his 25th homer of the season, bumping up his RBI total to 88.

"First inning, a two-out walk, followed by going 3-2 to a guy and grooving him a fastball," Koehler said. "He hasn't missed many this year. I kind of put the team behind the eight ball right after the first."

Miami got on the board in the second when Marcell Ozuna tripled and scored on Bour's RBI groundout to third.

Because of his power potential from the left side, Bour is an interesting prospect for Miami. Down the stretch, he is expected to receive more playing time, which should help his overall development heading into Spring Training.

"This guy hit a lot of home runs in the Minor Leagues, and we'll see," Redmond said. "We'll try to get him as many at-bats as we can, and we'll see what he can do up here against big league pitching. He's a big strong guy. He has a lot of power. We'll see how it plays up here."

In the third, Koehler loaded the bases with no outs, but got out of the jam by striking out LaRoche looking at a breaking ball before Ian Desmond lined sharply to Enrique Hernandez. The Miami second baseman dashed to second to complete the inning-ending double play.

Washington, however, padded its lead to 3-1 in the fourth on Denard Span's two-out RBI single.

"I think it comes back more to the fact that I wasn't executing my pitches throughout the at-bats," Koehler said. "There were some situations where I made some pitches when I needed to get out of some jams, but I fell behind a lot. I didn't throw quality breaking balls for strikes. Any time you do that against a lineup like that, you're going to get in trouble. You've got to work harder."

Bour's homer was the last bit of damage the Marlins were able to do off Fister.

"I definitely wasn't as sharp as I should've been," Fister said. "There were some hard-hit balls that our guys made some great plays on. That's a tribute to our defense. Guys put together a lot of good at-bats today. We stuck together and played as a team, and it works for us. We grind out the one-run ballgames and make them work."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Excited Fernandez cleared for throwing program

Coming back from Tommy John surgery, Marlins ace to toss from 30 feet on Oct. 1

Excited Fernandez cleared for throwing program play video for Excited Fernandez cleared for throwing program

MIAMI -- A familiar face was loosening his glove and shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice on Friday afternoon at Marlins Park. Jose Fernandez was once again where he's most comfortable: on the baseball field with a ball in his hand.

In 12 days, Fernandez can start working once again on the craft of pitching, as the Marlins' ace has been cleared to begin his throwing program. The date will be Oct. 1, when the 22-year-old can start throwing, initially for a few minutes from 30 feet. At that point, Fernandez will gradually build up from the Tommy John surgery that ended his season on May 16.

Fernandez spent Wednesday and Thursday in Los Angeles being examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, the orthopedic surgeon who performed his right elbow surgery. ElAttrache officially cleared Fernandez, the 2013 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner who likely will be back in big league action around the All-Star break next year.

"A lot of good news came out of that visit," Fernandez said. "I'm really excited. I'm feeling great. I feel like I didn't have the surgery, so I think that's good news. The good news is everything is good."

An exact timeline has yet to be determined. Generally, 14 months is the recommended amount, but that doesn't mean it can't be a little shorter or longer.

"I think we're going on how we feel," Fernandez said.

Fernandez doesn't want to build any false hope, so he is taking a cautious approach when pinpointing an exact date for his return.

"I don't want to get disappointed in myself, and basically whatever day it is, I would love for it to be a home game," Fernandez said. "I would prefer that, but if it's in Canada, I don't mind. I just want to be pitching and help my team and give my team a chance to win."

Since he has been out, Fernandez has routinely stopped by Marlins Park. When he can, he regularly has stood in the outfield during batting practice, running down balls and throwing them back with his left hand.

When October rolls around, Fernandez plans on being in Miami to start his throwing program.

Being ready for Opening Day seems highly unrealistic, but when it comes to injuries, each recovery time is different. Fernandez said he could be ready for the opener, or may be not until September..

"It will depend on how I feel," he said. "The last month, I feel like I didn't have the surgery. I feel 100 percent. We'll go with a plan and try to follow what they say."

Fernandez made eight starts this season, and he was 4-2 with a 2.44 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings when his right elbow gave up during a start in San Diego on May 9.

The Marlins will give Fernandez the necessary time to come back completely ready.

"I learned a long time ago that whenever you're dealing with injuries, you don't speculate," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "We listen to our medical staff, we follow their direction. We know it's a process. We're extremely happy with where he is at this moment and the work he's put in with the early stages of his rehab. But there is still a number of steps to go. We're cautiously optimistic."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["injury" ] }

Groin discomfort to sideline Morris for rest of season

Groin discomfort to sideline Morris for rest of season play video for Groin discomfort to sideline Morris for rest of season

MIAMI -- The discomfort reached the point where the Marlins no longer thought the risk was worth it. So on Friday, reliever Bryan Morris was shut down for the rest of the season.

Morris has dealt with a left groin strain since Aug. 23 at Colorado. The right-hander made four appearances since then, with the last on Sept. 9 at Milwaukee. But the club became concerned watching the setup reliever laboring to field his position.

"He was trying to [gut] it out, and we were trying to protect him and keep his innings limited, pitches limited," manager Mike Redmond said. "His last time in Milwaukee, when he had to come off the mound two or three times to field bunts, it really irritated it. That's it. We need to get this guy healthy."

The Marlins acquired Morris from the Pirates in early June for a Competitive Balance pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

With Miami, Morris became valuable in a late-inning role, going 4-1 with a 0.66 ERA in 33 appearances, with 36 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings. Counting his numbers with the Pirates, Morris was 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 64 1/3 innings this season.

"He did a great job for us coming over here from Pittsburgh, really stabilizing our bullpen and giving us another big arm down there," Redmond said. "We owe a lot of our success in the second half of the season to him and that bullpen. It's been a big part and will play a big part going forward."

Chris Hatcher and Sam Dyson have assumed more of late-inning roles to go along with A.J. Ramos and Mike Dunn.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Cosart faces Zimmermann in first meeting with Nats

Nats righty, who has 10 straight quality starts, opposes sharp Cosart

Cosart faces Zimmermann in first meeting with Nats play video for Cosart faces Zimmermann in first meeting with Nats

As the Nationals continue their pursuit of playing at home throughout October, they turn Saturday to Jordan Zimmermann, who has been sharp in D.C. and on the road as part of a career year.

Washington is 1 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers for the National League's best record and home-field advantage in the postseason. On Saturday, Zimmermann will take the mound in Miami against Jarred Cosart of the Marlins.

Zimmermann has posted a career-best 2.83 ERA and a 6.00 K/BB ratio in 2014 -- 6-2, 2.81 ERA at home and 6-3, 2.84 ERA on the road. He's allowed three earned runs or fewer in his last 10 starts, and he tossed 6 2/3 shutout frames Sunday against the Mets. He was in trouble in three different innings, but worked his way out of it.

"It's just a sign of a veteran pitcher that knows what he is doing out there," manager Matt Williams said.

Cosart, meanwhile, has pitched at a top-of-the-rotation level since he was acquired from the Astros on July 31. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 2.05 ERA in eight starts with Miami. And this will be his first meeting against the Nationals.

Counting his numbers with Houston, Cosart is 13-9 with a 3.67 ERA in 28 starts and 169 innings. The right-hander has been a big reason the Marlins hung around as long as they did in the NL Wild Card chase. Miami's elimination number from the playoff hunt is one.

"We never think we're out of it," Cosart said. "We're just grinding together as a team, trying to finish out the season strong. It's baseball. Anything can happen. We're trying to stay out of looking at the standings. But if we keep winning, and keep putting ourselves in good position ... if not for this year, then for next year."

Marlins: Clubhouse support for McGehee, Hechavarria, Stanton
The Marlins are united in their support of their teammates. The players passed around T-shirts pushing infielders Casey McGehee and Adeiny Hechavarria for NL Gold Glove Awards, and injured star Giancarlo Stanton for NL MVP.

The campaigning has officially begun, as the team is trying to spread the credentials of their standout players.

"I think it's great for our guys to get some press," manager Mike Redmond said. "Those are guys who have had great years. You think about Hech and how much he's improved offensively, especially from last year to this year. Casey McGehee, what he's been able to come in here and do and help our ballclub. And Stanton too. Whenever you have successful years on the field, you have guys that had great years, tremendous efforts. We've had that from a lot of guys and a great team to go with it."

Nationals: Zimmerman could return this weekend
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman could be activated from the disabled list as early as Saturday. He was rehabbing from a Grade 3 hamstring strain at the team's facility in Viera, Fla., from Tuesday until he joined the team at Marlins Park on Friday. He hasn't played since July 22.

"He's answered every question down there. The question would be whether he would play [Saturday] here, or whether he needs a day," Williams said on Friday. "He won't play there anymore."

Zimmerman has played first, third and left field while accumulating 30 at-bats in simulated games over the last few days.

"He's had to run down to first and try to beat a grounder," Williams said. "He's had to play in the infield and the outfield and go to the gap and chase down a ball, and do all the things that he has to do anyway. I think he's ready to go."

Worth noting:
• The Marlins had team photo day on Friday. The biggest no-show was Stanton, who continues to be evaluated after sustaining multiple facial fractures. Stanton is expected to be Photoshopped into the picture.

• Marlins righty Nathan Eovaldi will remain in the rotation and pitch Sunday's series finale against the Nationals.

• Marlins reliever Bryan Morris has been shut down due to a left groin strain. Chris Hatcher has assumed a late-inning setup role.

Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Stanton upbeat, thankful hit to face wasn't worse

Marlins slugger speaks to media one week after sustaining fractures, dental damage

Stanton upbeat, thankful hit to face wasn't worse play video for Stanton upbeat, thankful hit to face wasn't worse

MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton's season may be over, but the National League Most Valuable Player Award candidate remains upbeat and optimistic about a full recovery from facial fractures he suffered a week ago at Milwaukee.

Meeting with the media Thursday night for the first time since being struck in the face by a pitch, Stanton said he anticipates being ready for Spring Training, and the Marlins slugger plans on wearing a helmet with an extension to protect his face when he steps back into the batter's box.

"The swelling is way down," Stanton said. "Much better than I envisioned. Just got to get the grill fixed and go from there."

Full recovery will take six to eight weeks. In the meantime, the 24-year-old slugger will have an additional CT scan to determine when he will be cleared to fly. He also has more dental appointments.

If possible, Stanton wanted to return to at least get another at-bat before the regular season ended. But he wasn't medically cleared.

"I would have, for sure," Stanton said. "I know you see the initial bang and think, 'There is no way he could come back.' But if physically it was possible, I would have been the first to do so."

With the severity of the injuries sustained from taking an 88-mph Mike Fiers fastball on the left side of his face, Stanton understands his situation could have been much worse.

"I was really fortunate," he said. "I could have my mouth wired shut now. I could have a plate in my face. I could have a lot of things. I'll take a few missing teeth over all of that."

Stanton did suffer a fracture to his orbital bone, but it didn't impair his vision.

"You hear about people losing their eye, or you lose vision," he said. "My jaw can be broken. I can lose as many teeth. As long as I'm able to see, that's the big career thing."

Admittedly, Stanton isn't sure what to expect the next time he faces a pitcher.

"I've wondered about that," Stanton said. "I think I'm in a great mental state for what has gone on. But to be able to be back into the box, and in competition, I'm not quite sure. I think when we decide the protection that will be on, I'll have more reassurance wearing that. I don't know."

Stanton spoke with reporters shortly before the Marlins faced the Nationals on Thursday night. He didn't want to be videoed of have any photos taken. Much of the swelling has subsided, but Stanton is sporting two black eyes and has a swollen left side of the mouth.

Since the incident, Stanton and Fiers have exchanged some text messages.

"He said, obviously, it wasn't on purpose," Stanton said. "He said how sorry he was. It's been tough to sleep the first few nights and stuff. It was a good message."

The Marlins have kept Stanton in their thoughts throughout, and they have hung his No. 27 jersey in their dugout.

"That was awesome, too. That was really cool," Stanton said. "I've seen it done before, but you never think your jersey would be there. The support from the team has been unbelievable."

Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward, who wears a protective guard on his helmet after being hit in the face by a pitch, also reached out to the Marlins star. Heyward gave Stanton advice on what kinds of foods he could be eating, as well as some words of encouragement.

Stanton's goal was to play in all 162 games, but his season was cut short at 145. He paces the NL in homers with 37, and he has also driven in 105 runs.

"I obviously wanted the full season," Stanton said. "This is a little different situation. If it would have been a muscle or something that has been previous, I would have been extremely upset about it. This isn't one of those things in the ballpark of what I put in my mind. I'm not as worried about it. I would have loved to. This is a little different."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Two-out Nationals barrage hands Hand loss

Lefty allows five two-out runs after error in fourth; Miami stifled by Gio

Two-out Nationals barrage hands Hand loss play video for Two-out Nationals barrage hands Hand loss

MIAMI -- With their National League Wild Card elimination number rapidly approaching, the Marlins realize they may not be making playoff plans in October. But they still can have a say in the postseason picture, especially when it comes to where the National League East-winning Nationals will be seeded.

Washington is striving to retain the best record in the league, and it moved another step closer with a 6-2 victory over Miami on Thursday night at Marlins Park.

The Marlins can play the role of spoiler while also boosting their chances for a winning season. In order to do so, they will have to execute better than they did in the series opener. Miami was unable to complete a pickoff play and had an error on a night Washington slapped out 11 hits.

"This team that we're playing, they're going to the playoffs," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "We've got to play perfect baseball. We can't give them extra outs. We've got to score runs when we can. We weren't able to do that."

Brad Hand was perfect through three innings before the game got away from him in the fourth, when Washington used five straight two-out hits to claim a 5-1 lead.

On a night that was shaping up so nicely, Hand ended up exiting after five innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts.

"I left some pitches up where they could get the bat to it when I was ahead in the count," Hand said. "Other than that, the balls were just finding the right spot."

Given ample run support, Gio Gonzalez cruised through seven innings. The lefty struck out five and allowed two runs.

"He's pitched really well against us the last couple of games, no doubt," Redmond said. "We got on him early, and that was about it. We weren't able to get a whole lot going all night."

Gonzalez, from nearby Hialeah, was pitching in front of a number of friends and family members.

"I think that whole section [behind the on-deck circle] was bought out," Gonzalez said. "A lot of that came from my back pocket. It's one of those things that you don't mind pulling out the AmEx card for."

The quick-strike ability of the Nationals was demonstrated in the fourth inning. With one out, Anthony Rendon singled. Hand struck out Jayson Werth for the second out and actually had Rendon picked off, but the throw from first baseman Jeff Baker to shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria sailed into the outfield. It was ruled a stolen base.

The damage was done right after, as Wilson Ramos ripped an RBI double, Ian Desmond had a run-scoring single, Bryce Harper singled and Asdrubal Cabrera collected an RBI single. Capping the big inning was Kevin Frandsen's two-run single.

"You've just got to mix it up against them and keep the ball down," Hand said. "I left some pitches up and they got the bat to the ball."

Thursday opened Miami's final homestand, and it was the first time the team has seen All-Star Giancarlo Stanton since he was struck on the face by a pitch on Sept. 11.

Before taking the field, Stanton saw his teammates, which created an emotional scene.

"He's a huge part of this team and a huge part of this clubhouse," Redmond said. "Emotionally, it was really tough for us to see him get hurt the way he did, and for his season to end the way it did. But it's great to see him. I know all the guys were fired up to get a chance to talk to him."

Miami initially took the lead with a run in the second on Reed Johnson's RBI double. In the sixth, Baker had an infield run-scoring single. But the club finished with six hits, and left four on base.

"It was just one of those nights," Redmond said.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Marlins hold off Mets, end trip with series win

Road swing ends at 5-5 with enough help at plate, in field for Alvarez

Marlins hold off Mets, end trip with series win play video for Marlins hold off Mets, end trip with series win

NEW YORK -- An emotional and exhausting road trip for the Marlins actually ended on a high. Christian Yelich delivered an RBI double and Henderson Alvarez set the tone by holding the Mets to two runs in six innings on Wednesday night in Miami's 4-3 win at Citi Field.

By taking two of three in the series, the Marlins salvaged a 5-5 road trip that started off with All-Star Giancarlo Stanton being struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee. The impact of Stanton's season-ending injury weighed on the club through stops at Philadelphia and New York.

"No doubt this was an emotional trip for us, losing G, and all that we were going through," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "To come in there and keep battling and get a big win and win the series here, that's huge."

With the victory, the Marlins moved two games ahead of the Mets for third place in the National League East. New York won the season series, 8-11.

Until they are mathematically eliminated from the NL Wild Card race, the Marlins will keep playing as if they are in it.

"It's good to finish off this long road trip on a high note and get a road series here," Yelich said. "It's no secret to anybody in here where we stand. We're going to keep playing as hard as we can until they tell us we're out of it. But we're not out of it until we're out of it. That's kind of been our mindset all year: Never give up and keep fighting."

After slapping out 13 hits, and scoring just one run in Tuesday's 9-1 loss, the Marlins' offense got off to a more productive start on Wednesday. Mets starter Dillon Gee gave up four runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

In the first inning, Miami scored two runs on four hits off Gee. Donovan Solano flared a single to right, starting a string of four consecutive hits. Casey McGehee singled up the middle, and Marcell Ozuna's single to left loaded the bases.

With Garrett Jones at the plate, Gee was charged with a wild pitch on a pitch that actually redirected off the tip of Jones' left shoe. Solano scored, and Mets manager Terry Collins asked if it should have been a hit by pitch. Jones never flinched, and the wild pitch stood.

Jones topped an infield RBI single to third, and Miami had a two-run advantage.

"I have not ever seen Dillon Gee miss around the strike zone -- the ball is up and in, up and in, up and in to right-handed hitters," Collins said.

In the second inning, Solano's RBI single scored Yelich, who walked and stole second, putting Miami ahead, 3-0.

Miami's defense also came up big with Ozuna in center, Jones at first and Adeiny Hechavarria making big plays.

The Mets used a two-out, two-run single by Lucas Duda in the fifth inning to close the gap to 3-2. Alvarez put himself in a bind when he allowed a one-out single to Gee, who had been 0-for-35 on the season, and 0-for-41 dating back to last year. A two-out walk to Travis d'Arnaud loaded the bases for Duda, who singled crisply to center.

New York had a chance for more, but with two outs, Wilmer Flores, who had two homers and drove in six runs on Tuesday, lifted a long fly ball to left-center. Ozuna raced over from his center-field spot and made a leaping catch at the wall, likely saving two runs.

"I left some pitches up in the zone today," Alvarez said. "I have a great defense, and they were able to back me up today. I was grateful for the play that Ozuna made. It helped me get out of that inning."

Yelich's RBI double off lefty Josh Edgin with two outs in the seventh inning padded Miami's lead to two runs, and it became the difference.

Without Stanton's power in the middle of the order, the team is scratching for runs. The team also has dealt with the letdown of losing a popular player to a horrific injury.

"It hasn't been easy the last few days, but it is part of it," Yelich said. "You've got to deal with that kind of stuff throughout the year. That's why this game is so tough. It comes at you every day. You've got to be able to deal with it."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Fernandez could start throwing program Oct. 1

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MIAMI -- Months of being on no-throw status could be coming to an end for Marlins ace Jose Fernandez. The 22-year-old spent Thursday in Los Angeles being examined by Dr. Neal ElAttrache to see if he will be cleared to begin his throwing program on Oct. 1.

Fernandez underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on May 16, and his recovery is expected to be around 14 months. Miami manager Mike Redmond said he didn't have an exact timeline of the hard-throwing right-hander's return, but those around the team expect it to be around the 2015 All-Star Game.

"Jose is out seeing Dr. ElAttrache to see if he will be cleared to start his throwing program on Oct. 1," Redmond said Thursday afternoon. "That's exciting news. We'll see what the outcome of that is."

ElAttrache performed the surgery seven days after Fernandez made his last appearance of 2014, a five-inning, five-run performance at San Diego.

The 2013 National League Rookie of the Year, Fernandez has made just eight starts this season, posting a 4-2 record with a 2.44 ERA. He struck out 70 in 51 2/3 innings, which were the most in the National League at the time he went down.

As a rookie, Fernandez established himself as one of the top starters in the game. And he was hopeful of following up his first-year performance with a run at being a Cy Young Award winner.

He didn't get that chance after his ligament gave out.

Fernandez has been around the team in recent weeks. Often he would retrieve balls hit into the outfield during batting practice. But when he would throw the balls in, he would use his non-throwing, or left arm.

"Time-wise, he's right on schedule," Redmond said. "It's too tough to put a timeline on [his return to MLB games] right now. But this is really another step in getting him back on the field. I haven't talked to him, but I'm sure he's anxiously awaiting his clearances, so he can start playing catch. This is really the first step in getting him back on the field."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Marlins shut down Stanton for rest of 2014

NL MVP candidate expected to make full recovery for Spring Training

Marlins shut down Stanton for rest of 2014 play video for Marlins shut down Stanton for rest of 2014

NEW YORK -- Along with putting up MVP-caliber numbers, Giancarlo Stanton was also having one of the greatest power-hitting seasons in Marlins history. Now, instead of chasing records, the 24-year-old will have to wait until next year to regain his game-changing form.

As expected, the Marlins on Wednesday announced the two-time All-Star right fielder is being shut down for the remainder of 2014. After being examined by team doctors in Miami on Tuesday, it was determined the slugger's facial injuries need more time to heal.

"As soon as the injury happened, the most important thing was obviously his health," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "That was always at the forefront. We wanted to make sure he received the best care he possibly could get from the second he was carted off the field."

Stanton, who was striving to play in all 162 games, had his goal cut short after he was struck on the face by a Mike Fiers pitch on Sept. 11 at Milwaukee.

The gruesome injury occurred in the fifth inning when Fiers' 88-mph fastball ran up and in and drilled Stanton on the left side of his cheek.

Stanton suffered multiple facial fractures and lacerations that required more than 20 stitches. Several teeth were compromised, and a plastic surgeon was immediately brought in to help repair the left side of Stanton's face.

Even though his regular season is over, the Marlins are hopeful Stanton will be able to get at least one at-bat in an instructional league game at the team's Spring Training complex in Jupiter, Fla. That season runs through the first week of October.

Hill noted that Rawlings is working on three models of helmets that include protection for the face.

"He's made tremendous progress," Hill said. "But there was still some swelling, then the multiple fractures. There just wasn't enough time, not enough schedule, to get him back on the field."

In the aftermath, the Marlins have rallied around the NL MVP candidate, displaying his No. 27 jersey in their dugout during games.

Until Wednesday, the team had been hopeful for a miraculous return. Stanton hadn't given up on playing again in 2014, and neither had the club.

The best-case scenario included Stanton getting back into the batter's box to start the mental recovery of once again seeing live pitching.

The team wasn't intending to let Stanton play defense or run the bases; his role would have been as a pinch-hitter. If he had reached base, he would be removed for a pinch-runner.

No Marlins player has won the National League Most Valuable Player Award, home run title or RBI title. Stanton had a chance to accomplish all three this season.

Now, MVP voters will have to determine if Stanton did enough in his 145 games to earn the NL's top individual honor.

Stanton has since slipped to second in RBIs with 105. But with 37 home runs, he still has a chance to finish first in that category.

In the coming days, Stanton has some more appointments and more dental work, but he is expected to be fully ready for Spring Training.

The Marlins plan on retaining the slugger for 2015, and they're expected to approach him with a multiyear contract offer.

"We're hopeful that the season will end and he will be named MVP of the league, and we'll get back into our offseason preparation and hopefully our long-term discussions with him," Hill said.

The Marlins' single-season home run record is 42, set by Gary Sheffield in 1996. Stanton could have challenged that total, but he instead finishes up matching his own personal best. In 2012, he also belted 37 homers, the second most in team history.

"To see his growth and development as a player from last year to this year has been fun to watch," manager Mike Redmond said. "To see him the last month or so, as the games continued to mount with us trying to make the playoffs, you really saw him kind of blossom."

Stanton finishes the season with a .288 average, a .395 on-base percentage and a .555 slugging percentage.

Stanton walked 94 times, the fourth most in team history, and his 170 strikeouts are the third highest.

"Everything is going well for him," Redmond said of Stanton. "There isn't enough time for him to come back. At the end, it comes down to the doctors and making sure we get him properly healed for next year, and for Spring Training."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["prospect" ] }

Nicolino, Realmuto win Minor League awards

Left-hander, catcher named Pitcher of the Year, Player of the Year

Nicolino, Realmuto win Minor League awards play video for Nicolino, Realmuto win Minor League awards

NEW YORK -- A philosophical change in direction is a major reason one of the Marlins' top pitching prospects did not get promoted to the big leagues this summer. Instead of placing Justin Nicolino on the fast track, the club opted to let the lefty get a full season of development at Double-A Jacksonville.

It paid off with a Southern League championship, along with valuable experience commanding the strike zone. Nicolino received another honor on Monday, when he was named the Marlins' Minor League Pitcher of the Year. J.T. Realmuto, currently on the big league club, was the organization's Player of the Year.

Realmuto, a catcher who batted .299 at Jacksonville, has already got a taste of the big leagues. Nicolino's turn will have to be next season, at the earliest.

"We made the decision, when we can slow certain guys down, because you don't have to rush them," Marlins general manager Dan Jennings said. "You can give them that full year of development at one level, with one pitching coach. I think it maximized the year for Nicolino."

The lefty made 28 starts in the regular season for Jacksonville, and he finished with a 14-4 record and a 2.85 ERA. In 170 1/3 innings, he struck out 81 and walked 20.

When Michael Hill was promoted to president of baseball operations and Jennings to general manager at the end of 2013, the organization changed its thinking about rushing prospects. Previously, the franchise moved players quickly, often directly from Double-A to the big leagues.

Nicolino, ranked the Marlins' No. 4 prospect by MLB.com, may have fallen into that category in the past. But now, he was allowed to develop at his own pace.

Lefty Andrew Heaney, the club's top prospect, also was moved along slowly. Like Nicolino, Heaney started the season at Double-A. But Heaney was moved up to Triple-A New Orleans before making his big league debut in late June. Heaney had four starts in the Majors, and he was sent back to New Orleans in early July after he was struggled.

In Nicolino's case, he isn't overpowering, reflected by his strikeouts-to-innings rate.

"He's got a nice fastball, but it's not a plus fastball," Jennings said. "I think when you look at his overall body of work, 14 wins, what he did in the playoffs ... the guys who saw him in the playoffs said he took another step forward in the postseason.

"I think he's learning the importance of commanding in strike zone with all of his pitches. That's what he's going to be. He's going to be that guy who can add or subtract a little bit. That's where his success is going to come, to be able to command in the strike zone."

Realmuto, ranked Miami's No. 7 prospect, is gaining some big league experience in the final two weeks.

"It's been an eventful last three days, that's for sure," Realmuto said. "Winning a title with those guys was an unbelievable experience. Being called up, obviously, is a dream come true. And finding out I won Player of the Year. You can't really ask for much more to end my year."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["prospect" ] }

Cishek deeply honored by Clemente Award nomination

Cishek deeply honored by Clemente Award nomination play video for Cishek deeply honored by Clemente Award nomination

NEW YORK -- Steve Cishek doesn't seek much individual attention, but the Marlins closer fully embraces the honor of being named Miami's 2014 nominee for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.

Major League Baseball announced each team's nominee on Tuesday, to the surprise of the unassuming 28-year-old right-hander.

"It's an awesome award," Cishek said. "It's something I'm really thankful for; to have your name tied in with Roberto Clemente is a humongous honor. It's probably the greatest award I've ever received. The way he demonstrated himself on and off the field, it is something every player wants."

The Marlins will recognize Cishek's nomination pregame at Marlins Park on Sunday before they face the Nationals.

Cishek is one of the 30 club finalists for the annual honor, which recognizes an MLB player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

The past three seasons, Cishek has served as the spokesperson for the Bunkers in Baghdad program, which provides golf supplies to the troops.

"It piqued my interest because I like golf, but I talked to one of my friends who is on a naval ship," Cishek said. "I told him about the organization, and he was just ecstatic about it. It surprised me.

"He said, 'Anytime we can get something sent from back home, it means the world to us, because we've been on the ocean for three to six months.'"

Bunkers in Baghdad is a not-for-profit charity that collects and sends new and used golf balls, clubs and equipment to United States troops in 30 countries around the world.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Eovaldi could lose rotation job for rest of year

Eovaldi could lose rotation job for rest of year

NEW YORK -- The tale of two halves has the Marlins considering finding a replacement for Nathan Eovaldi in the rotation. Eovaldi endured another tough loss on Tuesday night, giving up six runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 9-1 loss to the Mets at Citi Field.

Since the All-Star break, the hard-throwing right-hander is 1-8 with a 6.04 ERA. It's a dramatic turnaround from his 5-4 mark with a 3.61 ERA in the first half.

Eovaldi's rotation spot comes up on Sunday at Marlins Park against the Nationals. But the club has not announced whether he will start.

"We need to get him better," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said Wednesday. "It's been a struggle, a battle for him in the second half."

Miami's No. 2 starter when the season opened, Eovaldi is 6-12 with a 4.48 ERA in 31 starts this year. He's logged a career-high 186 2/3 innings, compared to 106 1/3 innings last year when he missed the first few months with a right shoulder injury.

Manager Mike Redmond, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and general manager Dan Jennings have taken part in conversations of what to do next.

"Obviously, he's in uncharted waters with his innings," Hill said. "We've talked internally. We'll see where we go with his situation."

Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani are options to start if Eovaldi is lifted from the rotation. Eovaldi's rotation spot falls on Sunday, and on Sept. 27 at Washington.

"We know he's better than he's shown," Hill said. "We'll look at a number of things with him. He just hasn't pitched to the level we think he is capable of pitching. That's obvious."

Eovaldi is dealing with some mechanical issues, which are leading to him missing his spots, often badly. His velocity remains high. According to Fangraphs.com, Eovaldi's average fastball is 95.8 mph, which is tied for the fourth highest among any starter.

The Marlins don't see Eovaldi as a reliever candidate when Spring Training begins next February.

"A lot of times when you think of starters moving to the bullpen, it's when there are short glimpses with velo, and then it falls off," Hill said. "It's not a falling off situation for him. There are probably some mechanical issues with him that we need to address. He needs to make better pitches and improve the consistency of his secondary pitches to allow him to be effective. Right now, he's definitely a starter."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Mathis' clutch knock caps late rally to edge Mets

Marlins tally three in seventh, eighth in back-and-forth victory

Mathis' clutch knock caps late rally to edge Mets play video for Mathis' clutch knock caps late rally to edge Mets

NEW YORK -- The night started out with the Marlins on the wrong side of history, as New York's Jacob deGrom matched an MLB record by striking out the first eight batters he faced. But the game ended on a high note for Miami.

Jeff Mathis capped a three-run eighth-inning with a two-out RBI single that lifted the Marlins to a 6-5 victory over the Mets on Monday night at Citi Field.

For the second straight game, the Marlins rallied late to claim a one-run victory. They scored four times in the ninth inning on Sunday to edge the Phillies, 5-4, at Citizens Bank Park.

Steve Cishek logged his 36th save in 40 chances, and Miami moved two games ahead of the Mets for third place in the National League East.

"We knew going in that it was going to be a battle for us," manager Mike Redmond said. "No doubt, to win that last game in Philly, I was really hoping that was going to be able to energize us before the seventh inning. I give deGrom a lot of credit for the way he pitched. He's got quality stuff, and [he] is going to be a great pitcher in this league for a long time. But we did battle. We scored our runs when we did."

Because the Nationals beat the Braves, Miami's elimination number to win the National League East drops to one. But the Marlins are clinging to National League Wild Card hope.

Now 73-76, the Marlins are also motivated in the aftermath of All-Star Giancarlo Stanton being out of action since last Thursday, when he was struck in the face by a fastball in Milwaukee. Stanton's No. 27 jersey is being displayed in the dugout.

"Obviously, G's still not here," Marlins starter Jarred Cosart said. "Everyone can joke about it or whatever, about that jersey in the dugout, but it means a lot to us. He was the heart and soul of this team.

"We feel like he's still in there. We feel like we owe him something to go out there and play our best when he isn't out here with us. We're only going to be better when we do have him."

Cosart gave up two runs with five strikeouts in six innings. Over his last six starts, the Miami right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.79 ERA, but he wasn't involved in the decision.

An NL Rookie of the Year frontrunner, deGrom struck out a career-high 13 in seven innings.

Despite being dominated most of the night, the Marlins rallied for three runs in the seventh to claim a 3-2 lead.

But New York capitalized on Casey McGehee's error on pinch-hitter Eric Campbell's slow grounder that opened the door for three runs (one earned), also in the seventh. Mike Dunn issued a walk, followed by an RBI single to Daniel Murphy. A.J. Ramos faced four batters, walked three and gave up the go-ahead double to Travis d'Arnaud.

The game swung back in the Marlins' favor for good as they scored three times in the eighth inning. Adeiny Hechavarria had a two-run single off Jeurys Familia and Mathis delivered a two-out RBI single to right off Jenrry Mejia, putting Miami in front by a run.

The game came full circle for Mathis, because he was deGrom's eighth strikeout when he fanned for the second out in the third inning. But in the eighth, the Miami catcher delivered the game-winning hit.

"The guy had good stuff," Mathis said. "He came out with some life on everything, but you've got to put it behind you and keep going. That's what we did."

The three runs Miami scored in the seventh snapped deGrom's streak of 28 straight innings without allowing an earned run.

Before the first three innings were completed, deGrom achieved a piece of MLB history. The 26-year-old's strikeout streak matched a modern-day big league record initially set by Jim Deshaies of the Astros on Sept. 23, 1986, against the Dodgers.

"That's about as dominating a start of a game as I've probably ever seen, and I've seen some pretty good pitching," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

To start off a game, the Marlins had never fanned as many as five straight times. The club record previously was four, done five times overall, with the most recent being July 4, 2013, at Atlanta.

"We've been making games interesting at the end," Mathis said. "I'm happy about the way we came back, played and battled. It was fun to be a part of."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Eovaldi's recent struggles highlighted in rout

Righty, who's had a rough second half, gives up six runs in 4 1/3 innings

Eovaldi's recent struggles highlighted in rout play video for Eovaldi's recent struggles highlighted in rout

NEW YORK -- Two-out damage was simply too much for the Marlins to overcome on Tuesday night at Citi Field. Wilmer Flores belted two homers and drove in six runs as the Mets rolled to a 9-1 victory, with seven runs coming with two outs.

Nathan Eovaldi was tagged for six runs in 4 1/3 innings, as his second-half struggles continue. In Eovaldi's last seven starts, the right-hander is 0-6 with a 6.56 ERA.

"We struggled, pitching-wise, and Nate, obviously, didn't give us the start that we needed," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "That's tough. You're down early in the game. We've been there before, playing catch-up from the fourth inning on."

The Marlins actually had chances to put up some runs against Bartolo Colon, who scattered 12 hits in 7 2/3 innings while giving up one run.

Miami did out-hit New York, 13-12, but the big blasts came off the bat of Flores.

"We had a lot of hits, but we didn't get any big hits," Redmond said. "They made their big hits count. They put some balls in the seats with guys in scoring position, and put up big numbers."

Miami is now officially eliminated from the National League East race, and is moving closer to being closed out of the NL Wild Card standings.

The Marlins maintain a one-game lead over the Mets for third place in the division with the series finale set for Wednesday.

The Marlins did strike first, cashing in on Reed Johson's leadoff double in the third inning when Christian Yelich drove him in with a two-out infield single.

But missed chances to add on in the third and fourth innings with runners in scoring position came back to hurt Miami.

The Mets responded with four runs in the fourth inning, all with two outs. Travis d'Arnaud doubled with one out, and Eovaldi put himself in position to get out of the jam unmarked after striking out Lucas Duda looking with the count full.

New York tied it on Flores' RBI double to left, starting a string of four straight batters reaching base. Curtis Granderson slapped an RBI single off second baseman Donovan Solano's glove into center. Matt den Dekker walked, prompting a mound visit by pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. Ruben Tejada broke the inning open with a two-run double.

"I just struggled finishing off the inning," Eovaldi said. "Flores hit that curveball. I've just got to do a little better job executing the pitches."

Eovaldi is at 186 2/3 innings, and the team would like to get him to 200. But now, they'll evaluate his next step.

"It's hard to say a guy is running out of steam when he is running up there 96, 97 [mph]," Redmond said. "He is up there with a career record for innings. He could be running out of gas, I don't know. The ball still seems to be coming out of his hands, but he's making mistakes, and they're making them pay. We'll have to figure out where we go from here."

Physically, Eovaldi says he is fine.

"I don't think it has anything to do with the season or the innings," he said. "It comes down to executing the pitches."

The Marlins squandered a bases-loaded, one-out chance in the fifth inning to chip back into the game. Colon worked out of trouble by striking out Marcell Ozuna looking before Garrett Jones tapped to short.

Eovaldi's struggles carried into the fifth inning, and the Mets once again were able to do major damage. This time it came with Flores' two-out, three-run homer off Brad Penny.

Daniel Murphy singled with one out, and Eovaldi was lifted after walking d'Arnaud. Penny struck out Duda, but Flores' connected on his three-run blast to left field, giving New York a six-run cushion.

Flores homered again off Penny in the seventh inning, blasting a two-run shot.

Prospect Andrew Heaney entered in relief in the seventh inning, his first big league action since he started at St. Louis on July 5. The lefty is a September callup.

"We haven't been hitting with men in scoring position, and having this kind of game, it feels good helping the team," Flores said. "Good pitches and good swings. They hung two breaking balls, and I was on it."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Marlins' improbable comeback caps emotional week

Miami plates four in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon to steal finale

Marlins' improbable comeback caps emotional week play video for Marlins' improbable comeback caps emotional week

PHILADELPHIA -- A stagnant Marlins' offense, still reeling in the aftermath of Giancarlo Stanton's injury, finally woke up in the ninth inning on Sunday against Jonathan Papelbon, who had never previously blown a save against Miami.

Jordany Valdespin, Christian Yelich and Justin Bour each collected RBIs in the ninth inning, and Papelbon's wild pitch with two outs allowed the decisive run to race home in the Marlins' improbable 5-4 victory over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

"That's by far the biggest win of the year for us," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "Not only just for the situation, but, for what we've gone through the last couple of days. It's been emotional. I know it's been weighing on guys. We needed a win. There is not a better way than to get one the way we did it today. That's kind of our style -- Fish style."

On the brink of being swept, the Marlins rallied for four runs in their last at-bat off a closer that was a perfect 18-for-18 previously in save chances against them. Miami's 27th comeback victory snapped a four-game losing streak and helped the club regain sole possession of third place in the National League East.

"That was crazy," Yelich said. "I don't even know what just happened. You know you have to get three runs off Papelbon, and that's not an easy task. We kind of just chipped away, chipped away."

Steve Cishek worked out of a jam in the ninth for his 35th save in 39 chances.

Miami improved to 33-24 in one-run games, and ended up 3-7 at Citizens Bank Park. But the comeback came the hard way.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia's double got the ninth rolling. With the bases full and no outs, Valdespin worked a 12-pitch at-bat that culminated with a run-scoring groundout to first.

Yelich reached on an infield RBI single and Bour tied it with a line-drive single to center. After Casey McGehee struck out, Papelbon threw a wild pitch, which brought home Yelich.

"I was just catching too much of the plate today and wasn't as sharp as I have been here for most of the year," Papelbon said. "It was just one of those days I didn't have much on the baseball today, much control."

After the inning ended, Papelbon, who threw 38 pitches, made a gesture to the crowd and was ejected by second-base umpire Joe West.

The Phillies made it interesting in the ninth as Freddy Galvis walked and Cody Asche singled to start the inning. But Cishek responded to strike out Ben Revere, Maikel Franco and Chase Utley to enable Miami to salvage the series finale.

"Obviously, you don't want to go into a game with first and second with no outs, and a lot of lefties coming," Cishek said. "Utley is not someone you want to face with the game on the line. I got myself into a tougher situation than I wanted to."

Miami had managed just two runs in the first two games, and had just one run on the board heading into the ninth inning.

Until the wild finish, runs were tough to come by.

Miami right-hander Tom Koehler gave up three runs, with two earned, in six innings. It was his 19th quality start of the season.

"If we had been swept after losing [Stanton], who I believe is the MVP of the league, it would be tough to right that ship," Koehler said. "We've got to sit here, and we've got to believe in each other, still."

Philadelphia's David Buchanan limited Miami to an Enrique Hernandez home run in 6 1/3 innings.

Hernandez, acquired from the Astros on July 31, had spent much of the second half at Triple-A New Orleans. He was 0-for-8 with Miami since the trade before his blast to right field.

The homer was emotional on a personal side for Hernandez, who had a close friend pass away recently. A few weeks ago, the second baseman returned to Puerto Rico for a few days to pay his respects.

"That was probably the most meaningful home run of my life," Hernandez said. "Not my career. My life. When I said bye to his mom, she told me, 'If you go back to Miami, you're going to hit a home run in your first game, and it's going to be for him.' As soon as I hit it, I got the chills."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Marlins win challenge on close play at first base in Philly

Hernandez ruled safe after crew overturns call

Marlins win challenge on close play at first base in Philly play video for Marlins win challenge on close play at first base in Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- Enrique Hernandez believed he beat the throw, and instant replay confirmed his instincts in the second inning at Citizens Bank Park.

The Marlins successfully overturned what would have been a called double play on Hernandez's grounder to third base. The Phillies got the force at second when third baseman Maikel Franco threw to Chase Utley. Utley's quick turn and throw to Ryan Howard was initially ruled an out by first-base umpire Marty Foster.

Hernandez immediately signaled to the Miami dugout to review the play. Manager Mike Redmond challenged, and after 34 seconds, the call was overturned.

Miami is 19-for-27 on the season in challenges.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["replay" ] }

Marlins will begin monitoring workload on young arms closely

Marlins will begin monitoring workload on young arms closely play video for Marlins will begin monitoring workload on young arms closely

PHILADELPHIA -- Until they are mathematically eliminated, the Marlins remain on a mission to fight as much as possible to remain in the race. But they are doing so with a watchful eye on the workloads of their starting pitching.

The rotation is the foundation for not only the rest of the season, but next year as well. And a number of starters are reaching or surpassing innings marks they've never touched before.

Pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and manager Mike Redmond have the luxury of September callups as options to spell the starters.

"We've had this conversation basically this entire road trip," general manager Dan Jennings said. "We've talked about it. We're getting into some uncharted waters now. Chucky has such a great feel for these guys."

Nathan Eovaldi, for example, is at 182 1/3 innings, after he logged 106 1/3 in an injury-interrupted 2013.

Tom Koehler, after six solid innings on Sunday in Philadelphia, has tossed 179 1/3 innings this year. He tossed 166 in '13 when you combine his MLB and Minor League innings. Henderson Alvarez is sitting at 166 1/3 innings, compared to 102 2/3 a year ago. Brad Hand, including work in the Minors, is at 133 innings (99 with Miami).

Jarred Cosart has logged 163 innings, with 46 2/3 of them coming after being traded from Houston to the Marlins on July 31.

"It's now really about the high-stress innings," Jennings said. "We're trying to monitor that. Essentially, we're letting Red and Chucky use the common-sense approach. Sometimes guys go out there and they cruise through, but you might have to take them out in the high-stress inning.

"I think having the extra pieces, and being able to stretch some of those bullpen guys out is going to be huge to not stretch your starters to a point where you can potentially hurt them."

Andrew Heaney, the team's top prospect, is one of the callups. But the organization is closely monitoring the left-hander, who has thrown 137 1/3 innings in the Minors, and another 20 2/3 innings in the big leagues.

Heaney has yet to pitch in September, and there are no immediate plans to give him a start.

The club wants him to experience the Wild Card chase, and work on some mechanical issues with Hernandez.

"There may be spots where you can maybe work him in to get an inning or two here," Jennings said. "Honestly, if he throws no more innings this year, we're good with his number going into next year. He is where he needs to be. Now, it's getting him around this atmosphere. Let him feel comfortable. Get some one-on-one with Chuck."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Bour, Marlins cut down by Phillies

Key out at home in seventh on Johnson's 1,000th hit stalls Miami

Bour, Marlins cut down by Phillies play video for Bour, Marlins cut down by Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- Reed Johnson wasn't fully able to celebrate his 1,000th career hit, because on the play, Justin Bour was thrown out at the plate. The throw by Marlon Byrd denied Miami the tying run in the seventh inning. The Marlins were unable to recover.

Byrd made the decisive throw from right field, and he added an RBI double in the first inning that proved the difference in the Phillies' 2-1 win over the Marlins on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Miami outhit Philadelphia, 8-4, but couldn't come up with the necessary knock to push across some runs.

"We're not helping ourselves out," manager Mike Redmond said. "I think our pitchers are doing a tremendous job keeping us in these games."

Losers of four straight overall, Miami fell to 2-7 at Philadelphia on the season. Jonathan Papelbon picked up his 37th save and is now 18-for-18 in saves chances against Miami. He also has 104 saves with the Phillies, which moves him ahead of Steve Bedrosian for second place all-time in club history.

When the Marlins beat Milwaukee 6-3 on Tuesday, they were 71-72 and 3 1/2 games out in the Wild Card standings. Now, they're seven back and their chances of finishing with a winning record are diminishing at 71-76.

Minus Giancarlo Stanton, Redmond is experimenting with different lineups in hopes of generating some production. Garrett Jones, normally the regular first baseman, made his first start in right field. Jones has experience in right, having played there in 2013 while with the Pirates.

The switch enabled Bour, another left-handed hitter, to play first base.

Jones provided some power in the second inning, crushing a one-out home run to right-center. It was only the fourth run scored by Miami since Stanton was struck on the face by a pitch on Thursday at Milwaukee.

Brad Hand gave up two runs in six innings, while striking out four. But both runs came in the first inning, giving Kyle Kendrick all the support he needed. Kendrick, now 13-3 lifetime against the Marlins, limited Miami to one run in 6 1/3 innings.

"I feel like I battled today," Hand said. "I wasn't really locating my best. The first inning had been a struggle for me the past few starts. You never want to put the team in a two-run hole, but we battled back."

Command has been an issue for Hand in the past. But in his previous start, a win over Atlanta on Sept. 7, it marked the first time in his career that he's not walked a batter in a start. The lefty also didn't issue any free passes on Saturday.

"That's always been the key for me, cut down the walks, and it's gotten better," Hand said.

Philadelphia jumped out to a quick, two-run lead in the first inning. Ben Revere singled on a two-strike pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Maikel Franco's RBI single. Byrd's double off the wall in right produced the second run.

After a rough start in the first inning, the 24-year-old Hand settled in and had a string of retiring 14 straight before Revere's leadoff single in the sixth inning. Hand got into a bind in the sixth, as Revere reached third with one out. But the lefty retired Chase Utley on a fly ball to short center and Byrd grounded sharply to third.

Miami threatened in the seventh inning. Bour and Adeiny Hechavarria each singled to open the inning off Kendrick. With one out, Johnson pinch-hit, and off lefty Jake Diekman, he singled to right.

Byrd's strike to the plate was handled by Wil Nieves, who tagged Bour out.

"It was great throw," Kendrick said. "I was a little surprised they sent him knowing that guy's speed, cause Byrdy has a good arm. But I'm glad he did and I'm glad it worked out the way it did. Things don't always work out in this game the way you want them to and tonight was a good night."

Prior to the 37-year-old Johnson's milestone single, Jeff Mathis was unable to execute a sacrifice bunt, that could have moved two runners into scoring position for Johnson.

"[Johnson] hit that ball hard," Redmond said. "He hit that ball right at Byrd. It couldn't have been more perfect for him. Bour got thrown out by quite a bit."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Key connections: Star-Spangled Banner, baseball forever linked

Verses that became National anthem celebrates 200 years, is part of baseball's fabric

Key connections: Star-Spangled Banner, baseball forever linked play video for Key connections: Star-Spangled Banner, baseball forever linked

Francis Scott Key never got to see a big league baseball game. He died in 1843, some 26 years before the first professional team was established. But you can imagine his joy if he did get that chance. These days, he'd probably sit in a shiny bleacher seat, waiting for a batting-practice homer with a soft, weathered glove raised high ... in his non-writing hand. Maybe he'd inhale a hot dog while jotting down a few pretty lines for his next song. That would come about an hour before he'd hear the iconic bars of his first one, which, contrary to American lore, does not end with the words, "Play Ball." Odds are he'd be pretty happy at the twilight's last gleaming.

This weekend, the celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," is on, and Key's memory is being rightly feted for his poetic description from the "dawn's early light" of Sept. 14, 1814, at the height of the War of 1812.

Hours after being stuck on a ship in Baltimore Harbor as the British pounded Fort McHenry in the Battle of Baltimore, Key saw the skies clear from the smoke and the indelible image that "our flag was still there."

The verses were called "The Defence of Fort M'Henry," and it was put to the tune of "To Anacreon in Heaven," a British drinking song purportedly written by John Stafford Smith that had been composed more than 30 years earlier and served as the theme of the Anacreontic Society of London, a men's club of amateur musicians.

Soon after Key wrote the words, a local newspaper gave it the title "The Star-Spangled Banner," and in 1931, it became our official anthem. All the while, another grand tradition steeped in collective nostalgia and American togetherness -- the game of baseball -- was steaming along, gaining prominence in our country's conscience.

Not surprisingly, the national anthem and the National Pastime became stitched together forever, like red laces in white horsehide.

According to John Thorn, the official historian of Major League Baseball, the playing of the national anthem before big league games did not become an everyday tradition until 1942. Taking that into account (and including a slight margin of error based on the lack of documentation regarding split doubleheaders in the earlier days), the Star-Spangled Banner has been heard right before the first pitch of at least the last 121,000 games. Oh, say can you see, indeed.

So with that in mind, 200 years after the night a 35-year-old Washington, D.C.-based attorney known to friends as Frank found himself under a war-torn sky, with honor in his heart and a pen in his hand, we go around the horn with nine things to know about "The Star-Spangled Banner" and its now-eternal link to the national pastime.

1. A first for everything
The first time the song was played at a baseball game was May 15, 1862, at William Cammeyer's Union Grounds park in Brooklyn. It had been converted from an ice skating venue into a field for summer sports, including what, at the time, was known as "base ball." In the midst of the Civil War, a band played "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The first big league Opening Day to feature the eventual anthem took place in Philadelphia on April 22, 1897. The New York Tribune newspaper included a brief and lyrical account of the game: "Opening Day here was a great success. The weather was delightful and the attendance numbered 17,074. The players paraded across the field, company front, and then raised the new flag, while the band played 'The Star Spangled Banner.' "

In spite of all the pageantry, there had to be some accounting for the four errors that led the Phillies to a 5-1 victory over the Giants at the Baker Bowl.

"The game was rather dull and long-drawn out," the article read, "and on the part of the New-Yorkers was somewhat unsteadily played."

2. An unforgettable rendition
The first national anthem played at a World Series game occurred on Sept. 5, 1918, during World War I, when Major League players were in the midst of being drafted into service. The regular season was ordered by the government to be completed by Labor Day, hence the Fall Classic that year was played in September.

The Cubs borrowed Comiskey Park from the White Sox to take advantage of the larger seating capacity, but things got quiet in Game 1, a 1-0 shutout by Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth. But that game will be forever remembered for what occurred in the seventh inning.

That was when the military band on hand struck up "The Star-Spangled Banner," and the song took on a different meaning. Red Sox third baseman Fred Thomas, for example, was on furlough from the Navy, and he saluted the flag during the playing of the song.

And then the crowd caught on. The New York Times opened its account of the game by writing, "Far different from any incident that has ever occurred in the history of baseball was the great moment of the first world's series game between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox, which came at Comiskey Park this afternoon during the seventh-inning stretch" and then continued with the play-by-play … of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

"First the song was taken up by a few, then others joined, and when the final notes came, a great volume of melody rolled across the field. It was at the very end that the onlookers exploded into thunderous applause and rent the air with a cheer that marked the highest point of the day's enthusiasm."

The Cubs and Red Sox repeated the tradition for the rest of the Series.

3. Making it official
Even though the Secretary of the Navy in 1889 had designated "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the official song to be played at the raising of the flag, and even though President Woodrow Wilson, a huge baseball fan himself, treated it and referred to it as our national anthem, it had failed to stick in Congress after numerous attempts in the 1920s.

Baseball's increased use of the song prior to games, a petition with millions of signatures, and a nice little push from noted composer John Philip Sousa helped finally get the job done on March 3, 1931, when President Herbert Hoover signed into law the establishment of the song as the official national anthem of the United States of America.

4. A lasting tradition
"The Star-Spangled Banner" still wasn't being played before every baseball game in 1941, but on April 26, 1941, the ball got rolling in the Bronx. As The New York Times reported, "With more war new in the making, president Ed Barrow of the Yankees ordered that 'The Star-Spangled Banner' be played before all games at the Stadium.

"Meanwhile, all continued to go well for the Yankees and [Joe] DiMaggio. He singled home a run in the first and scored twice as New York beat Washington 8-3 for its fourth straight victory."

By the following year, with the country deep in World War II, the anthem became the daily staple of baseball that we know today.

And DiMaggio was still hitting.

5. Controversy hits the field
It was October 1968, and the country was fighting in Vietnam and had already lived through the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that year. Protests were boiling over in the streets at home, and the Detroit Tigers were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Jose Feliciano was a 23-year-old blind folk singer from Puerto Rico who had scored a hit on the U.S. charts with a cover of The Doors' "Light My Fire," and Tigers radio legend Ernie Harwell invited him to sing the national anthem at Tiger Stadium prior to Game 5.

Feliciano was accompanied in left field by his acoustic guitar and his guide dog, Trudy, and he launched into an emotional, heartfelt, and, well, different version of "The Star-Spangled Banner." He strummed the guitar in a slightly syncopated, Latin-influenced rhythm, careened back and forth from the traditional vocal melody to something more adventurous, and offered the finishing flourish of "Yeah, yeah."

It was bold and innovative and fresh, but it was also many years ahead of its time. Feliciano was booed heartily by the crowd and caused a public uproar that took years to live down.

"Back then, when the anthem was done at ballgames, people couldn't wait for it to be over," Feliciano told The Guardian last month. "And I wanted to make them sit up and take notice and respect the song. I was shocked when I was booed. I felt, 'God, what have I done wrong?' All I was trying to do was create a soulful rendition. I never in my wildest dreams thought I was going to have the country against me, radio stations stop playing me.

"But in part, it was good -- because I ended up meeting my wife. She couldn't understand the injustice and started a fan club, even though we'd never met. We fell in love and the rest is history."

On Oct. 14, 2012, prior to Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco, the same stylized, heartfelt version of the national anthem was performed by Feliciano on his acoustic guitar.

This time the crowd roared.

6. "O"-dience participation
The anthem itself is a tradition, and at Oriole Park in Camden Yards in Baltimore, there's a tradition baked into the tradition. When the song rounds third base and heads for home with, "O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave," the crowd screams the "O" together, celebrating their beloved O's.

This started at the old Memorial Stadium in the club's pennant-winning season of 1979. Out in Section 34 of the upper deck, Orioles superfan Wild Bill Hagy would lead fans in chants of O-R-I-O-L-E-S, with the emphasis on the "O." Mary Powers sat nearby and took the inspiration to another level.

"We would accentuate the 'O' in any word that would have an 'O,' and one night when they were playing the anthem, I thought, 'There's an 'O!' in this song,' and the first time I did it, I remember people turning around and looking like, 'Oh, my God, I can't believe she just did that,' " Powers recently told WBAL-TV.

"Well, Wild Bill had a little grin on his face, so the next night, he did it with me, and once he put his blessing on it, everybody started to do it."

Orioles fans still do it -- loudly -- and will likely be doing it in October this year.

7. Setting the (low) Barr
We all know now that Feliciano's rendition was eventually respected, if not appreciated. We all also know now that the version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" performed by comedian Roseanne Barr before a Padres-Reds doubleheader at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego on July 25, 1990, was not.

Barr screeched a fast, off-key rendition of the anthem that drew loud boos midway through, and when she was finished, she grabbed her crotch and spit, as if to mimic a ballplayer. The joke bombed, she was lambasted all over TV and in the newspapers, and she inspired President George H. W. Bush to call the whole act "disgraceful."

Bush's comment was met with bipartisan approval.

8. A hymn of healing
The horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the United States forever, but not only in tragic ways. The courage, brotherhood and human decency shown that day in New York, Washington, D.C., and on a hijacked airplane that would crash in a Pennsylvania field showed our country's strength and will to persevere.

The emotion was palpable 10 days later when the Mets played the Braves at Shea Stadium in the first professional sporting event in New York City since the attacks. Marc Anthony delivered a somber rendition without musical accompaniment and the game was played quietly until the eighth inning, when Piazza's two-run home run gave the Mets the lead and got the crowd going again.

"I remember standing on the line during the national anthem -- actually when the bagpipes and band came out -- I said to myself, 'Please, God, give me the strength to get through this,' " Piazza told the New York Daily News in 2008. "I was fortunate to find the strength to hit a home run in that situation. I'm flattered, I'm honored that people put that moment as a time where it helped the city at least have a little bit of joy in a really tough week."

9. 200 and many more
Every year now, we're treated to incredible musical talent on the baseball field. From the seasoned operatic pipes of longtime Yankees national anthem singer Robert Merrill to commercial acts James Taylor, Paul Simon, Sammy Davis Jr., John Legend, Lyle Lovett, the Grateful Dead, Slash from Guns N' Roses, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel, Idina Menzel, Kelly Clarkson and countless others, it's now a grand American tradition to bring out the best in the business to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the biggest baseball games.

But Sunday, the song itself will shine.

At Fort McHenry in Baltimore, a real-time anniversary program will kick off, with artillery salutes, a reading of the song's four stanzas and a replica 15-star, 15-stripe flag raising at precisely 9 a.m. to commemorate the history that Key had witnessed.

And MLB teams playing at home will show a special video montage of "The Star-Spangled Banner." In conjunction with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the program Great Performances, Maryland Public Television has provided the montage originally seen in the PBS production Star-Spangled Banner: The Bicentennial of our National Anthem to the ballparks and to MLB.com and all 30 club websites and official MLB social media channels.

Fittingly, the last game on Sunday will be played at Camden Yards, about three miles away from Fort McHenry, and fittingly, the Orioles will play the Yankees.

We all know what song we'll hear right before the first pitch.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Realmuto wins Double-A title, rejoins team

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PHILADELPHIA -- It wasn't a matter of if J.T. Realmuto would be a September callup for the Marlins. It was a matter of when, which became Saturday, the day after Double-A Jacksonville won the Southern League championship.

Ranked by MLB.com as Miami's No. 7 prospect, Realmuto experienced his second Minor League championship, with the other coming at Class A Greensboro in 2011. The catcher was part of a Class A Advanced Jupiter squad in 2012 that lost in the Florida State League title series.

The Marlins made it clear Realmuto would be promoted back to the big leagues after he took part in the Suns' playoff run. Jacksonville completed a three-game sweep of Chattanooga on Saturday night.

As part of his development, the organization wanted Realmuto to experience playoff fever.

"It means a lot," the 23-year-old said. "That experience, the only way to get that is to play in those games. That's real important going on in my career, playing in games that mean something, being able to deal with those pressure situations. That means a lot."

Realmuto batted .346 (9-for-26) in the playoffs, and .299 with eight homers and 62 RBIs in the regular season.

Realmuto received some playing time with the Marlins, appearing in seven big league games.

The Marlins are carrying three catchers, with Realmuto backing up Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jeff Mathis.

"J.T. gives us an option and flexibility to be able to pinch-run for Salty or Matty," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "It does give you more of a comfort level. J.T. is an athlete. He runs probably better than our other catchers."

Down the stretch, Realmuto could get a few starts, depending on the situation.

"I'd love to get him in there for a game or two, for sure," Redmond said. "We'll see down the road. I know he's had a tremendous year. They won the championship there. He's done a great job. I'd love to get him in there, but we'll see where he fits."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"content":["injury" ] }

Improving Stanton heads home; major surgery unlikely

NL MVP candidate has stitches, dental work after being hit; will have battery of tests

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PHILADELPHIA -- Giancarlo Stanton, who sustained multiple fractures to his face after being struck by a pitch on Thursday night, returned in good spirits to Miami on Friday night. The two-time All-Star will undergo more tests, but it appears he will not need major surgery.

The slugger did receive some plastic surgery, and he will undergo a battery of tests to make sure he doesn't have any concussion symptoms. Thus far, he hasn't shown any.

Stanton's injuries required stitches to repair facial lacerations, and he lost some teeth.

"He is being evaluated by our team doctors," manager Mike Redmond said. "He is set to see a dentist. I texted him this morning. I know he's feeling better and is on the road to recovery."

Stanton, accompanied by his father, Mike, and Marlins trainer Sean Cunningham, flew on team owner Jeffrey Loria's private plane to Miami.

On Friday, Stanton tweeted: "The amount of support I have received from you guys has been tremendous & Heartfelt. I'm much better today & deeply appreciate your prayers!"

On Friday night, the Marlins opened a three-game series at Philadelphia, and it marked the first game of the season without Stanton.

Neither Stanton nor the Marlins have ruled out the two-time All-Star returning this season. But it appears a real long shot.

"He wants to come back," Redmond said. "We haven't set a timetable on it. It's probably to be determined."

With Stanton out, the Marlins plan on using several options in right field. First baseman Garrett Jones could get some time in right, with Justin Bour playing first. Enrique Hernandez also is an option to play center field, moving Marcell Ozuna to right.

Stanton was hit in the face by an 88-mph Mike Fiers fastball in the fifth inning of Thursday night's 4-2 loss to the Brewers.

The Marlins also expressed their appreciation to the Brewers for their medical treatment of Stanton's injury.

In a tweet, the club said: "Special thank you to the Milwaukee Brewers medical staff & their emergency medical personnel, as well as the Marlins athletic training staff."

A National League MVP Award candidate, Stanton made it clear he hoped to play in all 162 games. Stanton paces the NL in home runs (37) and RBIs (105), posting a line of .288/.395/.555.

"This is a season he was putting up some crazy numbers," said reliever A.J. Ramos, Stanton's roommate. "We see how hard he works on and off the field, and how hard he prepares for every game. Living with him, it's really hard to come to the locker room and he's not here. You feel badly about it. Hopefully we can move forward from here."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Marlins can't convert for Alvarez, fall in 10

Without Stanton, big hit eludes Miami; Jennings allows walk-off homer

Marlins can't convert for Alvarez, fall in 10 play video for Marlins can't convert for Alvarez, fall in 10

PHILADELPHIA -- The emotionally charged Marlins are determined to push forward without slugger Giancarlo Stanton. But on Friday night, runs were hard to come by, and eventually Miami's pitching let down. Cody Asche connected on a two-run, walk-off homer in the 10th inning off Dan Jennings, lifting the Phillies to a 3-1 win at Citizens Bank Park.

Playing their first game without Stanton, who was struck by a pitch in the face on Thursday night at Milwaukee, the Marlins scratched out nine hits. But they managed just one run.

"Not only is [Stanton] a huge part of our team, but he changes our whole lineup so much," manager Mike Redmond said. "Obviously, we're going to have to work a lot harder to score runs. I think you saw that tonight. We had situations where G would have come up. But, hey, it is what it is. That's the situation we're in. We know that. These guys are a resilient group. We've shown it all year. We'll go out there tomorrow and try to win a ballgame."

With one out in the 10th inning, Ben Revere singled before Asche ended it with his first career walk-off homer.

"I was pounding him sliders, my best pitch," Jennings said. "Then I threw him another one that he didn't offer. My one bad pitch of the night, which he obviously hit out of the ballpark, which is unfortunate because I thought I threw the ball well up to that pitch. I've got to make a better pitch than that."

After dropping their third straight game, the Marlins fell into a tie with the Mets for third place in the National League East.

Miami's season is winding down rapidly, and its National League Wild Card chances are dwindling. The club is trying to pick up the pieces, but it was tough on Friday, the day after Stanton went down. The team even had Stanton's No. 27 jersey hanging in the dugout.

"Our heads are kind of elsewhere," Jennings said. "But once the game starts, you've got to try to push all of that aside. I feel everybody did a good job of that, and just play the game. But at the same time, everybody knows when you look up at the scoreboard and the three-hole hitter is kind of missing, it's not a good feeling. But you've got to just play ball once the game starts."

Henderson Alvarez, who had been bothered by a left oblique strain, was making his first start since Sept. 1. The right-hander impressed in seven innings, giving up one run on seven hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

"I thought he looked good," Redmond said. "His velo was solid. I thought he gave us a great effort. He did everything he could to help us win that ballgame. If we could find a way to add on some runs in situations, he would have had a little cushion to work with. That didn't happen tonight."

Miami fell to 9-12 in extra-inning games, and Marcell Ozuna had his string of hitting a homer in four straight games end.

Phillies lefty Cole Hamels, 9-13 lifetime against Miami, gave up one run on nine hits with six strikeouts in seven innings.

But after Hamels exited, Phillies relievers Ken Giles, Jonathan Papelbon and Jake Diekman combined to retire all nine Marlins they faced.

The Marlins stranded runners in scoring position in three consecutive innings -- the third, fourth and fifth. But in the sixth inning, they were finally able to push a run home on Adeiny Hechavarria's soft single to right field.

Miami used three singles to generate the run. Jeff Baker singled with one out. With two outs, Ed Lucas legged out an infield single to third. The Phillies challenged to see if Lucas had beaten Asche's throw from third, but the call was confirmed.

Philadelphia responded in the sixth to tie it on Chase Utley's double to right, which was bobbled by Lucas for an error. With Utley on third and one out, Alvarez struck out Ryan Howard. But his next pitch, a sinker to Marlon Byrd, went past catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia for a wild pitch, scoring Utley.

In the fourth inning, Alvarez was in a bind, loading the bases with no outs. But he worked out of it, getting Brown to lift a lazy fly ball to short right field before Carlos Ruiz tapped into a 6-4-3 double play.

Miami had a golden chance in the fourth inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Saltalamacchia chopped a grounder to third. Casey McGehee raced home, but he was thrown out by Asche.

"Asche also made a very good defensive play," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "A big defensive play of the game at the time."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Marlins try to find way to win without invaluable Stanton

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PHILADELPHIA -- Whatever the obstacle, the Marlins have found a way to keep their season afloat. They were able to remain in contention when their ace, Jose Fernandez, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in May.

Now, with a little more than two weeks remaining, the resolve of the gritty club is being tested as Miami confronts life without All-Star Giancarlo Stanton. The odds already are stacked against the Marlins in their fading playoff chances, but there remains no quit in the clubhouse.

"A lot of people were saying we weren't supposed to be in this situation," catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "That already gives us fire, because we always felt like we were supposed to be here.

"We've got a good team. Like I said a few months ago, when you lose a guy like Jose, it hurts. Losing a guy like G is the same thing. He's a guy who makes a difference when he's in the lineup. But we found a way to deal with Jose. Now we have to find a way to deal without G."

Stanton sustained fractures to his face and mouth after being struck by a Mike Fiers fastball on Thursday night in Milwaukee's 4-2 win over Miami.

Can the team finish strong with the strong likelihood Stanton will not return?

One reason the Marlins remained in the mix without Fernandez is because Stanton played in each of his team's first 145 games.

"Obviously, both of those guys are huge parts of this team, and we lean on those guys, big time," third baseman Casey McGehee said. "The tough part about it is we've had to go through it with Jose."

Stanton's production can't be replaced by any one player. Ed Lucas started in right field on Friday night.

"At the same time, we've got to try to figure out a way," McGehee said. "We're not going to replace him. You can't replace him. But we've got to figure out a way to kind of piece it together and still try to win games."

If there was anything for the club to be encouraged about, it was that Stanton was in good spirits on Friday morning, as he traveled back to Miami after spending the night at a Milwaukee hospital.

"He texted me early this morning, and reassured me that he was all right," said reliever A.J. Ramos, Stanton's roommate. "He saw the rest of the game on TV. He said he was proud of all the guys, and that we had his back and everything. Then we just started texting like normal, joking around and stuff. He was in good spirits, which made me feel better about the situation."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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DeSclafani suspended three games for hit-by-pitch

With benches warned after Stanton, Johnson hit, hurler ejected for plunking Gomez

DeSclafani suspended three games for hit-by-pitch play video for DeSclafani suspended three games for hit-by-pitch

PHILADELPHIA -- Marlins right-hander Anthony DeSclafani was handed a three-game suspension for hitting Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez with a pitch in the sixth inning of Thursday night's 4-2 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park.

The suspension was to begin immediately, but because DeSclanfi is appealing, it will be delayed until the process is complete.

Major League Baseball announced the suspension on Friday afternoon. Additionally, Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers received an undisclosed fine for his actions, which contributed to the benches clearing.

DeSclafani was punished for throwing at Gomez an inning after Miami All-Star Giancarlo Stanton was struck in the face by a Fiers fastball. Stanton sustained facial lacerations and multiple fractures, as well as damage to his teeth and cheek.

Fiers' next pitch clipped pinch-hitter Reed Johnson on the right index finger, but the umpires ruled the Miami veteran swung while trying to turn out of the way.

Casey McGehee and manager Mike Redmond were ejected in the ensuing benches-clearing incident, and DeSclafani and bench coach Rob Leary were thrown out when the righty hit Gomez in the sixth.

"So out of all that, two guys hit, one guy in the hospital, our rookie pitcher gets a three-game suspension," Redmond said. "Doesn't seem right, does it?"

DeSclafani, 24, is 1-2 with a 7.14 ERA in nine big league games, with five starts. The right-hander was Double-A Jacksonville's Opening Day starter, and he made his MLB debut on May 14, getting the start after Jose Fernandez was lost for the season due to Tommy John surgery. The rookie has spent most of the season at Double-A and Triple-A New Orleans.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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{"event":["prospect" ] }

Nicolino, Jacksonville win Southern League title

Nicolino, Jacksonville win Southern League title

Double-A Jacksonville finished the regular season on a 10-game winning streak, clinching a playoff spot on the last day of the season. The hot streak continued in the playoffs, culminating Friday with a 6-1 victory against visiting Chattanooga to complete a sweep of the best-of-five Southern League Championship Series.

Friday's win was the Suns' 16th in 17 games. Jacksonville's lone loss since Aug. 21 was a 4-3 defeat at Mobile in Game 2 of their semifinal series last Friday.

Against Chattanooga, Jacksonville was led by left-hander Justin Nicolino, the 2014 Southern League Pitcher of the Year. Like the rest of the team, he finished the season on a hot streak, winning his final five starts, including two victories in the playoffs.

On Friday, Nicolino, the Marlins' No. 4 prospect, threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He struck out three batters, walked two and scattered seven hits.

The Suns gave their ace an early lead, thanks to a three-run home run from first baseman Viosergy Rosa in the first inning. The 24-year-old finished the game 2-for-3 with a walk, a run and four RBIs. The homer was his fourth of the playoffs.

Second baseman Austin Barnes, the Marlins' No. 16 prospect, went 2-for-4 with a double, a run and an RBI. Catcher J.T. Realmuto, the club's No. 7 prospect, added a hit and a run.

In 30 starts during the regular season and the playoffs, Nicolino went 16-4 with a 2.74 ERA. He struck out 87 batters and walked 23 in 180 innings. During the regular season, he led the Southern League in wins (14) and ERA (2.85) while throwing two shutouts.

Jacksonville went 45-25 in the second half of the season to win the South Division. It defeated Mobile in four games in the semifinals to advance to the finals for the first time since 2010. The Suns also won that series and have now won six Southern League championships in franchise history.

Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Phillies lose challenge, can't finish frame fast enough

Marlins drive in game's first run after umpires confirm safe call at first base

Phillies lose challenge, can't finish frame fast enough play video for Phillies lose challenge, can't finish frame fast enough

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies lost an instant replay challenge in the sixth inning, and the Marlins followed with a run on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phils thought third baseman Cody Asche threw out Miami's Ed Lucas on a play at first base, which would have ended the inning. But first-base umpire Alan Porter called Lucas safe, which instead put runners at the corners with two outs.

The review lasted just 45 seconds, and the call was confirmed.

Adeiny Hechavarria followed with a bloop single to right to score a run to make it 1-0 Marlins.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Brewers reach out to Marlins, look to move on from incident

Fiers, Roenicke hope slugger will be OK, reiterate beaning was accidental

Brewers reach out to Marlins, look to move on from incident play video for Brewers reach out to Marlins, look to move on from incident

MILWAUKEE -- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and pitcher Mike Fiers reiterated Friday that the pitch that hit slugger Giancarlo Stanton and caused severe facial injuries to the Marlins star was an accident, and both of them have tried to get in touch with Miami manager Mike Redmond.

"There's a lot of people who know the game of baseball, understand what happened, and know me personally, know that I'm not looking to go throw at people," Fiers said before Friday's game against the Reds. "So it's definitely an accident and we all hope it never happens and stuff like that never happens in this game. But unfortunately it does, and ... just hopefully he gets better and I'm just trying to get ready for my next start, though. There's a lot going on and we've got a couple weeks left here. We need to win games, but as long as he's fine, we've got to look past this."

Stanton, whose 37 homers and 105 RBIs are both tops in the National League, suffered multiple facial fractures, dental damage and a facial laceration requiring stitches after being hit in the face by a pitch from Fiers in the fifth inning of Thursday night's 4-2 Brewers victory at Miller Park.

After Stanton was placed on a gurney and taken from the field on an ambulance cart, Reed Johnson pinch-hit to complete the at-bat and was hit on the hand by Fiers' next pitch, triggering a benches-clearing incident in which both Redmond and third baseman Casey McGehee were ejected.

In the sixth inning, Marlins reliever Anthony DeSclafani hit Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and was ejected, along with substitute manager Rob Leary. DeSclafani was suspended Friday for three games, which he will appeal. Fiers was fined an undisclosed amount for his actions which contributed to the benches clearing.

Stanton was hospitalized overnight in Milwaukee, but returned to Miami on Friday. The Marlins said they are hopeful that Stanton would not require surgery, but no timetable has been set for his return. After the game, Redmond said he thought Stanton would be out of the rest of the season.

With the Marlins having battled back into the playoff picture, Roenicke said he understood Redmond's anger over the loss of his best player.

"I hear so many good things about this guy," Roenicke said of Stanton. "I watch him play and he's one of the .. superstars of this game. You want guys like that out there and on your team. And, I understand also why their team is mad about it, because I get that part.

"Whether you think a guy does it on purpose or not, your player's still hurt. So, I understand that part, I understand the way they felt."

Roenicke and Fiers both said they left messages for Redmond, but had not heard back before Friday's game.

"I reached out to them. Left a message, whenever they want to get back, or if they do," said Fiers, who also tweeted an apology to Stanton after the game. "If not, just wanted to reach out, let them know how I feel and just how I feel about the whole situation. So whenever they get back to me is fine."

Roenicke said he also talked with Fiers and to make sure he was mentally prepared to make his next start.

"It's part of baseball. It's the part we wish didn't happen," Roenicke said. "But I think he's got to move forward and try to get his head back into what he's doing and his job."

Jim Hoehn is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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