MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Here’s an update on what’s going on in Florida’s Minor League system:
Miller is the new addition
The Marlins outrighted right-handed reliever Justin Miller to the Isotopes this week, 10 days after they designated him for assignment to bring up catcher Paul Lo Duca. How Miller does in the few remaining games the Isotopes have left could determine whether they bring him back up with teh Marlins when rosters expand to up to 40 players after Sept. 1.
Bringing up Miller could be a big question for the Marlins, who would have to be added to the 40-man roster first.
Follow the leader
With just nine games to go in his regular season, standout third baseman Dallas McPherson continues to lead the Minor League world in home runs with 40, three ahead of Nelson Cruz.
McPherson is enjoying a stellar comeback year after missing all of 2007 with back surgery. The 28-year-old is hitting .278 with 91 RBIs in 121 games.
Despite currently being on a three-game losing streak, the Marlins’ Double-A club is still in first place in the Southern League at 37-24 (a .607 winning percentage). They’re 5 1/2 games up in the North division, and a half-game ahead of Mississippi for first overall.
The Marlins’ first-round pick last year, Matt Dominguez, has been struggling as the season winds down for the Grasshoppers. Over his last 10 games, the 6-foot-2 right-handed hitting corner infielder is hitting just .220 (9-for-41). This season, the 18-year-old is batting .283 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs in 83 games.
Hammerheads holding on
With just nine games remaining in the regular season, the Marlins’ Single A club remains one game ahead of Daytona in the East division of the Florida State League for first place. Jupiter sits at 36-24, and both clubs have won three games in a row.
Injured Marlins: Left-hander Andrew Miller (right patella tendinitis), who threw 5 2/3 innings and 99 pitches in a rehab start on Thursday, will make another Double-A rehab start Wednesday and be on a pitch count of 100. … Righty reliever Doug Waechter (right shoulder inflammation) threw a pain-free inning of scoreless relief during a rehab assignment outing Thursday. Waechter is getting some work with the Gulf Coast League Marlins and is eligible to come off the disabled list.
– Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com
MIAMI — With the end of August on the horizon, and the day Major League rosters can expand on Sept. 1 coming up, let’s take a look at how some of the players who could help the Marlins make a postseason run are faring in the Minor Leagues:
Robert Andino – Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez always expresses wishing he would’ve had a chance to use Andino’s versatility more when he was with the club, but his bench was just too deep for the 24-year-old to get much playing time. In his limited time, this is what we know about Andino: He’s fast and a very smart baserunner, is a streaky hitter that can hit for power and a good defensive infielder — who played emergency outfield on occasion.
Andino was optioned to the Isotopes on July 31 to make room for veteran closer Arthur Rhodes. On Sunday, Andino hit a walk-off homer for Albuquerque. In his last 10 games, he is batting .391 (18-for-46) with three home runs and 12 RBIs.
Dallas McPherson – The power-hitting third baseman has turned a lot of heads this season, and a lot of people feel like he could be a starter with the Marlins right now. McPherson has a good chance to be with the team after Sept. 1, but one problem with him is he pretty much fits the bill in terms of the rest of the Marlins players — he strikes out a lot (150 times this season with just 70 walks) and hits a ton of home runs (a Pacific Coast League-leading 40).
On the year, he also sports a .279 batting average with 91 RBIs.
One more thing, he is not a prospect. McPherson is 28 years old and played three seasons with the Angles. Regardless, after missing all of 2007 because of back surgery, it’s been a great comeback for the 6-foot-4 left-handed hitter.
Taylor Tankersley – “The Tank,” as some of his teammates with the Marlins call him, can be a very useful tool out of the Marlins’ bullpen if called back up, especially with the way current lefty reliever Renyel Pinto has struggled — sporting a 27.21 ERA since July 29.
Tankersley started off the year on a bad note, but he said he became a “tougher” pitcher when sent down to Triple-A and has sported some good numbers in the Minor Leagues this year, going 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 29 games.
Paul Hoover – I can’t see the Marlins adding a fourth catcher this year, but Hoover has been up and down with the club all year, and Gonzalez has said he does a very good job handling the pitching staff. In his last 10 games with the Isotopes, Hoover is batting .294 with two home runs and three RBIs.
Rick VandenHurk – The righty starter struggled mightily at the beginning of the year with the Marlins, came back, had one very good start, then reverted back to his old ways before getting sent back down for Anibal Sanchez. Still, VandenHurk is a guy who can give the Marlins some spot starts if he’s back with the team.
He is 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA in his last four starts in Albuquerque.
Cameron Maybin – The speedy centerfielder is very young, but also very promising, and the Marlins are likely to want to take a closer look at him in September. This year, Maybin has been up-and-down offensively and has struck out a ton — pretty much the M.O. on the Marlins.
On the year, he’s hitting .276 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs. Maybin suffered a shoulder injury earlier this month, but vice president of player development Rick Fleming said a few weeks back that he has recovered fully.
Gaby Sanchez – Not sure if Sanchez would get called up to the Marlins, but it sure would be tough to keep the corner infield from the big club. The former University of Miami star has been on a tear this year, batting .327 with 17 home runs and 84 RBIs. In July, he earned Topps Player of the Month.
And check this out: He’s walked three more times than he’s struck out (65-62).
Ryan Tucker – Tucker started off the season as a starter, but struggles there prompted him to the bullpen with the Marlins, and he has continued that in the Minor Leagues.
Lately, Tucker has been throwing just one inning of relief at a time and has been used as a middle reliever — most recently as the eighth-inning guy. In his last five games, all of them one-inning stint, the 6-foot-2 righty has thrown five shutout innings and has given up just one hit.
* Catcher Mike Rabelo (right wrist) is pretty much done for the season, and Gonzalez said he’d probably play Winter Ball.
* Andrew Miller (right patella tendinitis) threw six shutout innings on an 80- to 85-pitch limit for Class A Jupiter on Thursday and would be scheduled to make his next rehab start on Tuesday. Gonzalez said he could pitch for Double-A Carolina. “We just want him to feel comfortable,” the Marlins’ skipper said.
* Doug Waechter (right shoulder inflammation) has been throwing bullpen sessions with no strain on his injury and said he’d be in Jupiter, Fla., throwing some more while the Marlins are on the road. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday.
2008 Draft picks
The Draft signing deadline was midnight ET on Saturday, and the Marlins succesfully came to terms with their first nine picks. Here’s a look at how they’ve done in the rookie Gulf Coast League this summer:
1. Kyle Skipworth (C) – .187 batting average, four home runs, 17 RBIs in 37 games
2. Brad Hand (LHP) – 1-0, 2.83 ERA in eight games (seven starts)
3. Edgar Olmos (LHP) – 0-0, 0.00 ERA in one start
4. Curtis Petersen (RHP) – 0-2, 9.64 ERA in five games (four starts)
5. Peter Andrelczyk (RHP) – NULL
6. Graham Johnson (RHP) – 0-0, 9.00 ERA in one game
7. Paul Gran (3B) – NULL
8. Isaac Galloway (RF) – .274, one home run, 22 RBIs in 42 games
9. Daniel Jennings (LHP) – NULL
– by Alden Gonzalez, associate reporter/MLB.com