06/05/10 3:15 PM EST
Anticipation high with Stanton arrival nearing
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
No exact date has been set, but speculation is it can be next week, perhaps when the Marlins are in Philadelphia beginning on Tuesday. Another scenario is he arrives at the end of the week at Tampa Bay, where he could be used as the designated hitter.
Even that is speculative, but the way Stanton is carving up Double-A, it's only a matter of time. The 20-year-old belted his 21st home run on Friday, and he was 3-for-3 with two walks. He was a double away from the cycle. He his batting .310 for the Jacksonville Suns, and he has 52 RBIs.
Gonzalez joked on Saturday that falling a double short is "the missing piece" the organization is looking for before deciding to give the slugger a promotion.
Whenever he does arrive, Gonzalez says it is his job, along with the staff and some players, to make Stanton not feel he has to save the season.
"There is a danger," Gonzalez said. "That's going to be one of my biggest jobs. Not making this guy sound like he is Roy Hobbs. Make him comfortable. Make him part of the team. It's going to be hard getting used to the big leagues as it is. One of my biggest challenges is to protect him."
The way Stanton belts home runs, he does seem like he could be the lead character in the movie, "The Natural." While Hobbs hit a home run that knocked the lights out in the stadium on the movie screen, Stanton is hitting 480-foot home runs in the Minor Leagues.
Stanton has 21 homers in 187 at-bats, which is one on average of every 8.9 at-bat. In his Minor league career, he has 61 homers in 711 at-bats, which is an 11.7 clip.
To help gauge how to handle a 20-year-old sensation, Gonzalez has spoken briefly with his close friend and mentor, Braves manager Bobby Cox, about Jason Heyward.
Heyward, the 20-year-old sensation, is already a National League Rookie of the Year frontrunner.
"I talked to Bobby about Heyward, and he told me that Heyward is a special young man," Gonzalez said. "Stanton is that same type of mentality. The maturity there is way above 20 years old."
Hanley's rhythm off in Marlins' big spots
NEW YORK -- Excelling in the clutch has been a reason why Hanley Ramirez established himself as one of the most feared hitters in the game.
Right now, Ramirez is trying to regain the feel at the plate that made him a two-time All-Star.
After leaving five runners on base in Friday's 4-3 loss to the Mets, Ramirez admitted more is expected from him.
With runners on second and third Friday, Ramirez tapped a 1-1 Francisco Rodriguez changeup to third base for the final out.
"It's a long season. I've got to keep working. I've got to step it up," Ramirez said.
A year ago, when Ramirez was the National League batting champion -- hitting .342 -- he was especially impressive with runners in scoring position. In those situations, he hit at a .373 clip.
It's a major reason he drove in 106 runs.
"I think his timing is off a little bit, and he's a little anxious," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
This year with runners in scoring position, Ramirez is hitting .241 (13-for-54). With two outs and runners in scoring position, he's at .192. By comparison, Jorge Cantu is batting .333 (9-for-27) in similar two-out circumstances.
"I think I've been too aggressive and have tried to do too much with runners in scoring position," Ramirez said.
Many around the league have ranked Ramirez in Albert Pujols' class. When Pujols steps up with two outs and runners in scoring position, he's hitting .563 (9-for-16) with 15 RBIs. That's tops in the NL.
Rounding out the top five of batters hitting in those situations are Casey McGehee (.400), Troy Glaus (.393), Jason Heyward (.385) and Ian Stewart (.370).
"I've just got to keep working. I've not been so good with runners in scoring position," the Marlins' shortstop said.
Compared to last year, Ramirez says he just isn't in a groove.
"My timing is different. I don't know why. I just have to find it quickly," he said. "I don't watch film. It's feeling. I don't have the same timing. I've been different from last year, I don't know why."
Wooden's passing touches Gonzalez
MIAMI -- The passing of a basketball legend has touched Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez.
John Wooden, the icon former UCLA coach who died on Friday, influenced Gonzalez.
Gonzalez says he has read all of Wooden's books, and a few are in his office at Sun Life Stadium.
"In any kind of sport, whether it's baseball, basketball, football, everybody has used his stuff for coaching," Gonzalez said. "And I'm sure in business, too. All of us in athletics have used his stuff. His influence.
"Whatever career they are in, whether it's athletics at all levels, we've used his philosophies. I've read his books. He never talked to his team about winning. He talked about preparation, and playing the game the right way."
A few years ago, Gonzalez tried to get Wooden to autograph a book. It was in Spring Training 2008, when Mark Hendrickson was with the Marlins.
Hendrickson, who attended Washington State, was inducted into the Pac 10 Hall of Fame. A basketball and baseball standout in college, Hendrickson said Wooden often attended the awards banquet, but he wasn't there that year.
Marlins lead radio play-by-play announcer Dave Van Horne had an off-day Saturday, and he will be back on Sunday. Bill Beck, the Marlins' senior director of team travel, filled in for Van Horne, joining Glenn Geffner. ... Renyel Pinto, on the disabled list with a left hip strain, is scheduled to pitch in a rehab assignment game on Saturday for Class A Jupiter. Catcher John Baker, on the DL with a right flexor arm muscle strain, is also slated to be the designated hitter in the same game. Both were lined up to play on Friday, but the Hammerheads were rained out. The plan is for Pinto to make three assignment appearances before he will be lined up to be activated. ... From a defensive strategy standpoint, Mets outfielders have been playing the Marlins more shallow then they had in the previous two series between the teams. Playing in helped on Friday night, when center fielder Angel Pagan threw Hanley Ramirez out at the plate when he tried to score on Jorge Cantu's single.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.