Marlins righty has positive feelings about former team
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
Marlins hurler Ismael Valdez is 98-101 with a 4.04 ERA in 303 career games. (Steve Mitchell/AP)
SAN DIEGO -- PETCO Park still feels like home for Marlins right-hander Ismael Valdez.
Acquired from the Padres on July 31, Valdez continues to have strong admiration for San Diego and his former team.
"I feel like it is still family," said Valdez, who is 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA since the trade. "They gave me the opportunity and I feel I gave my best effort for this organization [San Diego]. It comes down to business. They needed to do whatever is best for the ballclub. I'm very happy with this organization. What can I say? This is business."
Valdez, who is 10-7 overall this season, was 9-6 with a 5.53 ERA in 23 games with the Padres.
The veteran right-hander felt he benefited by the fact PETCO Park is considered a pitchers' park.
"People here are already complaining about the dimensions because the ball doesn't travel at all here," he said. "Balls will be crushed big time. You wouldn't even look at them because you know it's gone. Then, the center fielder is catching the ball. In other ballparks, it would be long gone."
Ismael Valdez / P
Weight: 225 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Having last pitched on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium, Valdez will not start in the three-game series with the Padres.
After tossing six shutout innings in his first start as a Marlin -- a win over the Brewers at Pro Player Stadium -- Valdez is 0-1 in two road games. In those games, he's given up nine runs (eight earned) in 9 1/3 innings, including five homers.
Pitching coach Wayne Rosenthal said Valdez gets hurt when his location is off.
"That's why he's given up home runs on the road," Rosenthal said.
Surveying PETCO: Marlins vice president of communications and broadcasting P.J. Loyello took a tour of cozy PETCO Park.
The new park is designed to reflect the personality of San Diego. Beyond a see-through section of the outfield wall is an area called the "beachers." The beachers, which would be bleachers anywhere else, are lined with sand.
The Marlins are negotiating for a new ballpark in Miami next to the Orange Bowl.
While the project remains $30 million shy in funding, the team is encouraged by the continuing dialogue with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami.
Like San Diego, the Marlins' proposed new home will reflect Miami.
"They are talking about a cigar bar in the new stadium," manager Jack McKeon said. "The Jack McKeon Room."
While PETCO is a pitchers' park, a number of the new stadiums are hitter friendly.
What is in the works in Miami?
In relation to the dimensions, Loyello said, "We'll have a fair ballpark."
The outfield distances will be similar to Pro Player Stadium, except there won't be the quirky deep part that juts out to 434 feet.
Mike Redmond / C
Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Now, Spooneybarger is resigned to the fact he probably won't pitch in 2004. However, he should be ready for the start of Spring Training to assume a setup relief role.
"It hurt badly," Spooneybarger said. "Probably one of the most painful experiences I've had. But it went away."
Spooneybarger may try throwing again Saturday.
Hurricane relief: Throughout the upcoming six-game homestand Pro Player Stadium, the Marlins will conduct a relief effort for the victims of Hurricane Charley.
Starting Tuesday and running through Sunday, Aug. 29, fans can bring their donations to the stadium. Players' wives, the Mermaids, and volunteers from the American Red Cross will be on hand to collect items.
Suggested items are: sealed bottled water, coolers, clothing, first aid kits, camp stoves, trash bags, diapers, blankets, ropes, gloves, duct tape, batteries, transistor radios and extension cords.
Fans can also aid the hurricane victims by bidding on Marlins memorabilia at www.floridamarlins.com. From Tuesday through Sunday, the Marlins will feature a single auction item for each of the six games.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.