07/24/12 7:24 PM ET
LeBlanc to take Anibal's spot in Miami rotation
By Joe Frisaro and Tom Green / MLB.com
A day after Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said LeBlanc would be the likely replacement for Sanchez, who started 19 games this season, manager Ozzie Guillen confirmed the decision to insert the lefty into the rotation.
"He's done a very good job, and that's why I think he earned that spot," Guillen said. "I'm happy to give it to him."
Guillen noted how well LeBlanc has performed in a Marlins uniform dating back to Spring Training, when the lefty led all Marlins starters with a 2.00 ERA and an opponents batting average of .176 in two starts. He also made four relief appearances in Spring Training, bringing his overall ERA during that time to 1.31 in 20 2/3 innings.
Despite that, LeBlanc missed the cut and started the season with Triple-A New Orleans. He started 16 games for the Zephyrs, going 5-5 with a 3.74 ERA before he was promoted on July 1 as a long reliever when Edward Mujica broke a toe.
Since joining the club, LeBlanc has made seven appearances out of the bullpen and hasn't allowed a run in 10 1/3 frames. He has given up eight hits and walked just one batter while striking out eight.
"As long as I'm here helping this team win, or doing whatever I can to help this team win, I'm happy," LeBlanc said. "As long as they feel like I'm one of the 12 best pitchers, and as long as they feel I can help them up here, whatever they want me to do, I'll do."
His first start of the season -- and first in the Majors since Sept. 28, 2011 -- will come Saturday against the team he last started for, the Padres.
"How about that?" LeBlanc said of starting against his former team. "How would that work out, huh? That's funny."
Ozzie: Onus on himself, players, not Marlins brass
MIAMI -- Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen on Tuesday delivered a terse message to critics of the team making major trades: Blame those in uniform, not the front office.
Miami dealt Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Tigers on Monday for three prospects, including highly touted right-hander Jacob Turner.
The Marlins took the field on Tuesday night with speculation that more moves could follow.
"Don't blame the front office," Guillen said. "I take the blame. The players, they take the blame. I'm the one that should be sad, upset, embarrassed maybe with the fans, with the media, with the hopes. I'm No. 1.
"I blame myself, first one for making the front office make the move they don't want to make. That's for sure. We've been talking about this for the last three weeks. The front office was very optimistic -- very optimistic about this ballclub, and we don't show them any sign to be more optimistic."
After falling seven games under .500 with a loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday, the Marlins pulled the trigger on the deal with Detroit.
The team then went out and beat the Braves, 2-1, on Monday.
There is growing speculation that Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez could be next, as the Marlins are open to listening to offers on any of their players, with the exception of Giancarlo Stanton.
Johnson is signed through 2013, and he is set to make $13.75 million. On Monday night, the right-hander was impressive in six shutout innings, striking out nine.
He was lifted due to a cut near the nail of his right middle finger. The 28-year-old is expected to make his next start.
Ramirez, making $15 million this year, returned to the starting lineup on Tuesday after he missed four straight starts due to inflammation in his right hand. In 2013, the former three-time All-Star is set to earn $15.5 million, and $16 million in 2014.
"That was the reason I signed here," Ramirez said of his long-term contract. "I've been here seven years now, and that was my hope. But like I said, it's a business. I can stay here or otherwise I just want to play and win. Even when you don't do good you just want to win."
The Marlins entered the season with a franchise-record, $101 million payroll. Moving Infante and Sanchez trimmed about $8 million this season.
Guillen noted that management isn't operating as in the past, when they played at Sun Life Stadium and ranked near the bottom of the league in attendance and revenue.
"Miami, I know they're used to blaming the front office," Guillen said. "I was here before and they've done some stuff here that a lot of people thought they shouldn't do that, when they went and broke up the team.
"I think if there's anybody out there that wants to blame somebody, blame the people wearing this uniform, don't blame the people who wear ties and sport coats. Nope. They do a great job. They did everything they could to keep this team together. They spent a lot of money, a lot of time. We added a player. If there's anybody that has to be blamed, I take the blame, and anybody besides me, the players have to take the blame."
Management made an early move on July 4, adding Carlos Lee in a deal with the Astros. But 19 days later, the front office was disappointed with being in fourth place in the National League East.
That prompted dealing Infante and Sanchez.
Heath Bell, in the first of a three-year, $27 million deal, says the team has to keep pushing forward.
"We had a lot of high hopes here," Bell said. "But these 25 guys in this locker room still think we can get to the postseason. We're just going to work hard and try to forget about all the trade rumors and trades and do the best we can."
Said Ramirez: "We're just keeping our mind in the game right now. We don't want to worry about what's happening right now off the field. We owe a lot to this city. We got to go out there and compete every day."
Bonifacio likely to get most of starts at second
MIAMI -- With a void at second base after the Marlins shipped Omar Infante to Detroit in a five-player trade Monday, the Marlins are turning to Emilio Bonifacio to fill the gap.
Bonifacio started at second base Tuesday for the second straight day -- and just the fourth time all season -- and the team hopes to keep him there for the foreseeable future.
"It depends on how the outfield swings the bat, but most of the games Boni is going to be our second baseman," manager Ozzie Guillen said.
Bonifacio is no stranger to the infield, having played 113 games between second, third and shortstop during his first year with the Marlins in 2009. Last season, he split time between the outfield and the infield, but played a combined 108 games in the infield.
"Wherever Ozzie wants to put me ... I told him before I don't have a problem with it," Bonifacio said.
Part of the decision to keep Bonifacio, who started 47 games in center field, at second is to maintain continuity at the position and have Bonifacio and shortstop Jose Reyes get used to each other in terms of fielding and turning double plays.
"[Monday] we gambled," Guillen said. "Boni hasn't taken ground balls in three months, but we have to do what we have to do."
With Bonifacio moving to second, Justin Ruggiano will get most of the starts in center field, where he has started 19 games, including Tuesday, since the Marlins acquired him at the end of May. Scott Cousins and Bryan Petersen, who was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday, are also available to play center field, while the Marlins will likely platoon right field until Giancarlo Stanton returns from knee surgery.
If Guillen decides that players aren't producing in right field while Stanton is sidelined, Ruggiano can play right and Bonifacio can move back to center. In that situation, Donovan Solano -- who Guillen said he nearly started at second base on Monday -- will see more playing time at second.
Petersen, Jennings back after Anibal-Infante deal
MIAMI -- Needing to fill two spots on the 25-man roster, the Marlins recalled outfielder Bryan Petersen and left-handed reliever Dan Jennings from Triple-A New Orleans on Tuesday.
The moves were made in response to Monday's trade that sent second baseman Omar Infante and starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez to Detroit for a package of prospects. Because the trade was finalized just prior to first pitch Monday, the Marlins played Monday's series opener with just 23 players and were short a position player on the bench.
Both Petersen and Jennings have had stints with the Marlins this season. For Petersen, it is his third time up with the big league club this year. He is hitting .212 in 22 appearances, including 14 starts.
Petersen will serve as a reserve outfielder this time up, but how much he will see the field remains to be seen.
"Maybe once in a while Petey will start, but I'm not promising him any playing time," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I go with who swings the bat better. If I see one of my players needs some rest, then Petey will start."
It is also the third time up for Jennings, who has made six appearances out of the bullpen and is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five innings for the Marlins this year. With New Orleans, he had a 2.72 ERA in 32 relief appearances.
The move to recall Jennings allows the Marlins to maintain three lefties in the bullpen after southpaw Wade LeBlanc was moved into the starting rotation to replace Sanchez.
Juwan Howard of the NBA champion Miami Heat threw out the first pitch Tuesday at Marlins Park. He is the second member of the Heat to throw out a ceremonial first pitch in Miami since the team won the NBA title last month. Shane Battier was the first, doing so on June 30.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.