8/9/2013 7:38 P.M. ET
Marlins option Brantly, call up vet backstop Hill
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Rob Brantly, the Marlins' Opening Day starting catcher, has been optioned to Triple-A New Orleans.
The club made the decision after Thursday's 5-4 loss in 10 innings at Pittsburgh, and the official announcement came on Friday.
In a corresponding move, Koyie Hill had his contract selected from Triple-A New Orleans. Hill, 34, has previous big league experience, appearing in 313 games over nine seasons. In 2012, he appeared in 11 games with the Cubs.
Brantly, 23, has had his share of struggles, at the plate and in the field. He is batting .225 with one home run and 18 RBIs in 59 games. In the field, he has seven passed balls and a fielding percentage of .989.
The Marlins have been weighing for a while how to best address Brantly's situation.
"We talked about it, and I felt like it was best for him to go down to the Minor Leagues and get a chance to play these next 25, 26 games, whatever left down there," manager Mike Redmond said. "I really was only using him one or two days a week, max. I just felt like in the development process, it was best for him to go down and play and work on parts of his game that he needs to work on and get some confidence. I think it will be really good for him."
At New Orleans, Brantly will have a chance to work on his game-calling, as well as all phases of his game.
"Part of what concerned me is he may have lost his personality a little bit," Redmond said. "We saw a guy in Spring Training who was bouncing around, having fun, joking around. Then over the last, really, a month, I think he kind of lost that. For me, it's confidence. The big leagues is tough. You've got to have your game right."
For a few months, Brantly's playing time was reduced as Jeff Mathis handled a majority of the catching duties. The veteran Mathis has regularly been behind the plate for rookie phenom Jose Fernandez.
Brantly's most recent start was on Wednesday at Pittsburgh. He was hitless in three at-bats. Prior to then, he hadn't started since last Saturday in a loss to the Indians.
Miami acquired Brantly, along with Jacob Turner and Brian Flynn, from the Tigers on July 23, 2012, for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante.
A left-handed hitter, Brantly is a career .280 hitter in the Minor Leagues.
By being sent to Triple-A, Brantly will get a chance to play every day and refine his skills in the field and at the plate.
The Marlins promoted Brantly late last season, and in 31 games and 100 at-bats, he batted .290.
Hill provides a veteran backup presence to Mathis. With New Orleans, he batted .237 with one homer and 14 RBIs.
"With young prospects, sometimes you've got to take a step back to get them back on track," general manager Michael Hill said of Brantly. "We will get him back in the flow, and hopefully, he regains some confidence."
How Brantly performs at New Orleans could determine if he rejoins the Marlins in September.
"There was never any pressure put on him," Hill said. "Given our season, we knew we were going to have some challenges with some young players, and to see if they make progress and continue to get better. We've always said, if we felt they had lost confidence, it was time for them to go back and right the ship. That's sort of where we're at."
Scoring change takes hit away from Yelich
ATLANTA -- Marlins rookie left fielder Christian Yelich is piling up hits of late, as he rides an eight-game hitting streak entering Friday's series opener against the Braves.
But on Friday, the 21-year-old had a hit taken away, due to a scoring change.
The reversal wipes away Yelich's third hit of his MLB debut, which took place on July 23 against the Rockies at Coors Field.
By overturning that hit, Yelich officially went 2-for-4 instead of 3-for-4. The change also means Mike Redmond, Miami's manager, remains the only player in franchise history to start his MLB career with three straight hits.
Rather than having that third hit off Jhoulys Chacin, which occurred in the fifth inning, an error has been charged to Colorado second baseman DJ LeMahieu. The irony is the error didn't remove an RBI for Yelich, or create an unearned run for Chacin, who was on the losing end that day to Jose Fernandez.
What it did improve was Chacin's WHIP (walks/hits per nine innings).
"My first reaction was, 'Oh, well,'" Yelich said. "I don't care. Obviously, you want to take all the ones that you can, but it happens."
Rated by MLB.com as the Marlins' top prospect, Yelich has been heating up. He had a three-hit game, including his first big league homer, on Thursday in Miami's 5-4 loss in 10 innings at Pittsburgh.
Yelich's revised batting average since he was promoted from Double-A Jacksonville is now .303 (20-for-66) entering Friday. He extended his hit streak to nine games with a leadoff single Friday night against the Braves.
The Marlins joked that the change restores Redmond's team mark. Pitcher Tom Koehler poked his head in Redmond's office, and said he saw how the manager swayed the scorer.
"You see how I work now," Redmond joked.
Even though a hit was taken away at Colorado, Yelich has two three-hit games in his brief big league career. He went 3-for-5 against the Indians on Aug. 2, to go along with his performance on Thursday at Pittsburgh.
Generally speaking, Redmond isn't a big fan of such changes weeks after the game.
"I think it's crazy," the first-year Miami manager said. "The way I understand it, the players, through their agents, can go appeal a play, if it is scored incorrectly. I guess I don't really have a comment. But I never was a big fan of guys being more concerned as to whether they got a hit in the game. Then again, the game is so numbers based now. Pitchers are worried about their WHIP. All that stuff is money."
Marlins look internally for offensive upgrades
ATLANTA -- Improvements to the Marlins' offense will likely be coming from those either already on the roster or moving up through the Minor League system.
It's no secret the youthful squad is searching for run support. The Marlins rank either last or near last in the Major Leagues in a number of significant statistical categories, including runs scored (452), home runs (64) and batting average (.232).
In the offseason, the Marlins aren't expected to make major free agent moves, so they will be banking on progression from the players already on the field.
The Marlins like their core players like rookie outfielders Christian Yelich, Jake Marisnick and Marcell Ozuna.
They plan to build around Giancarlo Stanton. And Logan Morrison is gaining his timing back after recovering from two surgeries to his right knee.
"A lot of those young players are here already," general manager Michael Hill said. "It's not like we're going to go out and look for upper-level outfield prospects, because we've got Yelich, Marisnick and Ozuna.
"We'll look at these next two months and see where we're at. Obviously, you want to score more runs and not waste such strong pitching performances."
Over time, the club feels rookie shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria has a chance to be a much better offensive player, as well.
"You hope with another year with all these guys, they make progression," Hill said. "You hope you get definite improvement with the guys you see on your roster, and see where you are at the end of the season, to see if there is the ability to upgrade whatever holes you've got."
• After being given a day off on Thursday at Pittsburgh, Marisnick was back in center field on Friday at Atlanta. Marisnick also was placed second in the order, behind Yelich and in front of Stanton. Redmond is hoping that spot allows Marisnick to see more fastballs, with Stanton lurking.