4/13/2014 1:40 P.M. ET
Hall of Famer Perez eager to honor Jackie
With Robinson Day on Tuesday, Miami special assistant reflects on legend
By Joe Frisaro / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- The 1970 All-Star Game in Cincinnati is widely remembered for Pete Rose's vicious collision at home plate with catcher Ray Fosse. The overly aggressive play is one of the most talked about in the history of the Midsummer Classic.
To Tony Perez, the National League's starting first baseman that July 14 day, the event is also memorable for another reason. A special guest was at Riverfront Stadium that day.
Jackie Robinson was recognized before the game, and Perez -- like the rest of the All-Stars -- had a chance to meet and thank the legend.
"I never thought I would meet him," said Perez, a longtime Marlins special assistant. "But I was able to meet him before he passed away.
"All the players, especially black and Latin players, were happy to have a chance to meet him."
Robinson broke MLB's color barrier on April 15, 1947, and each year on the anniversary of the occasion, the league pays tribute.
Perez, a Hall of Famer who was born in Cuba, was a month away from turning 5 years old when Robinson first played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He recalls as a young child his father rooting for the Dodgers and cheering for Robinson.
"You never forget," Perez said. "Every year, we remember him and honor him, which I think is great because he deserved it. He went through so many things to get us here."
Jackie Robinson Night will be celebrated at Marlins Park on Tuesday, prior to the Marlins facing the Nationals. Before the game, the Marlins Foundation will present a scholarship check of $4,200 to the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Additionally, 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project, a local nonprofit organization, will have 50 of their top scholars at the game to present their favorite Jackie Robinson value.
On Jackie Robinson Night, all MLB players sport the No. 42 in tribute to Robinson.
"The day means a lot," Perez said. "I remember when I was a kid, I was almost 5 years old when he broke the barrier. I remember my father talking about him. He was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and he followed Jackie Robinson."
Marlins looking to solve road woes
PHILADELPHIA -- Getting out of town can't come quickly enough for the Marlins.
When Jimmy Rollins connected on his walk-off home run in the 10th inning on Saturday night, it secured two straight road series losses for Miami, which had its overall losing streak reach six.
The Marlins dropped three straight at Washington to open the road trip, and their rough stretch extended into Philadelphia.
Like last year, the Marlins are finding it tough on the road. To veteran catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who won a World Series championship with the Red Sox last year, playing away shouldn't be much different than being at home.
"There shouldn't be much of a difference," Saltalamacchia said. "At home, it's more comfortable with the fans and stuff. We've just played in a couple of parks that are hitter-friendly, and we've been able to score some runs. We just haven't been able to hold the other team. We've got to do a better job."
The rough road trip featured a bit of everything -- being shut out, blowing big leads and not being able to shut down the opposition.
A year ago, when they lost 100 games, the Marlins had troubles both at home and on the road. But they were 26-55 away from Marlins Park, compared to 36-45 in Miami.
Twice at Washington, Marlins relievers surrendered grand slams in the eighth inning. And on Saturday night, Rollins' walk-off homer off Dan Jennings gave the Phillies a 5-4 win.
"We've got to stop the bleeding," Saltalamacchia said. "At the same time, when we're scoring runs, we've got to continue scoring runs. We can't let teams off the hook. When we're scoring runs, we can't give up runs. We've got to stop that, too. But you can't judge our season after  games. We've had a rough stretch, but that happens. You see teams, six, seven games out, and in that last month of September, they make a big push. You can't count us out after  games."
Dietrich sits out again with back spasms
PHILADELPHIA -- Back spasms are keeping Derek Dietrich out of the lineup for two days, but the Marlins second baseman is hopeful he can return to action as early as Monday.
Dietrich was scratched from the lineup on Saturday, and to play it safe, he was also off on Sunday.
"My back tightened up on me," Dietrich said. "I guess back spasm or whatever. I got treatment all day yesterday. I'm available off the bench. Hopefully I'll be back in there [Monday]."
Manager Mike Redmond said he didn't plan on using Dietrich in the series finale at Philadelphia. The second baseman would only play in case of an extreme emergency. Jeff Baker started in place of Dietrich.
Dietrich felt some discomfort on Friday night while making a relay throw in the fifth inning on Jimmy Rollins' triple.
"I threw it, and my back started feeling a little weird," Dietrich said. "I woke up, it was a little tight. We just erred on the side of caution. I got a lot of treatment and [I'm] feeling a lot better today."
Dietrich has been starting at second base against right-handed pitchers, while Baker has been getting the call against lefties. The left-handed-hitting Dietrich is batting .313 with two home runs.
"He's better today," manager Mike Redmond said Sunday. "But his status is the same as yesterday. He's not playing today."
• Rafael Furcal (left hamstring) begins his rehab assignment on Monday with Class A Jupiter. The plan is to have him spend a week with Jupiter, and follow that up with a week at Double-A Jacksonville. He will be evaluated again at that time. Position players are allowed up to 21 days to be on rehab assignment.
• Giancarlo Stanton, according to ESPN's Stats & Info, has two of the three longest home runs this season. Stanton's drive of 469 feet on Saturday night is the third longest in the Majors this year. Stanton's 484-foot drive at Marlins Park is the longest, and Atlanta's Justin Upton is second at 477 feet.