7/3/2014 12:12 A.M. ET
Marlins agree to deals with young international talent
Miami confident that new emphasis on Latin America will be beneficial
By Joe Frisaro and Maria Torres / MLB.com
MIAMI -- An increased commitment on the international market has landed the Marlins some potentially high-end young talent.
On Wednesday, the first day to officially sign international players, Miami agreed to deals with Venezuelan outfielder Anderson Castro, Venezuelan shortstop Andres Villalobo, Dominican Republic outfielder Christian Capellan and right-handers Jesus Guerrero of Panama and Luis Mujica of the Dominican Republic.
As many as a dozen deals could be made in the coming days.
The Marlins have tripled their international budget from a year ago. Team owner Jeffrey Loria and the front office have made the international market, primarily Latin America, a priority in bringing in young talent.
"Jeffrey made a decision to increase the international signing budget to give us an opportunity to acquire premium guys," general manager Dan Jennings said.
If the organization was operating with budgets from previous years, it likely wouldn't have been able to land any of these five players.
Marcell Ozuna, signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, is one of their homegrown international players.
The pure tools of Castro, Capellan and Villalobo have the Marlins elated that they've lured in future impact stars.
After officially signing, most of the players will start off at the Marlins academy in the Dominican Republic as they get introduced to professional baseball.
From the 2013 class, left-handed-hitting outfielder Isael Soto, who is just 17, is now playing for the Gulf Coast League Marlins in Jupiter, Fla.
The Marlins note that Miami is the Gateway to the Americas, and the organization needs a strong presence in Latin America. They view the July 2 signing period as potentially as significant as the First-Year Player Draft to bring in young talent.
Albert Gonzalez, the Marlins' director of international operations, and his staff have been extremely active, putting together what the club feels could be a top international signing class.
Capellan, 16, is a 6-foot-4, 185-pound outfielder. The Marlins don't announce financial terms, but Capellan has agreed to a $500,000 bonus.
Castro, 16, is a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder considered a five-tool player. His bonus is around $650,000. Castro's raw talent resembles a young Vladimir Guerrero.
Villalobo, 16, is a switch-hitter, and a speedy shortstop who could project either at short or second base.
Stanton needs late rally in All-Star balloting
MIAMI -- Across the board, Giancarlo Stanton is posting numbers worthy of being a starting outfielder for the National League in the All-Star Game.
But he doesn't have all the votes.
The 24-year-old slugger will need a late rally to crack the top three, but time is running out.
The voting deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday.
Stanton paces the National League in home runs (21) and RBIs (61). But the Marlins right fielder has been more than just a power threat. He's becoming a complete player.
Stanton's .316 batting average is fourth best in the NL. He's third in hits (99), third in on-base percentage (.414) and second in slugging percentage (.591).
Stanton is fourth in the voting -- behind outfield leaders Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Carlos Gomez (Brewers) and Yasiel Puig (Dodgers).
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Stanton is expected to make the overall roster, and he could be a designated hitter option if he isn't voted in as a starting outfielder. The Miami standout also has committed to participating in the Home Run Derby.
Fans this year once again can participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league who they would most like to see participate in the Gillette Home Run Derby. The 2014 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 14.
The 2014 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the Taco Bell All-Star Selection Show on Sunday, beginning at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, with further details to follow on MLB.com. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Hechavarria starts Class A rehab Friday
MIAMI -- Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria will head to Class A Advanced Jupiter on Friday if he continues to make strides in his recovery from a strained right triceps.
The 25-year-old has been out of the lineup for almost two weeks since he landed on the 15-day disabled list on June 25, retroactive to June 21. He's eligible to rejoin the Marlins on Sunday at St. Louis.
Hechavarria took ground balls and threw to first base on Tuesday for the second time since he was scratched from the Marlins' lineup on June 21 against the Mets. He will have a third throwing session and take batting practice on Thursday.
Should all go well, the Marlins have planned for Hechavarria, who started 72 of Miami's 73 games before his injury, to play at least one rehab game with the Hammerheads in Jupiter, Fla.
However, manager Mike Redmond wouldn't be opposed if Hechavarria needed more than one start. With Donovan Solano and Ed Lucas proving to be capable backups at short, Redmond has insisted that Hechavarria be at full strength before he returns to the Marlins' lineup.
"We'll play that one by ear but that's the plan," Redmond said. "If he needs a couple extra days, we have that."
Hechavarria was showing signs of coming out a slump before the triceps strain. In 13 games from June 6-20, the right-hander hit at a .308 clip (16-for-52) with two doubles and four RBIs.
• The Marlins filled the spot on their roster left by reliever A.J. Ramos (on the DL with right shoulder inflammation) with first baseman Justin Bour. Bour, a left-handed bat who owns a .320/.397/.559 line at Triple-A New Orleans, is making his third stint with the Marlins since his contract was selected for the first time on June 4. In 13 Major League games, Bour hit .300 with four RBIs and three walks.
The addition of Bour gives the Marlins some left-handed power off the bench, which has been neglected due to long games and an in-flux bullpen.
"We've been short [of hitters] for at least two of those long-inning games," manager Mike Redmond said. "It's tough but that's the way it goes ... actually helped us a lot."
• After Wednesday's 5-0 win, the Marlins placed starter Tom Koehler on the paternity list, which made room for the team to reinstate lefty Brad Hand from the disabled list. Koehler's wife was expected to give birth to their first child some time before Thursday's game.
Hand will make the start Thursday in the series finale against the Phillies. He was sidelined with a right ankle sprain on May 24, posted a 2.38 ERA and 2-0 record in six starts at Class A Advanced Jupiter and Triple-A New Orleans. In his most recent start on Sunday for the Zephyrs, he went 2 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on four hits, one of which was a homer.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.