Dobbs, Marlins agree to two-year, $3M deal
The return of infielder Greg Dobbs, who agreed to a two-year deal worth $3 million, is a boost for the Marlins' bench. But Dobbs will face a challenge this year as the team's main left-handed pinch-hitter.
"Dobbs, he was just outstanding last year," Marlins baseball operations president Larry Beinfest said. "His pinch-hitting numbers speak for themselves."
Dobbs batted .370 (10-for-27) as a pinch-hitter last year. That's a major increase over his pinch-hitting statistics from 2010. He batted only .122 (6-for-49) for the Phillies.
One reason for his success as a pinch-hitter in 2011 could be the fact that he had plenty of regular playing time, too. With injuries to shortstop Hanley Ramirez and other starting players, Dobbs batted .275 overall in a career-high 411 at-bats, which undoubtedly helped the timing of his swing coming off the bench.
Dobbs last year saw most of his action at third base, where Ramirez will play in 2012 to make room for new shortstop Jose Reyes. If the Marlins stay healthy in 2012, Dobbs won't make as many starts.
Dobbs has a .259 (74-for-316) batting average in his career as a pinch-hitter.
Catcher Brett Hayes and infielder Donnie Murphy will join Dobbs on the bench. Other bench candidates include outfielders Aaron Rowand, Chris Coghlan, Bryan Petersen and Scott Cousins.
LF Logan Morrison on Jan. 11 took his first swings since having surgery Dec. 5 on his right knee. "It felt good," said Morrison, who hit .247 with 23 home runs and 72 RBI in 123 games last year. "There's still swelling," Morrison said. "It doesn't feel 100 percent, but I think if there are no setbacks I should all right. If I have to miss a week of spring training, and I'm not planning to, that's probably the most it will be."
1B Gaby Sanchez and C John Buck started taking batting practice last week in Miami. The two are hitting at Sluggers, a batting cage operated in Miami by Sanchez's father.
LHP Rob Delaney has signed a minor league deal with the Marlins. Delaney, 27, posted a 10.80 ERA in four appearances for Tampa last year. He debuted in 2010 with Minnesota.
3B Matt Dominguez, 22, last month started throwing and hitting with teammates Bryan Petersen and Greg Dobbs at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He'll report to spring training next month and probably open the season with Class AAA New Orleans.
The Marlins announced their first three exhibition games at their new ballpark in Miami. The first game at the $515-million ballpark will be played March 5 between two Miami high school teams Christopher Columbus High School and Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. The Marlins will play the next two games, on March 6 against the University of Miami and March 7 against Florida International University. Those two games will be split-squad games for the Marlins, whose other split squads will play the Tigers on March 6 and Mets on March 7 in Grapefruit League games at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.
OF Bryan Petersen and 3B coach Joe Espada will be guest instructors when LF Logan Morrison holds his second annual youth baseball camp Jan. 14-15 to raise money for the American Lung Association. Talk-show host Keith Olbermann, Morrison's friend, donated $2,500 to send 10 kids to the camp at the Marlins' spring-training complex in Jupiter, Fla. At least 35 were expected to attend.
LHP Mark Buehrle let the family dog, a pitbull named Slater, dictate where he lives in South Florida. Buehrle is living in Broward County, which is farther away from the Marlins' ballpark in Miami, because Miami-Dade County bans pitbulls.
BY THE NUMBERS: .370 Greg Dobbs' batting average (10-for-27) as a pinch-hitter last year. That's a major increase over his pinch-hitting statistics from 2010, when he batted .122 (6-for-49) for the Phillies.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"If I have to miss a week of spring training, and I'm not planning to, that's probably the most it will be." LF Logan Morrison, who took swings Jan. 11 for the first time since having surgery Dec. 5 on his right knee.
The Marlins have had a big offseason with the signings of LHP Mark Buehrle, SS Jose Reyes and RHP Heath Bell.
ARRIVALS: LHP Mark Buehrle (free agent from White Sox), SS Jose Reyes (free agent from Mets), RHP Heath Bell (free agent from Padres), LHP Wade LeBlanc (trade with Padres), OF Aaron Rowand (minor league free agent).
DEPARTURE: C John Baker (traded to Padres).
FREE AGENTS: RHP Javier Vazquez, INF Jose Lopez, RHP Clay Hensley.
Vazquez is leaning toward retiring. Lopez is not expected to be back. Hensley was non-tendered.
ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: RHP Anibal Sanchez, RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly Leo Nunez), RHP Chris Volstad, INF Emilio Bonifacio.
RHP Josh Johnson (right shoulder inflammation) ended 2011 on a positive note the last week in September by throwing to hitters in live batting practice. That was his closest action to the last time he pitched in a game, on May 16. The big test will come in spring training.
SS Hanley Ramirez (left shoulder surgery in September 2011) is expected to be healthy by Opening Day, but it's too early to guarantee his readiness for the start of spring training. However, he said in mid-November that his rehab was ahead of schedule.
LHP Randy Choate (left elbow inflammation), out since August, is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.
OF Scott Cousins (lower back strain) is expected to be ready for the start of spring training.