Garrett Cooper jumping to Jupiter, Marlins shuffle roster

It seems like it won’t be long until Miami Marlins right fielder Garrett Cooper returns from the 10-Day IL.

Cooper was involved with team stretching drills and participated in batting practice on Friday before the Marlins weekend series opener against the Washington Nationals.

“He’s progressing along, that’s for sure,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He was doing some outfield drills today. He’s already been taking ground balls and hitting. He’s doing running progression and will do curves either today or tomorrow.”

Mattingly also said that he that Cooper will begin his rehab assignment in Jupiter on Sunday.

“He’s going to be going to Jupiter as we leave here after the weekend and that progression will continue into at-bats,” Mattingly said.

The Marlins hit the road next week to Cleveland then Philadelphia. The Jupiter Hammerheads, the Marlins’ Single-A Advanced affiliate, begin their 10-game homestand on Monday. The Hammerheads play in the Marlins Spring Training complex, where Cooper batted 395/.438/.488 in 48 plate appearances en route to earning the starting right field job at Opening Day. He went hitless in the first two games of the season before the injury. 

Since his absence Peter O’Brien, Austin Dean, Isaac Galloway and Rosell Herrera all got starts in the outfield. O’Brien was sent down after batting .111 with a home run and two RBIs in nine games for Dean, who was also sent down on Saturday for infielder Jon Berti. 

Dean jumped out of the gates with a home run and five RBIs against the Philadelphia Phillies a week ago. Going 1-for-16 with poor defense in the next four games led to the hook.

“As much as anything, it was defensive. He gave us offense that first day. After, it was a lot of chase; I think 1-for-16,” Mattingly said. “With this outfield, we’ve got to be able to defend better with our pitching. We cannot afford to give up extra runs, extra outs”

Jon Berti is a versatile infielder that allows Brian Anderson to switch from third base to right field and back whenever necessary. He also opened the minor league season by reaching base in each of his 13 games.

The Marlins also fired hitting coach Mike Pagliarulo. Jeff Livesey has been promoted to interim head hitting coach. Eric Duncan will join the staff as assistant hitting coach.

The Pat Riley to the Lakers thing won’t die

South Florida sports fans are particularly sensitive about this stuff.

After all, they thought they had a championship coach for the Miami Dolphins when Nick Saban signed on in 2005. He started slow that first season, but won his last six behind Gus Frerotte, signed Daunte Culpepper and seemed poised for greatness until that season soured. Then, toward the end, with rumors swirling, Sun-Sentinel columnist Dave Hyde had the guts to ask him flat out if he would be going to the Crimson Tide.

And you recall the answer…

Soon after, Saban was the Alabama coach.

Still is.

With all those championships.

Recently, as the Los Angeles Lakers have continued to melt down — they’re interviewing Ty Lue for head coach, for bleep’s sake — Pat Riley’s name has been linked on social media to them again. Yes, that Pat Riley. The Heat-president-since-1995-Pat Riley.

Riley, of course, made his name with the Lakers, sort of as a player — and Jerry West’s practice dummy — and then as a broadcaster and the slicked back savant of Showtime. He also stumbled into a discussion about returning in 2004, before Jerry Buss ended up sending him Shaquille O’Neal instead. Jerry has passed, but his daughter Jeanie is trying to recreate the past, and so the reunion story won’t go away. Especially now that Magic Johnson has gone, to tweet inanities instead. And especially since it appears that LeBron James and Riley have patched things some, after Riley was red hot about him for the past few years, and James was annoyed by Riley continuing to mention him.

Riley’s been making overtures like this one (see link).

Oh, and there was this…

That’s why I felt the need to get Riley on the record about the Lakers, and his own future.

Here it was, Saturday:

But you knew it wouldn’t end there. Not with Riley in Malibu already for much of the summer. Not with ESPN’s ridiculous obsession over the Lakers, above all teams currently in the playoffs. Not with it possibly serving his interests to make the Heat, um, sweat a little, as the succession plan still needs to take shape.

So Jeannie wants him back?

That’s not a surprise.

But if Riley goes now, he’s at risk of Saban-ing himself.

Yes, there is an infinitely greater record of goodwill here. Saban was 15-17. Riley has won three championships, and made the playoffs 80 percent of the time.

That, though, is why it will hurt some fans more.

Especially after Riley ripped LeBron for taking off.

Opportunity good as it gets for Isaac Galloway

The ineptitude of the offense prompted the Miami Marlins to call up outfielder Isaac Galloway in order to provide the spark on Tuesday. 

Galloway knocked out a hit in each of his first two games but the Marlins lost both against the Chicago Cubs by a combined score of 10-0 and were swept for the third time this season.

In the minor leagues, Galloway was Mr. Marlin. He was drafted in the 8th round of the 2008 Draft out of Draft from Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and batted .286 in 48 Gulf Coast League Games that year. His biggest display of power came in 2011, where he belted 16 home runs and 54 RBI with 17 stolen bases in 110 games for Single-A Greensboro.

Overall, he’s been a .251 career hitter in the minors who has carved out the niche as a speedy, good defensive outfielder. He made a quick impression in his first game when he gunned down Cubs second baseman Daniel Descalso when he tried to tag up from second base to third base.

In the first 11 games of the 2019 minor league season, Galloway batted .297 with a .730 slugging percentage. Eight of his 12 hits were doubles and home runs, totaling eight RBI. While July 31, 2018 was his MLB debut, the early season call up finally allows Galloway a real opportunity to stand out in the barren wasteland of broken bats surrounded by the mirage of paradise.

“Which is obviously a great story for (Isaac Galloway), obviously, because it shows just his character and worth ethic to continue to be diligent with his work and always believing in himself,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “At this point, you kind of see a guy that’s really well rounded in his game and fundamentally sound in a lot of areas. His base running is really good, he can steal a bag, a really good defender. He’s hitting more and more as time went on and I think that’s why he’s here.” 

To make room for Galloway and relief pitcher Jarlin Garcia on the roster, shortstop JT Riddle was sent down to New Orleans and reliever Austin Brice was placed on the 10-day IL with gastroenteritis. The Marlins designated Galloway for assignment on February 4 to make room for Brice, so it comes as ironic that they would be involved in the same transaction but practically in reverse. 

How long will this opportunity last? Starting right fielder Garrett Cooper is recovering from a strained calf and has recently started running and taking batting practice. He may be making his return as early as next month. Riddle started at centerfield on Wednesday for New Orleans so that may add more options to the outfield in the coming weeks.

“Primarily, he will play short,” Mattingly said of Riddle. “We’ll try to get him a game here or there in the outfield. We’d already started that process. There were already a couple of games that he was an out away in a double-switch of playing in the outfield here. So we do want to get him a game or so a week, but he primarily will be at shortstop.”

Meanwhile, centerfielder Lewis Brinson is 1-for-18 in his last seven games. Austin Dean was called up to take over for the struggling Peter O’Brien and after a impressive first game, has fallen into the same slump.

At this point, as long as Galloway can keep his head above water, he’ll continue to swim with the Marlins.

Marc Stein on Pat Riley: “I won’t doubt him again”

The newly-minted Basketball Hall of Famer, Marc Stein — long of ESPN and now of The New York Times — joined the Five Reasons Sports flagship on Thursday to discuss the NBA playoffs, NBA player movement, the Miami Heat and Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade.

You can find the full episode here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/marc-stein-on-nba-playoffs-riley-wade-dirk/id1336060206?i=1000435259473

Here are some highlights:

On Pat Riley…

 

On Kevin Durant and the New York Knicks….

 

On the Miami Heat’s trade for Jimmy Butler falling through with the Minnesota Timberwolves….

Inter Miami Sporting Director: When We Call, Players Will Come

On this week’s edition of the Pitch Invasion podcast, Inter Miami Sporting Director Paul McDonough sat down with me to talk about the future of the club.

We were at Central Broward Regional Park to watch the tryouts for the Inter Miami academy, which is due to start later this year.

But we also got to discussing how this MLS expansion club will be built, and specifically how the Designated Player spots will be used.

For the uninitiated, MLS does have a salary cap. But the league allows its teams to buy up to 3 players that can go over the salary cap to an unlimited amount of salary.

And McDonough doesn’t think Miami will have any trouble attracting some of the best in the soccer world.

“I think Miami is going to be a place where when we pick the phone up and call people, they’re going to want to come.

So I think designated players that are DP’s in other teams within MLS won’t be DP’s here. I think the DP’s have to be a certain level of player.

A global player.

A global superstar.

Or young exciting players that we buy, play for us for a couple of years, and then move to Europe.”

Inter’s choices for who will be the first Designated Players to play for the club will go a long way in determining their success both on and off the field.

A Day of Hot Miami Dolphins Takes

It was a sleepy Thursday morning, leading up to lunch as Chris Kouffman, Simon Clancy and myself debated the merits of drafting Jeffery Simmons (DT prospect from Mississippi State) at #13. Simmons, if not for some baggage, and a torn ACL (could miss the 2019 season) would be considered a top 3 prospect in this draft. The debate essentially centered around “If you don’t care about 2019, then why not Simmons?” Simon Clancy then said something in jest, and I found it interesting. I suggested he tweet it out. He did.

All hell broke loose.

Some of This:

 

A little of this:

 

Some more of this:

 

And a whole lot of this:

 

A few insults, Camby .gifs, (usually a Miami Heat Beat thing) and general disdain for the offending tweet ensued.

So, let’s dissect it shall we?

“If Miami end up winning 5/6 games this season then Chris Grier should be fired.”

WHOA. HAWT TAKE. OK, this is certifiably insane. Or is it? Chris Grier has been here for a while now, and has had control over the draft for the better part of the last 4 years, and if the “guts” of this roster coupled with at least 4 of his drafts can only muster 5 or 6 wins, his skill as a talent evaluator should be questioned. But let’s face it, there is a subtle, but definite “managed decline” of the talent of this roster from just a year ago.

But that’s not the reason why Simon says Grier should be fired for 5-6 wins. The main body of the tweet explains:

“There’s a pathway to long term playoff participation that’s readily available to Miami. One that rarely if ever comes around. Or there’s the continued 5-11 to 8-8 pathway we’ve swung on for years.”

Tua Tagovailoa. He is a “sure thing”. At least Simon seems to think so, and he considers any cosmetic augmentation of this roster with no real purpose to be a detriment to the ultimate goal. GETTING GOOD. Obviously, Simon thinks that draft position (namely drafting #1) is essential to ending our never ending local nightmare. If you are the worst, you will likely get a head start on being among the best. it’s the NFL way.

Let’s not get it twisted. it was an “indelicate” tweet. But he was not wrong. It’s just that the remedy/punishment for the GM was a bit draconian.

Insight into this week’s “Swings and Mishes”

As the Marlins continue to struggle offensively, they’ve gotten off to a rocky 4-15 start. That didn’t stop Craig Mish and Jeremy Tache from exploring the deeper conversation surrounding the team.

To start, Craig points out that there are “different ways to lose 100 games,” and what’s going on with the Marlins right now is about as tough as it can get to watch.

The young players are not playing up to the best of their abilities and it would unacceptable for those players to regress and be worse than last year. Mostly, Craig and Jeremy discuss Lewis Brinson and Brian Anderson — two pieces who the Marlins hope can be part of this franchise for a long time to come.

As for Don Mattingly, Craig doesn’t believe there much that can change at the moment. The only note made about Mattingly’s approach is that he has a calming presence and is not much of a “screamer.” That comes, as Craig notes, from following in his father’s footsteps as being a leader with “quiet confidence.”

Mattingly may need to make some tough decisions regarding the rest of his staff if the offense continues to look the way it does over this next stretch.

So, here going forward, Craig says he believes the Marlins emphasis should shift to the play of Brinson, Anderson, and Jorge Alfaro. They shouldn’t worry much about the wins and losses because it’s time to do everything you can as a franchise to help those players thrive. That, in Craig and Jeremy’s opinion, would include leading off Lewis Brinson to get him as many at bats as possible over the next couple of weeks. If over the next week or two Brinson doesn’t get things going, it may be time to send him down to the minors.

Lastly, the guys interview Marlins AAA pitcher Zac Gallen. Gallen’s been about as dominant as anyone in the Minor Leagues thus far has thrown 18.2 innings thus far in AAA. He’s allowed just 1 run on 5 hits and has struck out 25 batters. He has a .48 ERA.

Gallen spoke about his “best start to a season” in his career, the adjustment from last year’s Spring Training to this year’s, how playing at UNC helped him prepare for the pros, Mark McGwire’s home run chase, what it was like to find out he was traded from the Cardinals to the Marlins, how his changeup has helped him thrive this year, and what it will ultimately feel like to be called up to the bigs.

You can find it all on Apple Podcasts, Podbean, or here on the Five Reasons Website.

3 Reactions To Miami Dolphins Schedule

Everything is an event in the NFL. Including the release of the schedule. We already knew the opponents, now we get them in order.

Controversial stance: The schedule release might be more important in the near term than the draft. Understanding it has a far greater impact on the franchise, you don’t really get to know how a team did in the draft for 2 years. We saw last year that if games had been scheduled at different times, Miami’s season would have gone differently.

Without further ado:

September 8: Home with Baltimore

September 15: Home with New England

September 22: at Dallas

September 29: Home with the LA Chargers

October 6: BYE

October 13: Home with Washington

October 20: at Buffalo

October 28: at Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football

November 3: New York Jets

November 10: at Indianapolis Colts

November 17: Buffalo Bills

November 24: at Cleveland

December 1: Home with Philadelphia

December 8: at New York Jets

December 15: at New York Giants

December 22: Home with Cincinnati

December 29: at New England

My three quick reactions

1. That opening stretch before the bye is absolutely brutal. The Super Bowl champions. Two teams that won a playoff game in 2018. And another that won 6 out of 7 to close last year and think they’ve found a quarterback.

It could be 0-4 having played 3 home games. I’d be stunned if they lost all 3 at home but those are 3 damn good teams, two of home will bring significant away support to Hard Rock Stadium

2. Fun times for New York based Dolphins fans! You get to act like they’re your hometown team for two weeks. The Dolphins will be at MetLife Stadium for consecutive weeks in December on the 8th and 15th. First, Adam Gase coaches against Miami for the first time at home since departing to the Jets. Second, the GMen host Miami. Which leads us to

3. The last 3 weeks could really play a role in draft status. The Giants are in a rebuild similar to the Dolphins and just parted with their best player. I’m not a fan of Cincinnati, especially given they lost 7 of their last 8.

And who knows with the Patriots in Week 17. They could’ve clinched home field throughout the AFC playoffs and might not be trying. If this season is about rebuilding and maybe even securing the number one pick for Miami, those last 3 games could play a pivotal role

Not sure about the emoji issue

Crawford/Khan: The good ole days are back

Where to watch: Saturday, April 20th, 2019, Madison Square Garden, Available on ESPN PPV.

At one point in time, the Welterweight Division in boxing boasted the likes of Hall of Famers, Sugar Ray Leonard, Wilfred Benítez, Roberto Durán, and Thomas Hearns. Super Fights were made, legendary nights existed, and stay imprinted in our memories. In today’s Boxing, those moments are few and far between, and sometimes, you can spot the hustle before they try to hype you to pay $79.99 for the latest Pay Per View debacle. But, those “good ole’ days”, are making a comeback.

Let’s get this out of the way. Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan is yet, another hustle. Crawford is one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world, while Khan is the “consummate opponent”, a term used in Boxing circles as a pejorative to describe guys that may have a “name’ and could press the action, but do not have a chance of winning. How he got this fight, nobody but his management knows. Amir Khan, after riding a wave of hype as the latest great British fighter, and posting legitimate wins vs. Marco Antonio Barrera, Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana and Zab Judah, dropped a decision to Lamont Peterson, and then got embarrassed by super star Danny Garcia. The Hype was not real.

If there is something to admire from Amir Khan and his team, it’s their resilience, and knack for finding the latest “big fight” to insert Kahn into, for yet another pay day. After some uninspiring performances after his two back to back losses, he still managed to find himself with yet another pay day, this time in a fight with Boxing’s biggest draw Canelo Alvarez. Knocked out in the 6th round, we surely saw the last of Khan? No. He finds his way back into a big PPV with one of Boxing’s biggest stars, and on ESPN’s initial foray into the PPV world in partnership with Top Rank Boxing.

I think at this point you may be confused with my line of the good ole’ days making a comeback, after spending two paragraphs eviscerating this matchup. Well, yes, this fight should not be competitive , as the odds show (Crawford is anywhere from -2000 to -2400 depending on where you find it, while Khan is 9-1 to 12-1 to win.) but this fight is about an introduction of Terence Crawford to the sporting conscience. A coming out party, sort of speak.

After leaving the Light Welterweight division seeking greener $$$ pastures, Crawford has impressed with convincing wins to win the WBO Welterweight title versus Jeff Horn and then defending against José Benavidez Jr. He is truly the latest and greatest addition to a stacked division. The cynic in me, tells me that these guys are all going to avoid each other to “massage” the dollars from the fans pockets into theirs while not giving us what we want. That does not seem to be the case so far with rumors abound of a Errol Spence, Shawn Porter fight set for September.

So, while this fight does not excite me, the introduction of Terence Crawford to the Welterweight scene to join the likes of champions Keith Thurman, Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, and contenders Danny Garcia, Kell Brook, Yordenis Ugas, all the while old man Manny Pacquiao is still around makes for some legendary nights ahead. The “good ole days” are back.

Prediction: Terence Crawford by KO/TKO in 8th round.

 

For more on boxing and MMA, check out the Out 4 The Count podcast with Armando Alvarez and Vic Bermudez. 

The pressure is on Chris Grier to rebuild the Miami Dolphins through the draft.

QB or not QB? For Chris Grier, that’s the question

DAVIE – In his final media session prior to next week’s NFL Draft, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier was less than effusive Wednesday in rating the quarterbacks who will be available.
Although Kyler Murray is expected to be selected first overall by the Arizona Cardinals, this year’s quarterback class isn’t as rich as last year when Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen were taken in the first 10 picks.
“We thought a couple of those quarterbacks last year were really special,” Grier said. “I think this class is a good class of quarterbacks. I would say like all of them, this class probably has players that haven’t started as many games as you’d like to see, in terms of helping paint the picture for what they could be. So it’s a little more projection on a lot of them.”
For a rebuilding team that must secure a franchise quarterback before it can move into the category of ready to be a playoff contender, the odds appear against that being achieved in this draft.
It would be no surprise if the Dolphins select a defensive lineman or edge rusher with the 13th pick in the first round, or even an offensive lineman.
But mindful that team executives are always careful not to tip their hand prior to a draft, nothing can be ruled out based on Grier’s comments and inflections.
The Dolphins were to hold a private workout with Duke quarterback Daniel Jones this week, according to an NFL Network report, and it’s not their first contact with him. Jones, at 6 feet 5, 221 pounds, has size, arm strength and is relatively mobile.
Last season he threw for 2,674 yards, 22 touchdowns, and nine interceptions with a 60.5 completion percentage. He also ran for 319 yards and three touchdowns.
Jones also was a three-year starter in college, which checks one of the boxes Grier indicated that others are lacking.
Whether or not Grier and his scouts consider Jones as elite or a potential franchise quarterback is not known.
Regarding whether he sees any quarterbacks fitting that description in this draft, Grier said, “There could be. Quarterbacks have been so hit and miss. You go study them, it’s 50 percent or less end up becoming even good starting quarterbacks. But every class has one or two quarterbacks that can become a good player in the league.”
In the early stages of a major rebuild, the Dolphins have numerous holes to fill. The chances of hitting on a key contributor at No. 13 may be higher at other positions.
This draft is considered particularly rich in defensive line prospects, which Grier confirmed:
“I’d say there’s five really good players that you’d feel really good about — elite. But then there’s a lot of good players too.”
Here is how he rated the depth of talent at other areas that could benefit the Dolphins.
“I would say the receiver class is probably deeper than people would think. … You can get good value picks for the first three rounds,” he said. “I would say it’s a good offensive line [class] as well; a lot of potential of guys to be really good.”
In just over a week the Dolphins will be on the clock and the pressure will be on Grier to select multiple players to help get the wayward franchise back on track.
Although this is his first year heading the front office, Grier acknowledged Wednesday that he had final say in each of the past three drafts since becoming general manager. There have been some notable hits (Minkah Fitzpatrick, Laremy Tunsil, Xavien Howard) and the inevitable misses as well.
Is the pressure greater this time?
“I want every draft to be great,” he said. “You’re going to miss on guys and get criticized. But at the end of the day, when you build through the draft, it’s important. The most important thing is making sure that coaches and scouts are all on the same page of what we’re looking for so that we can try and eliminate the mistakes.”
It remains to be seen whether the consensus in the Dolphins’ draft room is pointing toward rolling the dice on a quarterback at No. 13.
High on Reshad Jones
Grier downplayed the absence of veteran safety Reshad Jones from this week’s voluntary minicamp. He said Jones has not asked to be traded.
“He doesn’t want a trade. At least he has not informed me. Reshad is going to be here,” Grier said. “This is a voluntary camp and he chose not to be here. We’d love to have him here, but he’s earned the right – and he’s not the only guy in the league doing it. It’s voluntary. We have not given him permission [to seek a trade] and he has not asked.”
Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns
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