Marlins notebook

Miami Marlins roster move considered a rebuke of Chris Valaika

cspencer@MiamiHerald.comAugust 20, 2013 

The lingering fallout from the departure of hitting coach Tino Martinez might have cost infielder Chris Valaika a roster spot on the Marlins. According to sources, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria — a Martinez loyalist — vetoed Valaika’s call-up from the minors when Placido Polanco was placed on the disabled list.

Instead, the Marlins called up journeyman infielder Gil Velazquez.

Valaika was one of several players to have a run-in with Martinez, who resigned last month when those verbal and physical altercations surfaced in the media. Martinez later told FoxSports.com that he became angry with Valaika — as well as others — when he refused to pick up baseballs in the batting cage earlier in the season.

Valaika, who has been on a hitting tear for Triple A New Orleans after spending time on the disabled list with a broken wrist, was the consensus choice of the front office and coaching staff to replace Polanco.

But Loria overruled his staff, blocking Valaika’s promotion, sources said.

Speculation within the organization is that Loria vetoed the move because of sentiment for Martinez, whom he hand-picked for the coaching job and wanted to remain in the position after the altercations with players first came to light late last month. As a result, the front office settled on Velazquez to fill Polanco’s spot.

Valaika, 27, entered Monday having hit .371 with a pair of home runs over his previous 10 games for New Orleans. Velazquez, 33, who has toiled for 16 seasons in the minors and parts of four in the majors, was also on a roll at the plate, hitting .419 (13 for 37) over his previous 10 games for New Orleans.

This and that

Marlins manager Mike Redmond said it’s uncertain how much time Polanco will miss. Polanco was hit by a pitch Friday, with the ball striking his helmet.

“When you’re dealing with concussions, it’s a wait-and-see thing — see how he feels over the next five or six days,” Redmond said. “I know the next day he mentioned that the lights and the music were bothering him. Sometimes it takes a little time for the symptoms to show up, and that was kind of the case with him.”

• Redmond smiled when he was asked whether he saw Sunday’s Yankees-Red Sox game when former Marlins teammate Ryan Dempster struck Alex Rodriguez with a pitch. “One got away from him,” Redmond said with obvious sarcasm.

Dempster riled Rodriguez and the Yankees during Sunday’s showdown at Fenway Park in Boston.

Redmond made his major-league debut with the Marlins in 1998 eight days after Dempster made his, and the two were teammates for four years. Knowing Dempster the way he does, Redmond said: “I don’t think I was real surprised” by the incident.

Coming up

•  Tuesday: Marlins RHP Jacob Turner (3-4, 2.89 ERA) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Chris Capuano (4-6, 4.66), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Wednesday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-3, 3.96) vs. Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke (11-3, 3.02), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Scouting report: After going 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA through his first six starts, Turner has gone 1-4 with a 3.89 ERA in eight starts since.

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