Jorge Cantu

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Posted by pompos 05/04/2009 @ 16:07

Tags : jorge cantu, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
Play by play - USA Today
Runner on first with two outs and Jorge Cantu due up. Out: Hanley Ramirez caught stealing second to end the inning. Out: Robinson Cano flied out to right. None on with one out and Nick Swisher due up. Out: Nick Swisher struck out swinging....
Orioles scouting update - Baltimore Sun
First baseman Jorge Cantu hit seven homers in April, but he has only two since. Outfielder Cody Ross is having a strong June with a .294 average, five homers and 13 rbis in 19 games. Kiko Calero, who had a 2.01 ERA and a team-leading 36 appearances,...
Blue Jays - USA Today
None on with two outs and Jorge Cantu due up. Out: Jorge Cantu grounded out third to short to first to end the inning. Single: Marco Scutaro singled to right. Runner on first with none out and Aaron Hill due up. Out: Aaron Hill flied out to center....
Padres Prospect Interview: Al Angelucci - MadFriars.com
The first three hitters I had were Adrian Gonzalez, Jorge Cantu, and another big-leaguer and I got out of that. So I feel like I can compete at a big league level. I know I'm not ready for it, but I feel like I can kind of use my stuff to its best...
Notes and thoughts from loss to Marlins - Subway Squawkers
Hanley Ramirez came all the way around from first to score after Jorge Cantu's liner bounced off Damon's glove in the sixth inning to make it 2-0. The Yankees rebounded with one run in the seventh off starter Josh Johnson, but couldn't beat the Marlins...
Jorge Cantu: Resting on Sunday - Rotowire
Cantu is on the bench on Sunday after going 0-for-9 in the first two games of the series against the Blue Jays, the Miami Herald reports. Although no additional spells of dizziness have been reported from Cantu this weekend, it's hard not to wonder if...
Even without A-Rod, New York Yankees too much for Florida Marlins ... - The Star-Ledger - NJ.com
by Marc Carig/The Star-Ledger Joe Rimkus Jr./MCTMarlins infielders Hanley Ramirez, Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla chat with Yankees Nick Swisher during a fifth inning pitching change. MIAMI -- Even without a fatigued Alex Rodriguez in the lineup,...
Florida Marlins Jorge Cantu says his eyes are to blame for slump - MiamiHerald.com
The Florida Marlins' Jorge Cantu sits in the dugout after the Arizona Diamondbacks won 5-3 in Miami on Tuesday, May 19, 2009. J. PAT CARTER / AP NEW YORK -- Jorge Cantu's hand isn't the problem. It's his eyes that are off. After enjoying a hot April,...
Red Sox - USA Today
Runner on first with two outs and Jorge Cantu due up. Double: Jorge Cantu reached second on Jacoby Ellsbury's fielding error, Hanley Ramirez scored. Runner on second with two outs and Jeremy Hermida due up. Out: Jeremy Hermida grounded out to first to...
Marlins' Hanley Ramirez, Jorge Cantu not in lineup against Cardinals - Palm Beach Post
The small gathering of fans won't see Hanley Ramirez or Jorge Cantu, with manager Fredi Gonzalez giving each a break before the club heads to Toronto this weekend. Ramirez has been slowed by a tight right groin muscle and Cantu left Wednesday's game in...

Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays.svg

The Tampa Bay Rays are a Major League Baseball franchise based in St. Petersburg, Florida, and the reigning 2008 American League Champions. The Rays are a member of the Eastern Division of MLB's American League. Since their inception in 1998, the Rays have played in Tropicana Field and have finished out of last place only twice: once in 2004, when they finished fourth in their division, and again in 2008, when they won their first division title, entered the playoffs for the first time in team history, and qualified for the World Series.

In November 2007, majority owner Stuart Sternberg decided to make drastic changes and renamed his team from the "Tampa Bay Devil Rays" to the "Tampa Bay Rays", which he described as "A beacon that radiates throughout Tampa Bay and across the entire state of Florida." With the name change, the teams' primary colors were also changed from black, green, and blue to navy blue, Columbia blue, and gold.

Civic leader and St. Petersburg Times publisher, Jack Lake, first suggested St. Petersburg pursue a Major League baseball team. The notable influences Lake held in the sport are what led to the serious discussions that changed St. Petersburg from a spring training location to a major league city. He spoke to anyone who would listen about his desire to see the city of St. Petersburg have a Major league baseball team. His colorful direction dominated the mindset in both sports and business circles dating back to 1966. He was said to have the foresight and prominence to make it happen.

Local leaders made many unsuccessful attempts to acquire a major league baseball team in the 1980s and 1990s. The Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Texas Rangers, and Seattle Mariners all considered moving to either Tampa or St. Petersburg before deciding to remain in their current locations. The Florida Suncoast Dome (now named Tropicana Field) was built in St. Petersburg in 1990 with the purpose of luring a major league team. When MLB announced that it would add two expansion teams for the 1993 season, it was widely assumed that one of the teams would be placed in St. Petersburg. However, the teams were awarded to Denver (Colorado Rockies) and Miami (Florida Marlins) instead.

In 1992, San Francisco Giants owner Bob Lurie agreed in principle to sell his team to a Tampa Bay based group of investors led by Vince Naimoli, who would then move the team to St. Petersburg. However, at the 11th hour, MLB owners nixed the move under pressure from San Francisco officials and the Giants were sold to a group that kept them in San Francisco.

Finally, on March 9, 1995, new expansion franchises were awarded to Naimoli's Tampa Bay group and a group from Phoenix (the Arizona Diamondbacks). The new franchises were scheduled to begin play in 1998.

The Tampa Bay area finally had a team, but the stadium in St. Petersburg was already in need of an upgrade. In 1993, the stadium was renamed the Thunderdome and became the home of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team and the Tampa Bay Storm Arena Football League team. After the birth of the Rays, the naming rights were sold to Tropicana Products and $70 million was spent on renovations.

The Devil Rays began to build their organization shortly after the franchise was awarded in 1995 by naming former Atlanta Braves assistant general manager Chuck LaMar the senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager. The franchise's first minor league games took place in the 1996 season. On November 7, 1997, Larry Rothschild was named the team's first manager. The team acquired 35 players in the Expansion Draft on November 18, 1997. Tony Saunders from the Florida Marlins was the first player drafted by the Devil Rays. The team also drafted future star Bobby Abreu and promptly traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kevin Stocker, who had very little success for the Rays. Before the 1998 season, star players Wade Boggs, Fred McGriff, and Wilson Alvarez were acquired.

The Devil Rays played their first game on March 31, 1998 against the Detroit Tigers at Tropicana Field before a crowd of 45,369. Wilson Alvarez threw the first pitch and Wade Boggs hit the first home run in team history that day, and although the Devil Rays lost their opening game 11–6, they actually got off to a good start. Miguel Cairo is the last remaining player from the Devil Rays opening day roster, although Randy Winn also spent time with the team later in the 1998 season. The Devil Rays were 11–8 after 19 games before losing six straight, falling below .500, never to recover to that level again in their inaugural season. They would go on to lose 99 games that year. José Canseco was signed prior to the 1999 season. One of the most memorable moments in franchise history occurred on August 7, 1999 when Wade Boggs tallied his 3000th career hit on a home run, the only player to ever do so. Boggs retired after the season and is the only Ray with his number retired (ironically, he spent more time with the Red Sox and Yankees yet neither team has hung up his jersey). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Devil Rays acquired sluggers Vinny Castilla and Greg Vaughn on December 13, 1999 and dubbed McGriff, Canseco, Castilla, and Vaughn the "Hit Show." As it turned out, however, all of these players were past their prime, and the team continued to struggle in 2000. Prior to the 2001 season, the Rays changed their team colors and uniforms and also acquired highly-touted outfielder Ben Grieve from Oakland but neither move improved their luck in the standings. On April 18, Larry Rothschild was fired as manager and was replaced by Hal McRae, and McGriff was dealt to the Chicago Cubs, interestingly taking nearly a month to decide whether to enforce his no-trade clause or to leave his hometown of Tampa for Chicago, which was in a heated divisional race. By the 2002 season, the Devil Rays decided to build with younger players and drastically reduced the team payroll. Randy Winn, Aubrey Huff, Toby Hall, and Carl Crawford began to emerge as key players. However, the 2002 season would prove to be the worst in franchise history to date. McRae was moved to a front office position after the season.

Before the 2003 season, the team traded Randy Winn to the Seattle Mariners for the right to negotiate with manager Lou Piniella, a Tampa native, who managed winning teams at every stop in his managerial career, including the New York Yankees, the Cincinnati Reds (whom he led to a World Championship in 1990), and the Mariners (whom he led to American League Runner-Up finishes in 1995, 2000, and 2001). Piniella was attracted to the Tampa Bay job because of the proximity to his family and the chance to build a losing franchise into a winner as he had done in Seattle. Piniella's first team still finished last, but was seven games better than the 2002 team. A highlight of the 2003 season was the emergence of Rocco Baldelli, a native of Rhode Island, as one of the top rookies in the major leagues. A bizarre incident occurred in 2003 when, in an interleague game against the Chicago Cubs, Sammy Sosa's bat broke on a pitch from Devil Rays pitcher Geremi González, revealing it was corked.

Expectations were low for the team entering the 2004 season, but the team surprised most baseball experts by finishing with the best record in team history, 70–91. It was the first time the Devil Rays won 70 games in a season and they also finished in 4th place in the American League East, out of last place for the first time ever. Their record was 10–28 coming into May when they made their run in which they won 30 of 40 games, including a team-record 12 games in a row. The Rays had a 42–41 record after 83 games, within 5 games of the American League wild card. However, the team soon returned to its losing ways, leading to a final record of 21 games below .500. The season was highlighted by the continued development of Aubrey Huff, Carl Crawford, and Rocco Baldelli into some of the top young hitters in baseball. The front office produced a major accomplishment on July 30, 2004 when pitcher Victor Zambrano was traded to the New York Mets for pitcher Scott Kazmir, who has since become the team's best pitcher and one of the top young pitchers in all of baseball.

After a 28-61 record at the All-Star Break in 2005, the Devil Rays turned it around in the second half of the season, going 39-34, for a final record of 67-95. Rocco Baldelli missed the entire 2005 season due to injury, but Carl Crawford and newcomers Jorge Cantu and Jonny Gomes led a productive offense that finished third in the American League in team batting average. To counterbalance that, however, the pitching staff had the second worst ERA in the American League. During their strong second half, the Devil Rays played spoilers in September, with timely victories over contenders such as the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Despite the promising finish, Lou Piniella became frustrated with what he perceived as an insufficient commitment to winning by the ownership group, and he reached a settlement with the team to release him from the last year of his contract.

Shortly after the season ended, Stuart Sternberg, who bought into the ownership group in 2004, took over from Vince Naimoli as managing general partner, thus taking over executive control of the team. He immediately fired Chuck LaMar, who had been the team's general manager since the team's first season, and most of the front office. Matthew Silverman was named the team president, and Andrew Friedman took the role of Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. Gerry Hunsicker, former General Manager of the Houston Astros, was named the Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations, with the responsibility of advising the younger Friedman. Sternberg decided not to have a de jure General Manager, calling the position "outdated." Friedman and Hunsicker share the role of team representative at MLB functions.

The team focused its rebuilding efforts around young stars such as outfielders Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, and Jonny Gomes, infielder Jorge Cantu (who hit 28 home runs and drove in 117 runs in 2005) and pitcher Scott Kazmir (who finished in the top 5 in the American League in strikeouts). Baldelli missed the entire 2005 season with injuries, but returned to the team in 2006. Also figuring into the Rays' future plans were Delmon Young and B.J. Upton, considered two of the best prospects in all of baseball.

In December 2005, Joe Maddon, the former bench coach for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, was named the new manager of the Devil Rays, the fourth in team history, replacing Lou Piniella in that role.

During the offseason, the new front office invested $10 million in improvements to Tropicana Field. Among the major changes were new club seating on the first base side, a 35-foot, 10,000 gallon touch tank holding 30 live cownose rays behind the right-center field fence, and the addition of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, relocated from Citrus County. Other changes to increase attendance and fan interest included free parking at all home games, allowing tailgating in the parking lot before games, allowing fans to bring their own food and drinks into Tropicana Field, lower ticket prices and concession prices, and an increased number of promotions and give-aways.

With the change of ownership and the strong finish to the 2005 season, Tampa Bay fans were optimistic about the 2006 season. On April 10, the official attendance at Tropicana Field for the Rays' home opener was 40,199, the highest turnout since the 1998 Inaugural Season home opener.

An unfortunate event occurred on April 26, when Delmon Young, playing for the Triple-A Durham Bulls, was ejected from the first inning of a game for arguing a third strike, and tossed his bat at the umpire, striking him in the chest protector. The umpire was not injured, but Young was suspended indefinitely the next day by the International League. Young ultimately was suspended for 50 games without pay and performed 50 hours of community service.

The Devil Rays struggled in the second half, going 22–51 to finish the season with a 61–101 record, the worst in the major leagues. The team's poor play in the second half was attributed to the trades of veterans for prospects, injuries to key players such as Scott Kazmir and Ty Wigginton, and slumps by several players (notably Jonny Gomes and Jorge Cantu). Another factor was that the Devil Rays played extremely poorly on the road, winning only 3 out of 39 road games after July 1. This matched the 1943 Philadelphia Athletics for the least number of road wins after the All Star break in baseball history. Overall, the Rays went 20-61 on the road, the third lowest number of wins on the road by any team since 1961. On top of that, they led the major leagues in the number of leads blown with 94 and set a new American League record by losing 60 games that they had led. The Rays led in 121 games, but won only 61.

The Devil Rays were involved in two unusual triple plays in 2006; one they hit into, the other they executed themselves. On June 11 against Kansas City, they hit into the third triple play in major league history, and first since 1937, that involved an appeal. Russell Branyan flew out to center, Rocco Baldelli tried to advance to second base and was thrown out, and then Aubrey Huff was called out when the umpires ruled that he left third base early when he tagged up. Then, on September 2 against Seattle, the Rays executed a 2–6–2 triple play where the ball never touched the bat, something that had never been done before. The triple play, against the Seattle Mariners, involved a strikeout and two baserunners caught off base. Tampa pitcher J.P. Howell struck out Raúl Ibáñez. Catcher Dioner Navarro fired the ball to shortstop Ben Zobrist, who tagged out Adrián Beltré trying to steal second base. During that throw, José Lopez tried to go home from third, but Zobrist returned the ball to Navarro in time to put Lopez out at the plate, completing the first 2-6-2 triple play in MLB history.

On the positive side, the Devil Rays finished with a winning record at home (41–40) for the first time ever. Also, home attendance increased by 20% over 2005 to 1,372,193. This was the Rays' highest attendance since 2000.

During the 2006 offseason, Erik Walker, a 23-year-old pitching prospect for the Hudson Valley Renegades who had recently gone 3–1 with a 0.48 ERA during his first professional season, died in a canoeing accident on the New River in Grayson County, Virginia.

On November 15, 2006, the Devil Rays won the rights to negotiate a contract with Japanese infielder Akinori Iwamura. He was signed to a three-year, $7.7-million contract on December 15, and ultimately made the 2007 Opening Day active roster. The Devil Rays paid $4.55 million USD (around ¥538 million) to the Tokyo Yakult Swallows for the rights to Iwamura.

In an effort to court the Orlando, Florida, market, the Devil Rays played a series at The Ballpark (now called Champion Stadium) at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in the 2007 season. The series selected was the May 15-17 series versus the Texas Rangers. The Devil Rays swept the Rangers in that series.

The Devil Rays had the youngest starting line-up since the 1983 Minnesota Twins. One of those young players, Elijah Dukes, was put on the temporary inactive list when a St. Petersburg Times report alleged he threatened to kill his estranged wife and their children. Dukes didn't play again for the remainder of the season. On the other hand, the Rays had bright spots on the year as they were led by pitchers James Shields and Scott Kazmir, who were both exceptional. Shields put in 215 innings and would have been close to 20 wins had he not endured multiple bullpen collapses. Meanwhile, Kazmir struck out a career high 239 batters with an ERA of 3.48.

Offensively, the Devil Rays may have had their best year to that point. Tampa Bay was third in the AL in home runs (187) notably behind the New York Yankees. They also posted 131 stolen bases which also placed them third in the AL. They were led by Comeback Player of the Year, Carlos Peña who batted .282 and set Rays records in home runs (46), RBIs (121), walks (103), on-base percentage (.411), and slugging percentage (.627). He ranked fourth in the Majors in home runs and sixth in RBIs. They were also led by BJ Upton, All-Star Carl Crawford, and rookies Delmon Young and Akinori Iwamura.

With their improved offense the Devil Rays were one of baseball's best six-inning teams, but the absence of a steady bullpen wrecked many quality starts. The bullpen problem was at its worst during the first half, when the likes of Casey Fossum, Jae Seo and Edwin Jackson were just as likely to pitch two innings as five, which taxed an already mediocre bullpen by forcing them to log extra innings.

The Devil Rays compiled the worst record in baseball (66–96), finishing last in the American League East for the ninth time in their 10-season existence. The Rays signed manager Joe Maddon to a contract extension, with the club picking up the 2008 and 2009 club options.

New uniforms for the 2008 season were officially revealed on November 8, 2007.The unveiling coincided with a name change for the team, as the team was now officially called the "Tampa Bay Rays." The new team colors are "navy, Columbia blue and a touch of gold". The new team logo features a bright yellow sunburst that represents the Sunshine State of Florida. The logo and the cap insignia use the font Georgia in bold. In the original press release, principal owner Stuart Sternberg said "We are now the 'Rays' - a new and improved version of the Devil Rays." "We Are One Team," the pitch for the 2008 season was announced February 22, 2008. The phrase, as president Matt Silverman says, refers to the idea of an improved and talented team allied with the fan base across the Tampa Bay area.

While the Rays began the 2008 season with much the same lineup that ended the 2007 season, several key trades and free agent signings improved the team. The Rays traded Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie to the Twins for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan. The Rays signed a two-year deal with veteran relief pitcher Troy Percival who took over closer duties. Al Reyes became the team's set-up man, until he was released mid-season. The Rays signed Cliff Floyd, who has split time at designated hitter and right field. Top third-base prospect Evan Longoria was expected to be the starter at the hot corner while the Rays also signed the #1 pick in the draft last year, pitcher David Price, who was widely recognized as one of the top players in college baseball.

The Rays finished spring training with 18 wins, a club record. They also finished with the highest winning percentage in the Grapefruit League, and tied for the highest of all teams in spring training with the Oakland Athletics. They began the regular season with a win on the road in Baltimore. This snapped a 7-game losing streak in road openers for the franchise, which was the longest active streak in the league until then.

As they did during the 2007 season, the Rays played a regular season home series at Champion Stadium in Walt Disney World for the April 22-24 series against the Toronto Blue Jays. As in the Orlando series in the previous season, the Rays won all three games.

The Rays suffered through many injuries during April and had hovered just above .500 until the end of the month. However, the sweep of the Blue Jays was followed by the team's first-ever sweep of the Boston Red Sox in Tropicana Field. In the series finale, James Shields pitched a complete game 2-hit, no walk shutout and was named AL Player of the Week. Evan Longoria was originally cut from the 25-man roster in Spring Training, but was called up early into the season. He signed a contract worth $15 million over six years. Longoria would quickly become a fan favorite by being one of the team's more productive players throughout the season.

The Rays continued their winning ways into May. At the end of play on Memorial Day, the traditional 1/3 point of the baseball season, the Rays were in first place in the AL East and owned the best record in all of major league baseball at 31-20. The Rays became the first team in modern Major League history (since 1900) to hold the best record in the league through Memorial Day, having the worst record in the league the year before. This was, by far, the best start in franchise history and marked the first time ever that the team was 11 games over .500. The Rays finished the month 12 games over .500, had the best record in the American League, and led the AL East by one game.

In June, incidents over the course of two consecutive games led to a benches clearing brawl against the Boston Red Sox increasing hostility between the two teams, which was also fueled by a tight division race between them. Carlos Peña was out for three weeks with a fractured left index finger. The Rays went 16-10 for the month of June, sporting an overall record of 50-32, were 18 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history, and led the division by 1½ games.

Within the first week of July the Rays stretched their division lead to 5½ games, but then lost seven consecutive games heading into the All-Star Break. Trailing the Red Sox for the division lead by ½ game, they still led the Wild Card. Scott Kazmir and Dioner Navarro were selected to play in the All-Star Game. Evan Longoria was voted into the roster by the fans in the Final Vote. This (3) was the most players the Rays had ever sent to the All-Star Game. In another franchise first, Longoria was a participant in the Home Run Derby, but was eliminated in the first round hitting only three home runs, the least of all competitors.

After going 13-12 during the month of July, the Rays, with a 63-44 record, held a division lead of 3 games over the Boston Red Sox. The Rays did not make any deals prior to the trade deadline. Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Andrew Friedman, would stress that despite no trade activity, the Rays organization had confidence in the players that had given them the best record in the division at the conclusion of July.

In August, the Rays surpassed their previous franchise record of 70 wins in one season. On August 29, they secured their first winning season, notching their 82nd victory against the Baltimore Orioles, in a 14-3 win. Despite injuries to several key players in early August including Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, and Troy Percival, the Rays finished August on a 5-game winning streak, compiling a record of 21–7 for the month, the best single month in franchise history. With an 84-51 overall record, the best in the league, their lead in the division grew to 5½ games going into the final month of the season.

On September 20, the Rays, with the best home record in Major League Baseball, clinched their first-ever postseason berth in franchise history. The following week, on September 26, though the Rays lost that day, they were finally able to clinch their first ever division title due to the Boston Red Sox loss to the New York Yankees.

On October 6, the Rays defeated the Chicago White Sox in Game 4 of the ALDS to capture their first playoff series victory and advance to the ALCS.

On October 19, the Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the ALCS to go to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.

On October 29, despite having home field advantage in the series, the Rays lost to the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one in the World Series.

The Rays' turnaround has been mostly credited to much improved defense and pitching, especially from the bullpen. The Rays also stole 142 bases, more than any other team in the AL. They also had five pitchers throw over 150 innings, more than any other team in baseball: Shields, Kazmir, Garza, Andy Sonnanstine, and Edwin Jackson. While the 2007 bullpen and defense were historically bad, stats for 2008 were among the best in the majors, and the best in franchise history.

Players who left the Rays for free agency included Eric Hinske, Cliff Floyd, and Trever Miller. Jonny Gomes' contract was non-tendered, making him a free agent as well. Rocco Baldelli, who had been with the Rays organization since being drafted, left to sign with his hometown team, the Boston Red Sox. Edwin Jackson was involved in a trade that sent him to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Matt Joyce.

The Rays signed more veterans to join them for the 2009 season, such as Gabe Kapler, Morgan Ensberg, and Adam Kennedy. Their biggest move of the offseason was signing Pat Burrell, who was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies squad that defeated the Rays in the World Series, making him the fifth player since 1970 to play for a team in the first game of a season after having defeated that team in the previous World Series.

With the Rays' new payroll total above $60 million, principal owner Stuart Sternberg held a press conference shortly after the start of spring training saying that unlike previous seasons, the Rays had no more flexibility to make any more additions during the upcoming season. He did add however, that "you never say never" and things may be different come mid-season. In the 2008 season, it was made well known in the media that despite the Rays being contenders the entire season, attendance was still among the lowest in the league. Sternberg stated in his press conference that after doing research, the only team that did not have an average attendance higher than the league average in the season following a World Series appearance was the Florida Marlins, who did so twice after each of their championship seasons. He accepted that the Rays might become the third occurrence, saying about the 2008 season, "it wasn't the best year to win," because of the current state of the economy.

The Rays went 10-14 in the first month of the 2009 season, earning 4th place in the AL East. Evan Longoria led the AL with 28 RBIs, along with seven home runs and a .368 batting average. Manager Joe Maddon improved to 224-262, giving him the best record of the Rays' four managers to date.

These statistics are current as of May 1, 2009. Bold denotes a playoff season, pennant or championship; italics denote an active season.

Tampa Bay's primary rivals are the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The rivalries from these teams stem from the number of fans in the Tampa Bay area who are transplants from these two locations and continue to root for these teams, as well as the Yankees making Tampa their spring training home. Prior to the 2008 season, Red Sox and Yankee games often drew considerably higher attendance figures to games at Tropicana Field versus the average for other games, the result being a fan bias for these teams on the road. The Florida Marlins are also a rival due to their in-state proximity, though this rivalry is only really visited upon in the Interleague period each season.

The Tampa Bay Rays have retired two numbers. These numbers are displayed to the left of the center field scoreboard and "K Counter" on a small wall.

Jackie Robinson's number 42 was retired by all of Major League Baseball.

As of 2009, the Rays' flagship radio station is WDAE 620 AM. The announcers are Dave Wills and Andy Freed. Rich Herrera is the pregame and postgame host, and the radio producer. This team replaced Paul Olden and Charlie Slowes as of the 2005 season. Slowes went to the Washington Nationals, while Olden pursued a photography career. Rays games have been aired on WFLA 970 AM (1998-2004) and WHNZ 1250 AM (2005-2008) in the past.

Fox Sports Florida broadcasts the Rays' games on television. Through the 2008 season, many games also aired on Ion Television affiliate broadcast stations throughout the state of Florida, with WXPX in Tampa as the flagship. However, after the 2008 season, Fox Sports Florida signed an agreement to become the exclusive local broadcaster of the Rays, and will air 155 games per year through 2016. Dewayne Staats (play-by-play) and Joe Magrane (color commentary) had been the TV team from the Rays' inception until the end of the 2008 season. Todd Kalas, the son of Philadelphia announcing legend Harry Kalas, serves as the pregame and postgame host as well as a field reporter during games. Todd also hosts magazine shows and specials on FSN Florida and its sister station, Sun Sports, throughout the season. Dick Crippen and Whit Watson have both filled in for Todd Kalas in the past.

Joe Magrane left the Rays television network in November 2008 to take a position at the MLB Network. On February 16, 2009, it was announced that Kevin Kennedy would replace Magrane, but split the duty with Brian Anderson and Todd Kalas. Anderson and Kalas had been in the booth for a few games with Staats while Magrane was in China for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Staats, Magrane, Kalas, Wills, Olden and Slowes were all nominated for the Ford C. Frick Award, the broadcasters' path to the Baseball Hall of Fame, in 2008.

Fox Sports Florida began broadcasting a portion of the schedule in HD beginning in 2007, after Tropicana Field's broadcast equipment was upgraded for in-house HD production. About 44 games were carried in HD in 2007, and 58 games were carried in HD in 2008 (not including nationally-televised games).

Most households in the Greater Orlando area could not see Rays games aired on Fox Sports Florida in the past because its primary cable provider, Bright House Networks, refused to carry the network. However, Bright House in Orlando finally placed FS Florida on the air for digital cable subscribers on 2009-01-01.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were featured in the movie, The Rookie, a 2002 drama, directed by John Lee Hancock. It is based on the true story of Jim Morris, who had a brief but famous Major League Baseball career.

Morris (at the age of 35) had the ability to repeatedly throw the baseball at 98 miles per hour (158 km/h), a feat that less than ten professional baseball players at the time could accomplish. This ability affords him the opportunity to play professional baseball and he signs on with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization. He is initially assigned to the minor league Class AA Orlando Rays (now the Montgomery Biscuits) but quickly moved up to the AAA Durham Bulls, later to be called up to the "bigs" during the September roster expansions.

Jim Morris spent two seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, as a relief pitcher. He pitched 15 innings in 21 games, with an earned run average of 4.80.

The Rays' Cowbell was originally a promotional idea thought up by principal owner Stuart Sternberg, who got the idea from the Saturday Night Live sketch. Since then, it has become a standard feature of home games, something akin to the Sacramento Kings of the NBA and the bells their fans ring during games. Road teams have often considered the cowbell a nuisance. Once a year the Rays hold an annual "cowbell night" and give away free cowbells. Cowbells are available for purchase throughout the year as well. The most famous proponent of the cowbell is Cary Strukel, who is known as "The Cowbell Kid." Strukel can be seen at most home games sitting in right field and wearing some kind of costume, typically topped with a neon colored wig or Viking horns. The cowbells are rung most prominently when the opposing batter has two strikes, when the opposing fans try to chant, and when the Rays make a good play.

Rays games are frequently visited by professional wrestlers, as there are a large number of wrestlers living in the Tampa Bay Area. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags), Brutus Beefcake, and Hulk Hogan all appear on a semi-regular basis at Rays games. John Cena appears on occasion.

The Rays held a "Legends of Wrestling Night" on May 18, 2007, featuring several wrestling matches after the game, an 8–4 loss to the Florida Marlins. Outfielder and wrestling fan Jonny Gomes ran interference for the Nasty Boys during the main event.

A second "Wrestling Night" was held on April 19, 2008, after a 5–0 win over the Chicago White Sox. Gomes participated again, this time making a post-match save for the Nasty Boys.

Dick Vitale has been a season ticket holder for the Rays ever since the team's inception in 1998. Currently, he sits behind home plate on the third base (visitor's) side.

9=8 (spoken as "nine equals eight") was the mantra used by the Rays during the 2008 season. The phrase was originally created by manager Joe Maddon while riding his bike after the 2007 season. The meaning of the phrase was that if nine players play nine innings of hard baseball everyday, that team would become one of the eight teams who qualify for the playoffs. Prior to 2008 season, the Rays had never had a winning season in franchise history, much less a playoff appearance.

After a slow start to the 2008 season, the Rays began to pick up speed and found themselves among the best teams in the league that year. Maddon had blue t-shirts made with the phrase on the back in yellow, representing the team's new colors, and gave them to the players during the season. His idea to put the slogan on the back of the shirt, rather than the front, was that a person who was walking behind someone wearing the shirt would see it.

Rays right fielder Gabe Gross, who was acquired by the team through a trade early into the 2008 campaign, said it was so much 9=8 as it was more along the lines of 13=8, because the Rays had many players contributing to the team's success that season.

The Rays played well enough throughout the year that they surpassed their previous team record for wins in a single season by more than 20 wins and ultimately clinched a spot in the 2008 MLB Playoffs for their first postseason appearance in franchise history. As the phrase 9=8 had come to fruition, Maddon stated that the phrase also meant that theory and reality had come together.

With each level the Rays reached, the equation was changed. After they clinched their playoff spot, it became 9=4, to represent the teams advancing to the LCS. When they won the ALDS, it became 9=2, for the teams advancing to the World Series. When they won the ALCS, it became 9=1, representing the possible World Series Championship. In the end, they did not win the World Series, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one.

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List of Major League Baseball players from Mexico

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This is an alphabetical list of 106 baseball players from Mexico who played Major League Baseball between 1933 and 2008.

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Florida Marlins

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The Florida Marlins are a professional baseball team based in Miami Gardens, Florida, United States. Established in 1993 as an expansion franchise, the Marlins are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's National League. The Marlins play their home games at Dolphin Stadium, also home to the Miami Dolphins.

The Marlins are notable for winning the World Series twice (1997, 2003) during the only two times they've made it to the postseason. They won despite never winning first place in their division, advancing to the playoffs both times as the National League Wild Card winner. They are the only team to have won all of their postseason series to date.

In recent years, the Marlins ownership has pushed for a new stadium and recently agreed to a plan with Miami-Dade commissioners and the city of Miami to build a $515 million ballpark on the site of the legendary Miami Orange Bowl. As part of the deal, the Marlins in the future will be known as the "Miami Marlins." Their final season in Miami Gardens will be the 2011 season.

On March 7, 1990, Jonathan Alba., CEO of Blockbuster Entertainment Corporation, announced he had purchased 15 percent of the NFL's Miami Dolphins and 50 percent of the Dolphins' home, Joe Robbie Stadium, for an estimated $30 million. Huizenga stated his intention to aggressively pursue an expansion franchise. MLB had announced a few months earlier that it intended to add two new teams to the National League. It was a foregone conclusion that one of them would be placed in Florida; the only question was whether Huizenga would beat out competing groups from Orlando and Tampa Bay. On June 10, 1991, the National League awarded a Miami-based franchise to Huizenga for a $95 million expansion fee. One name considered early on was the Florida Flamingos.

Huizenga immediately announced plans to convert Joe Robbie Stadium (later Pro Player Park, Pro Player Stadium, Dolphins Stadium and now Dolphin Stadium) from a football-only stadium into a multipurpose stadium. The renovation cost only $100 million, largely because Dolphins founder Joe Robbie had anticipated that baseball would eventually come to South Florida and built the stadium with a wider field than is normally the case for the NFL. Purists feared the result would be similar to Exhibition Stadium in Toronto; when the Toronto Blue Jays played there from 1976 to 1989 they were burdened with seats more than 800 feet from the plate. However, Huizenga decided to cut down capacity from 67,000 to just over 43,500, in order to create a more intimate atmosphere. Aside from this, many of the upper deck outfield seats would have been too far from the field. The stadium's baseball capacity has been reduced even further in recent years, and it now seats just over 36,500. However, the Marlins usually open the upper level for postseason games. Huizenga eventually bought the Dolphins, and the stadium, in 1994.

Huizenga also sought, and received, a waiver from ESPN and MLB allowing him to play games on Sunday nights. The Marlins schedule nearly all of their games during the summer months (late May to mid-September) at night due to South Florida's hot and humid summers (with frequent afternoon rain). The Texas Rangers already had a similar waiver; until the Marlins' inception, the Rangers played in the hottest stadium in the majors.

In November 1991, the Marlins hired Fredi Gonzalez as the Marlins first Minor League manager.

Marlins selected catcher Charles Johnson of the University of Miami with their first-ever first round draft pick in the amateur draft of June 1992. Later that year Marlins President Carl Barger collapsed during an owners meeting at the baseball winter meetings in Louisville, Kentucky, and died a few hours later in Humana University Hospital. The Marlins later retired the number 5 in honor of Barger's favorite player, Joe Dimaggio.

The Marlins' first manager was Rene Lachemann, a former catcher who had previously managed the Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers, and who at the time of his hiring was a third base coach for the Oakland Athletics. The team drafted its initial lineup of players in the 1992 MLB Expansion Draft.The Marlins defeat the Houston Astros 12-8 in their inaugural Spring Training game. Jeff Conine hit Florida's first homer before a crowd of 6,696 at the Cocoa Expo Sports Complex. The Marlins won their first game on April 5, 1993, against the Dodgers. Charlie Hough became the marlins first starting pitcher in the teams history. Jeff Conine went 4-4 in this game, making him an immediate crowd favorite, and by the end of his tenure with Florida, he would earn the nickname "Mr. Marlin." Gary Sheffield and Bryan Harvey represented the Marlins as the club's first All-Star Game selections, and Sheffield homered in the Marlins first All-Star Game at-bat. The team finished the year five games ahead of the last-place New York Mets and with an attendance of 3,064,847. In that season, the Marlins traded their young set-up reliever Trevor Hoffman and two minor-league prospects to the San Diego Padres for third baseman Gary Sheffield. While Sheffield helped Florida immediately and became an all-star, Hoffman eventually emerged as the best closer in the National League. After the 1993 season, Donald A. Smiley was named the second President in club history. The Marlins finished last (51-64) in their division in the strike shortened season of 1994 and fourth (67-76) in 1995. Lachemann was replaced as manager midway through the 1996 season by director of player development, John Boles.

The Marlins had some bright spots on the mound and behind the plate in 1996. The team's 3.95 ERA ranked third in the NL, thanks in large part to newcomer Kevin Brown, who finished the season with a 17-11 win-loss record and an impressive 1.89 ERA. On May 11, Al Leiter pitched the first no-hitter in Marlins history. Catcher Charles Johnson led the league with a .995 fielding percentage, threw out a league-high 48 percent of base runners, and collected his second straight Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence. After a slow start, the Marlins finished the year with an 80-82 win-loss record to place third in their division. Boles returned to his previous position as director of player development, and former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Leyland was hired to lead the club in 1997.

In addition to hiring Leyland as manager, the Marlins signed third baseman Bobby Bonilla, outfielder Moisés Alou, and pitcher Alex Fernandez to lucrative free-agent contracts, raising expectations to levels far beyond what they had ever been in franchise history. The Marlins' franchise got its second no-hitter from ace Kevin Brown on June 10, 1997. Brown nearly had the perfect game, but he hit the Giants' Marvin Benard with a pitch in the 8th inning when Benard attempted to bunt. With Brown, Leiter and Fernandez heading the rotation, and Robb Nen closing out games, the Marlins' staff was almost systematic during their regular season run. In 1997, the Marlins finished nine games back of the Division Champion Atlanta Braves. But despite this shortcoming, they earned the wild card. Veteran additions such as LF Moisés Alou, 3B Bobby Bonilla, and trade-deadline additions Darren "Dutch" Daulton and Jim Eisenreich added experience and clutch hits. Talented young stars and starters Luis Castillo (2B) and Edgar Rentería (SS) were one of the best double play combos in the League. Castillo did not perform to expectations offensively, and was replaced by Craig Counsell before the playoffs began. They swept the San Francisco Giants 3-0 in the National League Division Series, and then went on to beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 in the National League Championship Series, where the Marlins overcame the loss of Alex Fernandez to a torn rotator cuff, and Kevin Brown's missing two scheduled starts due to a virus. His place was taken in Game 5 by rookie pitcher Liván Hernández, who had earned a spot in the rotation in the second half of the season, but was not in the rotation during the postseason until circumstances made it necessary. Hernandez would proceed to strike out 15 Braves and outduel multiple Cy Young award-winner Greg Maddux to a 2-1 victory and a 3-2 series lead. Brown would return to the mound for Game 6, pitching a complete game victory to secure the Marlins their first-ever National League pennant. The underdog Marlins went on to face the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series, and won in seven games. In Game 7, Craig Counsell's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth tied the game at 2, then, with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Edgar Rentería's soft liner glanced off the glove of Cleveland pitcher Charles Nagy and into center field to score Counsell and give the Marlins the win.

Following the World Series victory, Huizenga dismantled the team, claiming financial losses despite winning the World Series. He traded most of the club's best players in one of the biggest fire sales in sports history; one so infamous, it has come to synonymize the term "fire sale" in the baseball world. The first deal came days after the World Series, when outfieldler Moisés Alou was traded to the Houston Astros for pitchers Oscar Hernandez, Manuel Barrios, and Mark Johnson. The Marlins then traded Kevin Brown to the San Diego Padres. In May 1998 season they dealt Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Jim Eisenreich, and Manuel Barrios to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile, both of who would be gone via trades by midseason. This ended the dismantling of the 1997 World Series champs. On the flip side, these trades brought promising youngsters Derrek Lee and A.J. Burnett.

The Marlins' 1998 slumped to 54-108, the worst record in the major leagues that year—still the most losses in franchise history. They are the only team to lose 100 games a year after winning the World Series. Leyland resigned as manager in October 1998, and was replaced by John Boles. Moreover, Huizenga soon sold the club to John Henry, a commodities trader from Boca Raton, during the off-season. The Marlins had the second overall pick in the 1999 draft and drafted Josh Beckett from the state of Texas. The Marlins finished the 1999 season with the worst record in baseball at 64-98, and traded World Series MVP Liván Hernández to the San Francisco Giants. The Marlins also drafted P Johan Santana from Houston in the Rule 5 Draft but traded him to Minnesota in a prearranged deal for P Jared Camp.

A month prior to the regular season, the Marlins hired David Dombrowski as the third President in club history, making him both President and General Manager. After posting the worst record in baseball for the 1999 season, the Marlins had the first overall pick in the 2000 first-year player draft and selected first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, a 16-year-old native of Bonita, California. The Eastlake High School product agreed to terms with the Marlins that same day. The Marlins went on that season to finish 79-82 and third place in the NL East. This was thanks to the emergence of OF Preston Wilson who had 31 home runs and 121 RBIs. Derrek Lee and Luis Castillo broke out this year as well, as Castillo posted a .334 batting average and Lee had 28 homers in his first full season. Antonio Alfonseca posted a then-club record 45 saves.

The club slowly worked its way back to respectability with a third place finish in 2000, driven by young stars such as A.J. Burnett, Brad Penny, Preston Wilson, Luis Castillo, and Mike Lowell. Burnett pitched the Marlins' third no-hitter on May 12 against the Padres, 2001. In a truly extraordinary performance, he walked nine batters and threw 129 pitches, 65 of which were strikes. Three weeks after the no-no, Manager John Boles was fired and Hall of Famer Tony Perez was named interim manager for the rest of the season. The club finished 76-86 and in fourth place, thanks to Brad Penny's and A.J. Burnett's emergence.

The offseason following the 2001 regular season included an overhaul of the ownership and front office. Tony Perez resigned and returned to his previous role as the front-office Baseball Operations assistant. About a month later, David Dombrowski resigned as President and General Manager of the Florida Marlins and accepted the position as President of the Detroit Tigers. Entering the new year, Henry sold the Marlins to Montreal Expos owner Jeffrey Loria, clearing the way for him to buy the Boston Red Sox. Loria brought the entire Expos management and coaching staff to the Marlins. David Samson became team president, Larry Beinfest became General Manager and Jeff Torborg became manager.

Prior to the 2002 season, the Marlins traded RHP Matt Clement and RHP Antonio Alfonseca to the Cubs for RHP Julian Tavarez, LHP Dontrelle Willis, RHP Jose Cueto and C Ryan Jorgensen. The Marlins had their ups as Luis Castillo had a team record 35 game hitting streak and Kevin Millar had 25 game hit streak. Around the all-star break they made their second big trade sending OF Cliff Floyd to the Expos for RHP Carl Pavano, RHP Justin Wayne, INF Mike Mordecai, LHP Graeme Lloyd, RHP Don Levinski and INF Wilton Guerrero. The same day, the Fish dealt RHP Ryan Dempster to the Cincinnati Reds for OF Juan Encarnacion and LHP Ryan Snare. The Marlins finished 79-83, second best season in team history up to that time, but the their fifth straight losing season since winning the World Series.

Nonetheless the Marlins showed promise entering the offseason as they had a rotation of Josh Beckett, Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, and A.J. Burnett.

During the offseason, the Marlins signed free agent catcher Iván Rodríguez - a 10-time Gold Glove Award winner - and acquired speedy outfielder Juan Pierre from the Colorado Rockies hoping to offset the loss of sluggers Cliff Floyd and Preston Wilson. The Marlins did acquire P Mike Hampton but dealt him and his hefty contract to the Braves for P Tim Spooneybarger.

The Marlins struggled in the opening stages of the season, going 16–22. During that span, Florida lost its top three pitchers: A.J. Burnett, Josh Beckett, and Mark Redman. On May 11, Florida replaced manager Jeff Torborg with 72-year-old Jack McKeon. On May 22, the Marlins hit bottom with a major league worst record of 19-29, having lost 6 straight games. However, help was on the way.

On May 9, the Marlins called up high-kicking southpaw Dontrelle Willis from the Double-A Carolina Mudcats and helped carry the injury-plagued Marlins with an 11–2 record in his first 17 starts. Miguel Cabrera (also from the Mudcats) filled in well, hitting a walk off home run in his first major league game, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Pro Player Stadium. Both Willis and Cabrera would later prove to be essential parts of the Marlin's playoff success. Jeff Conine - an original Marlin and member of the 1997 World Series team - returned from Baltimore, and closer Ugueth Urbina arrived from the Texas Rangers. These acquisitions helped to keep the team in contention, and although they finished ten games behind the Braves, the Marlins captured the NL wild card.

The Marlins won the Division Series against the favored San Francisco Giants three games to one. The series ended with a dramatic collision between Marlins catcher Rodríguez and Giants first basemen J.T. Snow, making it the first postseason series ever to end with the potential tying run being thrown out at the plate.

On October 15, the Marlins defeated the Chicago Cubs four games to three in the Championship Series, coming back from a three games to one deficit. A Beckett complete-game shutout in Game 5, "The Inning" incident with Steve Bartman in Game 6, and a come-from-behind win in Wrigley Field in Game 7 helped the Marlins capture their second NL pennant.

In the 2003 World Series, the Marlins defeated the heavily favored New York Yankees in six games, winning the sixth game in Yankee Stadium. Shortstop Álex González helped the Marlins in Game 4 of the series with a walk off home run in extra innings. Josh Beckett was named the Most Valuable Player for the series after twirling a five-hit complete-game shutout in Game 6. Skipper Jack McKeon became the oldest manager ever to win a World Series title. The Marlins became the first opposing team to win a Series championship on the field at Yankee Stadium since the 1981 World Series, when the Los Angeles Dodgers did it. The Marlins are also the last team to win a World Series at the 1923 Yankee Stadium. The Marlins won the series despite scoring fewer runs (17) than the Yankees (21). The Marlins also became the first team since the creation of the Division Series to win the World Series without ever having home-field advantage during their entire post-season.

The offseason after their second World Series title, the Marlins made a questionable cost-cutting move as Derrek Lee was traded to Chicago Cubs for Hee Seop Choi and pitcher Mike Nannini. The Marlins also lost key parts of their second championship team, Ugueth Urbina and Iván Rodríguez left via free agency (signed by the Detroit Tigers). The Marlins did get good news though as Dontrelle Willis was named NL Rookie of the Year and Jack McKeon named Manager of the Year. They also signed Mike Lowell to a new four year contract.

The Marlins opened the 2004 season with expectation for another World Series title, minus Rodriguez, Lee, and Urbina but with rotation intact. They hoped newly acquired 1B Hee Seop Choi would emerge and that the combination of Ramon Castro and Mike Redmond would also come to life, as well as promising outfielder Miguel Cabrera and high kicking pitcher Dontrelle Willis.

The Marlins started the '04 season with a record of 30-20 but struggled in June with an 11-16 record. 5 of the 11 June wins came from pitcher Carl Pavano, who had the best month of the season. They entered the all-star break with a 45-43 record but went 11-14 in the month of July.

These struggles prompted the Marlins to make one of the biggest trades in club history as Los Angeles got P Brad Penny, 1B Hee Seop Choi and Double-A left-hander Bill Murphy in exchange for P Guillermo Mota, C Paul LoDuca and OF Juan Encarnacion. This trade really didn't pan out for either side that season as Penny's season was cut short after a great first half, Choi struggled in his tenure with the Dodgers, Lo Duca had his usual second half outage, Encarnacion was injury prone, and Guillermo Mota had his share of struggles.

The Marlins had a great August, which included a nine game winning streak into September, and then went on a 15 game stretch in which they played two double headers, going 7-8 in 13 days. This led to call-ups and emergency starts by relievers as well as fatigue. A three game home series with the Cubs was rained out, and one of three was played in Chicago's Comiskey Park, although it was considered a home game. The attendance for that third game did not count for either team.

Afterwards the Marlins lost 6 straight, including games to division rivals the Phillies and Braves who were also in contention. They swept the Expos to make up some ground but lost 3 of 4 games to the Philles to fall out of contention. Despite missing the playoffs, 21 year old Miguel Cabrera had 33 home runs and 112 RBIs, numbers that started to draw comparisons to Albert Pujols.

The Marlins posted a winning record of 83-79 (only their third winning season of their history), but finished 13 games back of the division champion Atlanta Braves). They became the fourth consecutive major league team not to repeat as World Series champions since the New York Yankees in 2000.

While losing All-Stars Carl Pavano and Armando Benitez in the off-season, the Marlins signed P Al Leiter and 1B Carlos Delgado. Delgado's contract was the biggest in franchise history at $52 million over 4 years, with an option for a fifth year. Meanwhile, play-by-play TV broadcaster Len Kasper was also lost to the Chicago Cubs and replaced by Rich Waltz (who had previously been with the Seattle Mariners), and radio announcer John "Boog" Sciambi was replaced by Roxy Bernstein.

With the addition of Delgado, many sportswriters expected the Marlins to finish the 2005 season in either first or second place in the NL East. However, at the All-Star break they were 44-42, and the NL East was unusually competitive, as all five of its teams had a winning record at the break. While Cabrera, Willis, and several others posted very good first-half numbers, Lowell was one of the least productive regular major-league starters, and Leiter went 3-7 with an ERA of 6.64 before being traded to the New York Yankees on July 15 for a player to be named later. Additionally, Guillermo Mota, who was acquired by Florida in 2004 along with Paul Lo Duca and Juan Encarnacion and was expected to be their closer, was inconsistent, and the Marlins gave the closer job to veteran Todd Jones, whom they signed in the offseason. However, the Marlins did send four players to the All-Star Game (Willis, Lo Duca, Castillo, and Cabrera), tying a team record.

The club was expected to be quite active at the trading deadline (July 31), as Burnett was slated to be a free agent after the season and had already declared his desire to test the market like Pavano did. Burnett was mentioned in possible trades with the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Texas Rangers, with many rumors also including Lowell or Encarnacion. The Marlins did not make a huge move at the deadline, instead trading minor-leaguers Yorman Bazardo and Mike Flannery to the Seattle Mariners for left-handed pitcher Ron Villone.

The Marlins did have some pleasant surprises during the season. Dontrelle Willis became the 13th member of the Black Aces when he defeated the Washington Nationals to earn his 20th win. He finished the season 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA, and he was considered a favorite to win the Cy Young Award for much of the season. Also, Jones, a journeyman who had been signed as a setup man, had one of the best years of his career as a closer; he earned 40 saves and had a 2.13 ERA. In addition, late-season call up Jeremy Hermida, a highly-regarded prospect who has been compared to the Atlanta Braves' Jeff Francoeur, hit a grand slam in his first major-league at-bat and a game-tying two-run homer in the last game of the season.

The Marlins led the NL wild-card race as late as September 13, then lost 12 of their next 14 games. The Marlins closed the season by sweeping the Braves, and their final record for the season stood at 83-79.

The 2005 offseason would prove to be one of busiest for the Marlins in years, Jack McKeon announced his retirement on October 2 after the Marlins' last game of the season. Former Tampa Bay Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella, Braves third base coach Fredi González (who previously managed in the Marlins' farm system), New York Yankees bench coach Joe Girardi, and even Yankees manager Joe Torre who most thought could have been let go after a short stint postseason. were named as possible replacements for McKeon. On October 19, Girardi was hired as the new manager. Girardi, who was hired at age 41, became one of the youngest current managers in the major leagues.

Few of the coaching staff, aside from infield/first base coach Perry Hill and bullpen coordinator Pierre Arsenault, were expected to return. Pitching coach Mark Wiley and bullpen coach Luis Dorante came under fire during the season due to the late-season struggles of Burnett and the season-long struggles of the Marlins' bullpen. Similarly, hitting coach Bill Robinson was often blamed for the Marlins' offensive woes throughout the season, and in particular for his failure to get Pierre and Lowell out of season-long slumps. Girardi hired Jim Presley as a replacement for Robinson, and also hired Rick Kranitz as the new pitching coach and Bobby Meacham as the new third-base coach.

On October 3, the first day after the end of the regular season, the Marlins made their first offseason moves, releasing relief pitchers John Riedling and Tim Spooneybarger. Riedling had a 4-1 record and a 7.14 ERA during the season; Spooneybarger, who had not played since 2003 due to rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery, had to have the surgery a second time during the season and missed the 2006 season as well. Screwball specialist Jim Mecir retired following the Marlins' last game of the season.

Closer Todd Jones, pitchers A.J. Burnett, Brian Moehler, Ismael Valdéz, Paul Quantrill, first baseman Jeff Conine, infielder Lenny Harris, outfielder Juan Encarnación, and shortstop Álex González were among the Marlins' players whose contracts expired following the 2005 season. Burnett signed a five-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $55 million and Jones signed for two years with the Detroit Tigers, while Moehler elected to remain with the Marlins. The team declined to offer arbitration to Conine, Valdez, Quantrill, Encarnacion, Damion Easley, and Mike Mordecai, effectively ending their tenures with the club. Soon after announcing a plan to relocate (see below), the Marlins started to shed payroll by dealing their highest-paid players for minor league prospects, in a series of moves reminiscent of the "fire sale" in the 1997 offseason. In response, the club announced that it was, in their opinion, of a "market correction," brought about by the lack of a stadium deal. On November 24, Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota were traded to the Red Sox for four minor-league prospects: shortstop Hanley Ramirez, and pitchers Aníbal Sánchez, Jesús Delgado, and Harvey García. The trade left Dontrelle Willis as the only remaining member of the team's 2005 Opening Day rotation. The Marlins filled most of the remaining rotation spots with young pitchers such as Jason Vargas, Josh Johnson, and Scott Olsen, all of whom they had recalled from their Class AA affiliate during the 2005 season.

On November 23, the Mets and the Marlins agreed on a deal to move Carlos Delgado to the Mets for first baseman Mike Jacobs and pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit. Also, the Marlins would have to pay $7 million of Delgado's remaining contract. When the deal was made official the next day, the Marlins also received minor-league infielder Grant Psomas. According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, the Marlins passed up the Mets' offer to give them center fielder Lastings Milledge, who was at the time ranked the Mets' top prospect according to Baseball America. Combined, the two trades allowed the Marlins to reduce their 2006 payroll by $27 million.

However, the Marlins were not yet done reducing payroll. Paul Lo Duca was traded to the Mets for two players to be named later, with the Marlins sending pitcher Gabriel Hernandez and outfielder Dante Brinkley to New York to complete the deal. Longtime second baseman Luis Castillo was traded to the Twins for pitchers Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler, and Juan Pierre to the Cubs for pitchers Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, and Renyel Pinto. Of the seven players that the Marlins acquired in these three deals, only Mitre and Bowyer had any major-league experience when they came to the Marlins. To replace Castillo, the Marlins signed veteran Pokey Reese, but Reese was released during spring training after going AWOL, and was replaced by Dan Uggla, who had been selected from the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft. Uggla played in the Arizona organization at the Class AA level in 2005.

At the start of the year, the Marlins had a team salary close to $21 million. Not only was it the lowest team salary in all of MLB, but New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez himself made more money than the entire team. The Marlins made MLB history when they started six rookies in their Opening Day lineup.By May 22, they reached a record of 11 wins and 31 losses. Although the Marlins kept losing games, Miguel Cabrera and rookie Dan Uggla were selected to the All-Star Game. Though Uggla did not play in the All-Star game, he became the first Rule 5 draftee to be selected for an All-Star team in the next year after he was taken in the Rule 5 draft. Uggla, Josh Willingham and Mike Jacobs are the first rookie teammates in NL history to hit at least 20 home runs in the same season.

After the All-Star break, the Marlins began to break both franchise and MLB records. They came back from 11-31 to reach the .500 mark at 68-68. No team has come back to the .500 mark from being 20 games under since 1899. Then, on September 4, 2006, the Marlins rallied from down five runs to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-5. This improved the Marlins' record to 69-68, marking the first time in Major League history a team that was 20 games under .500 went back over .500 in the same season. Additionally, as of September 8, 2006, three of their rookie starting pitchers (Josh Johnson, Scott Olsen, and Ricky Nolasco) have each won at least eleven games; the Marlins joined the 1934 Philadelphia A's and the 1952 Brooklyn Dodgers in accomplishing this feat.

On September 6, rookie Aníbal Sánchez pitched the fourth no-hitter in franchise history. During September, the Marlins advanced to within one game of the NL wild-card lead, but they were eliminated from contention after losing to the Cincinnati Reds on September 26. However, on the next day, Sánchez won his tenth game as a Marlin against the Reds, giving the Marlins four rookie starters who had each won ten or more games: Sánchez, Nolasco, Johnson, and Olsen. The 2006 Marlins were the first team in major-league history to have four rookie pitchers accomplish this feat. Because, as of September 27, Willis has won 12 games, the 2006 Marlins also had five ten-game winners for the first time in franchise history.

Shortly after the 2006 season ended and following months of speculation, Marlins manager Joe Girardi was fired on October 3, 2006 not long after winning the National League Manager of the Year award. This was due to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the year in which Girardi did not challenge a call that pitcher Taylor Tankersley thought was a strike and this prompted owner Jeffrey Loria, who was in the stands and a few feet away from the dugout, to call out Girardi who refused to listen to him. This wasn't the only thing that triggered the feud; earlier in the year Girardi reportedly wanted 1B Mike Jacobs to start off the year in triple A, Willingham to start at catcher, Miguel Cabrera to start at first base. This was just of the few of the other things that got Girardi fired from the Marlins. Within hours, Atlanta Braves third base coach Fredi González was named his replacement and was signed to a three year contract. On October 28, 2006, first baseman Wes Helms and pitchers Matt Herges and Brian Moehler filed for free agency. The next day, closer Joe Borowski filed. On December 29, 2006, the Marlins signed a one-year contract with infielder Aaron Boone. The Marlins also made some minor signings as they signed Lee Gardner and Justin Miller in hopes of rejuvenating their careers with the Fish.

The Marlins opened the 2007 season with high hopes after a successful 2006 season in which most expected they would lose 100 or more games. The underdog Marlins had remained in the Wild Card race until mid-September before finishing a respectable 78-84. The 2007 rotation included Dontrelle Willis, Scott Olsen, Anibal Sanchez, Sergio Mitre, and Ricky Nolasco, and the Marlins entered spring training with hopes that this rotation would blossom into one of the best in the National League. Willis was a Cy Young runner up in 2005, Sanchez threw a no-hitter in 2006, and Olsen led the team in strikeouts in 2006. The Marlins also banked on starter Josh Johnson to come back from an arm injury suffered the season before. Things got worse for Johnson entering spring training as MRI's discovered he had nerve damage in his throwing arm. Eventually, Johnson was put out for the remainder of the season after Tommy John Surgery. The Marlins got even more bad news as spring training went on. INF/1B coach Perry Hill retired, leaving the Marlins with a huge hole as Hill was considered to be one of the best defensive coaches around and was credited for the previous defensive success of Gold Glovers Luis Castillo and Mike Lowell. The Marlins' injuries took a toll as they lost OF Jeremy Hermida when an MRI of his right kneecap revealed a deep bone bruise for a month. Opening Day center fielder, Alejandro De Aza had an ankle sprain, P Sergio Mitre had a blister problem and P Ricky Nolasco had a sore elbow. In May, Marlins sent struggling P Anibal Sanchez to the minor leagues, where he was put on the Minor League DL with shoulder tendinitis. He then went out for the remainder of the season due to a tear in his labrum. The Fish also put promising pitcher Henry Owens on the DL as well as 1B Mike Jacobs. They sought bullpen help, dealing Jorge Julio, who amassed 2 blown saves and 2 loses in his tenure, to the Rockies for P Byung-Hyun Kim.

As injuries amassed for the Marlins, they traded P Randy Messenger to the Giants for P Armando Benitez who became a middle reliever instead as Gregg was the closer. In the June Draft, the Marlins selected 3B Matt Dominguez out of high school; it marked the first time since 2002 that the Fish got a position player rather than pitcher in the first round. The team entered the All Star break with more injuries: SS Hanley Ramirez had a hamstring injury, Miguel Cabrera missed the Home Run Derby with a shoulder injury, and Aaron Boone was out for the remainder of the season. The Marlins sent only one player to the All Star game as Miguel Cabrera went for a franchise record fourth time and fourth straight overall. The team had a record of 42-47 at the break.

After the All-Star break, the Marlins fell apart. After a July 20 game against the Reds, Scott Olsen was arrested by Aventura, Florida police and booked on charges of driving under the influence, resisting arrest with violence and fleeing and eluding a police officer. After completing the Reds series at 48-51, the Marlins sunk dramatically to last place in the NL East with a record of 23-40 the rest of the way and a 71-91 record overall. The Marlins had to deal with the struggles of both Willis and Olsen, the teams' top starters who both finished with ERAs north of 5.00 carrying 15 losses a piece. The Marlins did have some bright spots on offense as they set club records for runs scored (790), hits (1,504), doubles (340), home runs (201), RBIs (749) and slugging percentage (.448).

The Marlins offseason began with trying to get better on defense and pitching. Two players formally filed for free agency, Aaron Boone and Armando Benitez.

The Marlins filled their pitching coach vacancy by hiring Mark Wiley, formerly the pitching coach in the 2005 season and scout for the Rockies in 06' and 07'.

The focus of the 2007 offseason, however, was that the Marlins were officially listening to offers for slugger Miguel Cabrera and pitcher Dontrelle Willis. The team that seemed to be leading was the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. They felt that they had worked out a deal for Cabrera not once, but twice. Angels owner Arte Moreno said that each time, the Marlins came back after he felt a trade had been completed and asked for more to sweeten the trade. The San Francisco Giants expressed similar sentiments about the asking price the Marlins wanted, saying that the Marlins were asking for 4 players, with 3 of the 4 being pitchers and 2 of the 4 being major league players, not minor leaguers. Talks with both teams fell apart, but most still felt the Marlins would complete the trade with the Angels when MLB's annual Winter General Manager Meetings took place in Nashville.

On December 5, 2007, the Marlins agreed to the terms of a trade with the Detroit Tigers. The trade would surprisingly send not only Cabrera, but also Willis, to the Tigers. In return, the Marlins did not receive four players, but six. The Marlins received center fielder Cameron Maybin, catcher Mike Rabelo, and pitchers Andrew Miller, Eulogio De La Cruz, Burke Badenhop, and Dallas Trahern.

With a vacancy at third base, the Marlins signed infielders Jorge Cantu and Dallas McPherson. They've also added veterans Luis Gonzalez and pitcher Mark Hendrickson.

The Marlins began 2008 on a positive note. Analysts expected a lackluster performance on the field, citing the low payroll and loss of Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera during the offseason. However, in the first few months of the season, the Marlins were off to one of best starts in team history. At one point in the season, the Marlins jumped to (30-20), moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since September 14, 2005. They jumped atop of the National League East in April and May and for the first time with a lead that late in a season since 2002. The good start was attributed to powerful offensive production from their core of Mike Jacobs, Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla, Josh Willingham, and Jonathan A. and quality pitching by southpaws Andrew Miller and Scott Olsen along with right-hander Ricky Nolasco.

The team also received great and encouraging news after injured pitcher Josh Johnson made a fast recovery from Tommy John Surgery and Anibal Sanchez coming back from a torn labrum in the shoulder; leaping into the rotation right away along with calling up prized prospect Chris Volstad. In addition, the Marlins sent two players, Hanley Ramirez, who started the game at Shortstop for the National league, and reserve Dan Uggla to the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. In addition to surprises, the Marlins signed star shortstop Hanley Ramirez to a 6 year, $70 million dollar deal making him the richest Marlin in history.

The Marlins hot start made them a rare buyer at the July trade deadline where they were involved in talks on a three-way deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox which could have brought Manny Ramirez to the South Florida. The Marlins backed out at the last second when it involved their coveted power-hitting prospect, Michael Stanton. Instead, Manny Ramirez headed up with the Dodgers and the Marlins wound up trading for Arthur Rhodes.

The team struggled in the month of August where they went 11–16 due to lack of offense which they had the earlier months. In September, the Marlins surprised some when they tied the franchise-record nine game win streak which was contributed in part by prized prospect, Cameron Maybin. Unfortunately, the fish lost four straight afterwards eliminating them from playoff contention but they managed to eliminate the New York Mets for the second consecutive season on the final day.

The team finished the season setting a franchise record for most home runs in a season at 208. Mike Jacobs, Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu made MLB history by becoming the first foursome of infielders to hit at least 25 homers in a season.

Just a day after the World Series concluded, the Marlins began wheeling and dealing. They traded first baseman Mike Jacobs to the Royals for reliever Leo Nunez, who the Marlins hope can become a setup-man in late innings.

Around a couple of weeks later, the Marlins traded power hitting outfielder Josh Willingham and southpaw Scott Olsen to the Nationals for utility player Emilio Bonifacio and two minor leaguers. Soon after the Marlins traded closer Kevin Gregg to the Cubs for relief prospect Jose Ceda.

On April 1, 2009 the Marlins traded shortstop Robert Andino to the Baltimore Orioles for right-handed pitcher Hayden Penn, the trade was completed just before the two teams took the field in a spring training game against each other.

A few weeks before the regular season, the Florida Marlins' 15-year quest for a permanent home became a reality by agreeing to bankroll a big share of a $634 million stadium complex to rise on the grounds of the old Orange Bowl site. The Marlins hope to open at the new stadium on Opening Day 2012 with a new name; Miami Marlins.

The Marlins kicked off the new season with the youngest team in baseball and with the lowest payroll for the fourth consecutive season. New leadoff man Emilio Bonifacio stole the show on Opening Day. He hit the first Opening Day inside-the-park home run since Carl Yastrzemski did it for the Boston Red Sox in 1968 and had three stolen bases to go along with four hits. Hanley Ramirez hit his first career grand slam as the Marlins went on to score 12 runs, the most ever in franchise history on Opening Day.

The Marlins started the 2009 season hot by sweeping the Washington Nationals, only the second time they started the season with sweep since the 1997 Marlins team. The Marlins won their first four games for the first time in franchise history and have started 11-1, which included 2 out of 3 wins from the Mets, the first Marlins franchise sweep at Turner Field, and three comeback late-inning wins against the Nationals in Washington, sweeping the teams' second series matchup. The 11-1 start is the best start in Marlins history.

The Marlins are the first team in Major League Baseball to have a dance/cheer team: "The Marlins Mermaids". Debuting in 2003, the "Marlin Mermaids" quickly gained national exposure, and have influenced other MLB teams to develop their own cheer/dance squads.

A few years later, the Marlins created an all-male dance team: "The Manatees". This unique group consists of several overweight men, who "show off their own moves" for home crowds during weekends.

The Florida Marlins (soon to be Miami Marlins) hope to begin construction of a new, state-of-the-art stadium at the Miami Orange Bowl site. The now approved stadium was the subject of a protracted legal battle. A lawsuit by local automobile franchise mogul and former Philadelphia Eagles owner Norman Braman contested the legality of the deal with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami. However, Miami-Dade County Judge Beth Cohen dismissed all the charges in Braman's lawsuit. Braman is likely to appeal, but there is only a slight chance of the appeal being heard, so construction will begin soon. When completed, the seating capacity will be 37,000, making it the second smallest stadium (in capacity) in the MLB. Set to open in April 2012, the stadium would become only the sixth MLB stadium to have a retractable roof, joining Rogers Centre, Chase Field, Safeco Field, Miller Park, and Minute Maid Park. The Marlins will share Dolphin Stadium with the NFL's Miami Dolphins and the Miami Hurricanes football team starting in the 2008 season until 2010 when the Marlins' current lease runs out. The new stadium will not be ready until 2012, but Dolphin Stadium officials have said they would extend their lease with the Marlins if a stadium deal was in place.

These statistics are current as of May 3, 2009. Bold denotes a playoff season, pennant or championship; italics denote an active season.

The Marlins' flagship radio station from their inception in 1993 through 2007 was WQAM 560 AM. Although the Marlins had plans to leave WQAM after 2006, they ultimately remained with WQAM for the 2007 season. On October 11, 2007, it was announced that the Marlins had entered into a partnership with WAXY 790 AM to broadcast all games for the 2008 season. Dave Van Horne and Glenn Geffner split the play-by-play assignment.

Games are also heard in Spanish on WQBA 1140 AM. Felo Ramirez, who calls play-by-play on that station along with Luis Quintana, won the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Marlins games are televised by FS Florida and Sun Sports. FS Florida's slogan in 2008 was "You Gotta Be Here". For the 2009 season the new slogan is "It's where you wanna be". There are no games available over-the-air; the last "free TV" broadcast of a game was on WPXM in 2005. Rich Waltz is the play-by-play announcer and Tommy Hutton is the color analyst.

As of the 2009 Baseball Hall of Fame election, no inducted members have played for the Marlins. Tony Perez, inducted in honor of his playing career, briefly worked as interim manager of the Marlins after his induction.

Marlins pitchers have issued four no-hitters in team regular-season history.

No Marlin has ever hit for the cycle in history. But the Marlins' Triple-A affiliate had two cycles in one week in August 2008.

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Calvin Medlock

Calvin D. Medlock (born November 8, 1982 in Houston, Texas) is a Minor League Baseball relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Medlock graduated from Westbury High School, where he was a MVP during his junior and senior years. At Westbury, he also holds school records for wins (35), ERA (1.96), innings pitched (279), and strikeouts (313). Following high school, he attended North Central Texas Junior College and from there entered the Major League Baseball draft in 2002. He was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the 39th round as the 1,155th overall pick. He did not sign until the next year on May 20.

In 2005, Medlock pitched for the Single-A Sarasota Reds. He was the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, after making 17 starts in 25 games in which he had a 6-3 record with a 3.06 ERA In 2006, he advanced to Double-A, playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts. There, he was a full-time reliever as distinct from the previous year, when he mostly started. Pitching in 42 games, he had a 7-2 record with a 2.97 ERA and also had 2 saves. The Reds purchased his contract following the season on November 20, protecting him from the Rule 5 Draft.

In 2007, Medlock began the season in Double-A again. He pitched in 29 games, had a 2-2 record with a 2.64 ERA before being promoted to Triple-A Louisville on June 22, 2007. With Louisville, he ended up pitching in 13 games for them and had a 5.63 ERA. On July 28, 2007, along with teammate Brian Shackelford, Medlock was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for infielder Jorge Cantu and outfielder Shaun Cumberland. Upon acquiring him, the Devil Rays immediately assigned him to Triple-A Durham. Medlock finished the season in Durham, making 9 relief appearances and a 3.45 ERA.

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2009 Florida Marlins season

The Florida Marlins' 2009 season is the 17th season for the Major League Baseball franchise. The Marlins play their home games at Dolphin Stadium. Fredi González returns for his third straight season as manager.

Opening Day showcased the Marlins′ new emphasis on pitching and speed, although several home runs were hit too. New leadoff hitter Emilio Bonifacio had three stolen bases and an inside-the-park home run, going 4-for-5. A grand slam by Hanley Ramírez, and homers by Jorge Cantú and Jeremy Hermida capped a spectacular performance in a 12–6 win over the Washington Nationals. Following an opening series sweep of Washington, the Marlins won two of three games against the New York Mets. Next, Florida had a nine game road trip, visiting Atlanta, Washington, and Pittsburgh for three games each. The Marlins swept both the Braves and Nationals to earn a franchise-best 11–1 record to open a season. But then they stumbled in Pittsburgh, losing all three games to the Pirates and at home against the Phillies, when with Cody Ross even a position player pitched in relief, the first time since Jason Wood did so in 2007.

As of May 1, 2009.

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Gaby Sanchez

Gaby Sanchez.jpg

Gabriel Sanchez (born September 2, 1983 in Miami, Florida) is a Major League Baseball first baseman for the Florida Marlins organization. He bats and throws right-handed.

Sanchez was drafted out of high school by the Seattle Mariners in the 15th round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft, but chose to attend the University of Miami instead. He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 4th round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft, and did sign. In his first professional season in 2005, Sanchez played mostly third base for the Jamestown Jammers. He made the Short-Season All-Star game as the designated hitter for Jamestown and was also MVP of the All-Star game in the New York-Penn League. In 2006, Sanchez played for the Single-A Greensboro Grasshoppers where he batted .317 with 14 home runs in 55 games before a promotion to Triple-A Albuquerque. In 2007, Sanchez played for Single-A Advanced Jupiter; he batted .279, but hit only 9 home runs in 133 games. In 2008, he batted .314 with 17 home runs and 92 RBI for Double-A Carolina en route to winning the Southern League MVP award.

On September 14, 2008, Sanchez was called up to the majors and made his debut on September 17. He attended the Marlins' 2009 Spring Training camp and competed with Jorge Cantu for the starting first baseman position; Sanchez struggled in the spring and was optioned toTriple-A New Orleans Zephyrs. If Sanchez won the job,Cantu would play Third Base.

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2008 Florida Marlins season

The Florida Marlins' 2008 season was the 16th season for the Major League Baseball franchise. Fredi González returned for his second season as manager. Despite having the lowest payroll in the Major Leagues, the Marlins finished with a record of 84-77 (their best non-playoff season).

The season started off well for the Marlins even though they lost the opening series to the New York Mets. They go on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, sweep the Washington Nationals in their series, and take the first game of the series vs. Houston Astros while earning their 4th straight victory and leading their division with a 7-3 record by 1 ½ games the first week. They tied the franchise record for the most victories in April, with 15.

The Marlins started the month with a loss to the Dodgers, but after taking two of three from the Padres they swept the Brewers and the Nationals back-to-back to eventually improve to a Major League best record on May 11th, before the Reds took three in a row in Cincinnati. After a rainout the Royals handed the Marlins their fourth consecutive loss, the last two of the interleague series were split. They went on to sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks, whom at that time had the National League's best record, and in that process stopped Brandon Webb from starting the season with a 10-0 record, a feat not accomplished since World War I. After wininng the homes series against the Giants and losing to the Mets at Shea Stadium the Marlins split the first two of three in Philadelphia to finish May atop their division with a half-game edge over the Phillies. They were in first place or tied for first all through the month except for May 30.

After a loss in Philadelphia, the Marlins fell back to second place in the division, but they could hold the second spot despite losing three of four in Atlanta. Back in Dolphin Stadium, they split a four game series against the Reds. In the last game of the series on June 9, Ken Griffey, Jr. hit his 600th career home run off Mark Hendrickson in a 9-4 loss. The Marlins finished their home stand winning two of three against the Phillies, and narrowed the gap to their division rival to three games. An interleague road swing starting in St. Petersburg saw both teams of the Citrus Series sporting records above .500 for the first time ever. Tampa Bay took the first two games, but an outstanding performance by Ricky Nolasco earned him the win and a shared NL Player of the Week award, and let the series finish on a high note for the Fish. For the first time in Seattle at Safeco Field, they took two of three on solid outings by youngsters Andrew Miller and Ryan Tucker, before heading after a day off to another new ballpark for a three game series against the Oakland Athletics. Despite a Marlins' long ball attack with four home runs in the first encounter, the A's won it in extra innings to take two of three. After a day off the Marlins were swept in three games by their state rival Tampa Bay Rays to finish 2008 interleague play with a 5-10 record. The first loss to the D-Backs in 2008 was the only blemish in the last four games in June. Throughout the month in second place they trailed the Phillies only half a game in the division standings on June 30.

The Marlins stayed in the top three of the NL East division throughout the month. They won or split all but two — against the Rockies and the Braves — of their series in July. Though they never held first place, they neither were back more than three games and finished the month seven games over .500, trailing the first place Phillies only by 1½ games. Remarkable was a game at Coors Field on July 4, where the Marlins were vanquished after blowing a nine run lead to finally lose 18-17. Ironically, the Marlins led the NL with 32 come-from-behind wins as of the end of the month. The rotation was shaken up with the call-up of Chris Volstad on July 6. He earned his first win that same night in two innings of relief at Colorado, then earning his first win as a starter five days later at the Dodgers with a brilliant 8⅔ inning performance, helping the Marlins take three of four in L.A. Right before the All-Star break, Josh Johnson made it back to the line-up, only eleven months after having undergone Tommy John surgery. On July 31, Aníbal Sánchez also had his comeback after shoulder surgery. Both of them boosted the rotation like the acquisition of top pitchers. Before the July 31 trade deadline, there were major rumors of the Fish acquiring Manny Ramírez for the rest of the season, but he eventually was traded to the Dodgers. The multiple rumors did not impact the squad, having beaten both the Cubs at Wrigley and their division rivals Mets at home twice, before taking the first game of a four game series against the Rockies at Dolphin Stadium.

Hanley Ramírez was elected to start at shortstop for the NL in the All-Star Game, and finished 2-for-3 with a run scored. Fellow Marlin All-Star Dan Uggla competed in a memorable Home Run Derby, and became the first player with three errors in a single All-Star Game, a not so favorable distinction, along with three strikeouts in the the longest MLB All-Star Game in history.

August became a rough month for the Marlins, and for the first time in the season, the team significantly lost ground in the divisional race to the Mets and the Phillies. While the Fish started the month only one and a half games back, they fell to seven games behind the then first place New York Mets on August 31. The offense struggled, as did the bullpen. The solid rotation with Josh Johnson, Chris Volstad and an outstanding Ricky Nolasco was not enough to carry the team with a lack of production at the plate. After blowing a few late leads, closer Kevin Gregg was limited in his appearances while allowing his tender knee to heal. Matt Lindstrom took over as closer. The only series wins came on the road at the Phillies and the Diamondbacks, but without any back-to-back wins in the entirety of August, the Marlins could not keep pace with the division leading teams. Highlights in August were the first complete games since September 16, 2006, thrown by Ricky Nolasco on August 19 against the Giants, and followed up by Johnson's complete game on August 27 against the Braves. Nolasco's complete game ended an MLB record set by the Marlins for most games between complete games.

The hopes of climbing back to first place in the National League East were low, but the Marlins kept battling in the month of September. In the process, they accomplished an MLB-first feat. With Jorge Cantu's 25th home run of the season, the Marlins' infielders became the first starting infielder foursome in MLB history to each hit 25 or more home runs. Additionally, Hanley Ramirez's decisive home run on September 13 made him the second Marlin ever to join the 30-30 club. During the month, the Marlins tied a franchise record of nine straight wins. This put them at 4 games back in the East division and 3.5 games back in the NL Wild Card race. That late surge wasn't enough though, as the Marlins lost the next four games. In the final season series, the Marlins played spoiler, ruining the Mets playoff chances by winning two of three in New York. The Marlins ended the season with an 84-77 record. This was their best non-playoff season record in franchise history, and third best season record overall.

As of September 28, 2008.

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Source : Wikipedia