Marlins notebook

Jeff Mathis’ homer a Miami Marlins milestone

 

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

Jeff Mathis’ game-winning grand slam Sunday wasn’t just any ordinary home run. It was the 3,000th homer in Marlins history.

Neither he nor manager Mike Redmond was aware of the milestone.

“I didn’t get that memo,” Redmond joked after Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Padres.

It was another catcher, Benito Santiago, who hit the first Marlins home run in 1993.

According to Stats LLC, the Marlins became the third-fastest team to get to 3,000 home runs, doing so in their 3,252nd game.

The Colorado Rockies reached the milestone the quickest, hitting their 3,000th homer in their 2,618th game.

Only two teams — Arizona and Tampa Bay — haven’t yet hit 3,000 homers.

Though the Marlins have never been known as a home run-hitting club (they’ve had only one player, Gary Sheffield, hit as many as 40 home runs in a season), they joined the majors at a time when baseballs were flying out of the park in record numbers.

To help illustrate the Marlins’ milestone, consider that it took the “Bronx Bombers” — the New York Yankees — 5,740 games to get to 3,000 homers and the Boston Red Sox a whopping 8,057 games to do it.

‘Great memories’

Padres outfielder Mark Kotsay is the last remaining active player from the Marlins’ 1997 World Series team.

“Seriously?” Kotsay replied when informed of his distinction.

Kotsay was called up in July of that season and hit .192 in 18 games before being sent back to the minors.

He did not play in the postseason.

“I have great memories from that year,” Kotsay, 37, said of his first taste of major-league baseball. “I left a little bit of an impression in spring training — I had a great spring training my first season — and I got rewarded. I was there 18 days, played in every game.”

Kotsay’s fondest memory: a bases-loaded triple off the Phillies’ Mark Leiter ( Al’s brother) in his second big-league game.

“The only negative memory was that I got a ‘B’ [World Series] ring and not an ‘A’ ring,” he said. “There were a few of us that received ‘B’ rings.”

Kotsay was the Marlins’ first-round draft pick in 1996 and the last college player to be drafted by the Marlins before they took North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran this year.

Coming up

•  Monday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (4-4, 2.98 ERA) vs. San Diego Padres RHP Jason Marquis (9-3, 3.99), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

•  Tuesday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (1-5, 4.78) at Atlanta Braves RHP Kris Medlen (5-7, 3.02), 7:10 p.m., Turner Field.

•  Scouting report: Since May 1, Fernandez’s 2.37 ERA is 11th in the National League. Among rookie pitchers with at least 15 starts this season, Fernandez has the lowest opponents’ batting average (.203).

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