Marlins manager Dan Jennings had a lot of praise for starter Dan Haren prior to Saturday’s game and the role he is playing in leading the pitching staff.
“To have a guy like that as a veteran pitching presence around you is something we have looked for for a long time,” Jennings said of Haren, who is 6-5 this season with a 3.45 ERA. “Knowing he is getting one-on-one time with these guys and sharing with them his experiences both positive and negative, I think it’s going to speed up the growth.”
Haren, a three-time All-Star, talked about what he is trying to accomplish as a leader of the staff.
“I help them with a little bit of the scouting stuff, what I’ve learned through the years,” he said. “Just how to look at hitters and developing a game plan going into the game. But when it comes down to it it’s always up to the pitcher to execute the game plan. You could have the best scouting report in the world, but if you can’t execute a pitch it doesn’t matter.”
Jennings could see Haren as a pitching coach one day.
“If he wants to do it, there is no doubt he will have a great future in that capacity,” Jennings said.
Bour on the bench
Despite putting up some large numbers last week, first baseman Justin Bour was out of the lineup Saturday. The Cubs started lefty Clayton Richard, so Jennings went with right-handed hitting Jeff Baker.
“In making the lineup [Saturday] we know he has four games where he has homered and three of them have given us the lead,” Jennings said. “But at the same time it is what we have been doing and what has been our success, so he may get a chance to come off the bench and have that opportunity to go for five, but right now Baker has been starting against left-handers and team is more important than any one person.”
Ozuna moved down
Marcell Ozuna, who was 1 for 29 over his previous eight games entering Saturday, was moved down to seventh in the lineup, only the second time he has hit that low all season.
“The other guys are performing so well right now,” Jennings said. “I think the lineup is something pretty much all managers play around with all year.”
The stars added to the numbers on the back of the uniforms to celebrate Independence Day had some mixed reviews in the Marlins’ clubhouse.
“I definitely take pride in wearing the uniform, especially today, there’s a lot of significance behind it,” closer A.J. Ramos said. “I’m just really honored to wear it.”
Haren, a 13-year veteran, had a different viewpoint.
“It’s a little bit over the top,” he said. “I was in the big leagues a long time ago where you just put a little sticker on your hat; that was it.”
▪ Jennings said first baseman Michael Morse played at Single A Jupiter on Friday and there were no problems with his back, which he tweaked earlier in the week. Therefore, Jennings said that Morse, who has been on the disabled list since May 26, could rejoin the club in Boston this week.
▪ Sunday: Marlins RHP Mat Latos (3-5, 5.27 ERA) at Chicago Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (3-4, 4.15), 2:20p.m., Wrigley Field.
▪ Monday: Off day.