Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle was quick to welcome Dan Jennings to the fraternity of managers when he fired off a quick text right after the Marlins put him in the dugout: “Welcome to the club of first-guessing.”
But only one week into the job, Jennings is not only receiving his share of criticism for a few of his managerial decisions, the thinly veiled jabs are originating from members of his own club.
Arizona manager Chip Hale pointed to what he perceived to be a possible managing oversight by Jennings last week when, believing the Marlins didn’t have a right-hander ready in the bullpen, sent in right-handed pinch-hitter A.J. Pollock to face lefty Mike Dunn last week.
Pollock’s two-run homer proved the difference in the outcome, never mind the fact that right-handed reliever Bryan Morris had warmed up one inning earlier and was ready to go in if summoned.
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On Sunday, after Jennings’ bullpen moves figured prominently in a win over the Orioles, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter sounded unimpressed: “They used what, three guys three days in a row out of the bullpen to get it done? We’ll see how that works down the road.”
Would a traditional manager — someone groomed for the role — be treated similarly?
Jennings said he doesn’t perceive any slights based solely on his lack of a coaching background.
“I think it would probably be the same for any new manager,” Jennings said. “New managers are going to be tested until they show or develop their style.”
But in a radio interview with former general manager Jim Bowden, Hale all but acknowledged his displeasure with the front office-to-managing switch without a lack of on-field training.
“I think it’s frustrating in a way for guys who’ve done it,” Hale replied when asked by Bowden about his thoughts on the hiring of Jennings. “I’ve said this before: When you finish playing or get into Major League Baseball on the minor-league level, you say, ‘OK, what do I want to do? OK, I want to manage in the big leagues. What do I have to do? I’m going to bust my hump coaching and teaching and become the best manager at the minor-league level that I can, then get to the big leagues.’ It’s not looking like that track is going to be the way anymore.”
Jose Urena didn’t get a chance to start when he was up with the Marlins in April. But it’s all but certain he’ll get his chance now. The Marlins are expected to promote the right-hander from Triple A New Orleans and put him on the mound Tuesday against the Pirates. Urena was scratched from his scheduled start for the Zephyrs on Monday.
Urena has been steady and solid for the Zephyrs. Since returning to the minors from his brief stint with the Marlins, Urena has gone 3-0 with a ridiculously low 1.15 ERA in five starts. Look for Urena to notch his outs via contact. He struck out just 12 (while walking eight) in those five starts.
The Marlins don’t plan on announcing the move until Tuesday. They also haven’t named a starter for Wednesday. Brad Hand is a possibility, as is recent call-up Andre Rienzo.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Jarred Cosart won’t be returning from the disabled list when his 15 days are up. The Marlins plan on having Cosart make a rehab start in the minors but not until next week. Cosart was placed on the DL, retroactive to May 14, with vertigo.
“It depends on how long it takes for it to evolve,” said Michael Hill, Marlins president of baseball operations. “It’s really uncharted territory. It’s not like an elbow that needs to heal, or inflammation in the shoulder. We’re cautiously optimistic that [he’ll return] shortly after 15 days, but we really don’t know.”
▪ Hill said Henderson Alvarez has not received a MRI since going on the DL a second time this season with right shoulder inflammation.
“We want to let everything calm down and see where he’s at,” Hill said. “So, after a week or so, we’ll start to ramp him up again. If it’s better, then he’ll continue. If not, then we’ll get him a MRI.”
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Urena (0-0, 9.00) at Pittsburgh Pirates LHP Jeff Locke (2-2, 5.28), 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins (to be announced) at Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (6-2, 2.05), 12:35 p.m., PNC Park.