Miami Marlins

Marlins reassign third-base coach Brett Butler after signal mixup

Former Marlins third-base coach Brett Butler speaks with manager Dan Jennings on Monday, May 18, 2015.
Former Marlins third-base coach Brett Butler speaks with manager Dan Jennings on Monday, May 18, 2015. el Nuevo Herald

The Marlins are getting their signals crossed, and it prompted a decision to remove Brett Butler as their third-base coach, according to sources.

The latest change to the Marlins’ coaching staff comes a week after manager Mike Redmond was fired and replaced by general manager Dan Jennings.

Sources said Redmond voiced complaints with Butler’s coaching to the front office, but no action was taken.

That changed Monday when a sign mixup led to words being exchanged in the Marlins dugout between Butler and new bench coach Mike Goff.

With a man on first and the Marlins trailing Pittsburgh by two runs in the seventh, Christian Yelich received the hit-and-run sign from Butler at a time when that strategy would be considered unwise.

Rather than look for a pitch to hit, Yelich followed instructions, went after the first pitch thrown to him in order to protect the runner and grounded weakly to second.

Yelich was livid and expressed his anger openly in the dugout afterward.

But the debate didn’t end there.

After the inning ended, Butler and Goff became engaged in a heated exchange, with Butler contending he was merely relaying the sign that was sent in from the dugout and Goff countering that no such sign was sent, sources said.

Butler was informed Tuesday morning of the decision to remove him as third-base coach. Lenny Harris, the team’s assistant hitting coach, was named the new third-base coach even though he has limited experience in that role.

Jennings characterized the decision as one aimed at moving Butler into the dugout, where his experience as a player and coach could be better utilized.

Asked if Monday night’s confusion over signs prompted the decision, Jennings replied: “I’m not going to talk about things that happen on the field. Those things are internal.”

Jennings also refused to confirm whether Redmond also had issues with Butler.

“You’ll have to speak with Red,” Jennings said. “I’m not going to answer for Red.”

MORSE ON DL

The Marlins placed slumping first baseman Michael Morse on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right ring finger and sent him back to Miami to see a hand specialist.

“He battled through it, and [we] just felt like we needed to get him healthy so that he wasn’t feeling every swing, feeling the pain in it,” Jennings said.

Jennings said that Morse would eventually receive at-bats in minor-league rehab games. The Marlins are trying to get Morse back on track at the plate. He is hitting just .211 and lost the starting job at first base to Justin Bour.

THIS AND THAT

▪ Jose Fernandez will throw another simulation game Thursday before taking the mound on Monday at extended spring training in Jupiter in an actual game.

▪ Jarred Cosart (15-day DL, vertigo) is scheduled to throw off a mound Wednesday and Friday and begin pitching in extended spring training on Monday.

▪ Mat Latos (15-day DL, left knee) will throw off a mound Saturday and Monday before joining Fernandez and Cosart in extended spring training later next week.

“So they’ve got a pretty good rotation going on in extended spring,” Jennings joked. “I think they’re going to do pretty well.”

COMING UP

▪ Wednesday: Marlins (to be announced) at Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Gerrit Cole (6-2, 2.05), 12:35 p.m., PNC Park.

▪ Thursday: Off day

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