The Florida Marlins are looking forward to opening their new stadium in 2012. They’re also pretty excited about the likelihood of playing under Ozzie Guillen next season.
While an official announcement has yet to be made, the Marlins are expected to introduce Guillen as manager after concluding their season against the Washington Nationals in their final game at Sun Life Stadium on Wednesday.
The former White Sox manager, released from the final year of his contract per his request Monday night, is all but certain to replace Jack McKeon at the helm. The 80-year-old McKeon will retire at season’s end.
“(Guillen’s tell-it-like-it-is mentality) is probably something we need around here. Let us know, and don’t beat around the bush. It’s better than doing it behind your back. He’s going to come right to you.”
Roughly 40 former players are set to participate in a pregame ceremony remembering the only home Florida (72-89) has known. The Marlins have gone 780-720 in 19 years at the venue now known as Sun Life Stadium, winning the World Series in their fifth season in 1997 and again in 2003.
Florida is moving to a 37,000-seat, retractable-roof ballpark in the Little Havana section of Miami.
“Of course you have the World Series wins, and all those great games,” first baseman Gaby Sanchez(notes) told the Marlins’ official website. “Those are never going to be forgotten. Those are always are going to be there, and people are going to know the players that have come through. But I think it’s going to be a new beginning. It’s going to be a great beginning.
“Going into a new stadium, and actually playing in a real baseball stadium, with a real backdrop, with real baseball lights - all of that makes such a difference.”
The final game at Sun Life Stadium will be memorable for another reason, as Stephen Strasburg(notes) (0-1, 2.00 ERA) is scheduled to start it for Washington. The right-hander will be making his fifth start since coming off the DL on Sept. 6 after Tommy John surgery.
Strasburg gave up a season-worst three runs - two earned - in four innings of a 7-4 loss to Atlanta on Friday, retiring 10 of his final 11 batters.
“I’m amped up every game, but sometimes it takes a little bit longer to find a groove,” Strasburg said. “There’s going to come a time where they’re going to let me stay out there longer, and if I give up three runs in the first and put up zeros the rest of my start, I’m going to be happy.”
Washington has limited the workload of the former No. 1 overall draft pick since his return, as he has pitched more than five innings once - a six-inning effort in a 4-1, 13-inning loss to Florida on Sept. 17.
Strasburg yielded a career-high six runs in 4 1-3 innings of an 8-2 defeat to the Marlins on Aug. 10, 2010.
He’ll be opposed by Chris Volstad(notes) (5-12, 4.96), who has compiled a 2.16 ERA over his last four starts but didn’t earn a decision in any of them. The right-hander is 5-2 despite a 4.92 ERA in 13 career meetings with the Nationals (79-81).
The Marlins improved to 11-6 in the season series on Bryan Petersen’s(notes) two-out walk-off homer in a 3-2 victory Tuesday. Javier Vazquez(notes), who is contemplating retirement, recorded his second complete game versus Washington in 11 days.
“I feel like I’ve achieved a lot,” he said. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work and am glad to see it paid off.”