Category: Kiko Calero

Fredi Gonzalez Deserves A Florida Marlins Chance


There are still many things that I do not understand from Florida Marlins fans. I comprehend through their long rocky history many unlikable things and decisions have happened however the 2009 edition should still be given a chance.

Very true the Marlins started sizzling hot with an 11-1 record. After that unlucky 13th game the month of April seems very long time ago. However does anybody think out there that they can arise again? Let’s not forget in 2003 under former Manager Jeff Torborg that team in the Month of June its destiny was to share the cellar of its Eastern Division with the defunct Montreal Expos. The rest is history. A World Championship.

It’s understandable there are not at present to many positive news, however at the moment I’m writing this column I have not seen one headline in all South Florida media that Hanley Ramírez is the National League’ s leading vote-getter among shortstop in the last balloting update for the 80th All-Star Game to be played on July at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Ramírez, who is among the league batting leaders, is trying to earn the starting shortstop nod for the second consecutive season. And as the case of Ramirez good news are never heard.

But seems nobody cares. I understand fans have seen many; many people go but as the popular say tells the moment should be enjoy.

In contrary the only these days it could be heard all over whatever you want to call it nowadays stadium among media and fans it is the calling for the head of Manager Fredi González. First the chopping started this season in Arizona, then in Colorado and looks like many want to see the Cuban-born pilot be the third one gone.

I understand as Jim Leyland, former Marlins Manager and now the Detroit Tigers boss, said once is easier to get fired one person—the manager—rather than all the 25 players. However, the 2009 Marlins roller coaster is not all González fault.

In paper the Marlins began the season with the best youngest starting rotation in the National League. Only big right-hander Josh Johnson has been dependable so far. Same as the bullpen that was suppose to be one of the best in years only veteran Kiko Calero have not been as shaky as its counterparts.

It’s not Gonzalez culpability that the team offense is one of the worst three and also as a team their defense is one of the worst three in the National League.

Gonzalez last season was selected 2008 National League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News. I understand that Marlins fans unless they are not subscribed to thewell-known publication either they do not care or they are learning about the accolade now. He deserved it and he should have been the Majors’ National League manager of the year. If someone forgets, the 2008 less Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis was supposed to be the worst ever since 1998.

Give Fredi Gonzalez a chance. If not the changes should start in the roster itself.

This column was published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun/ MLB Commentary

Boricuas As Cold As Ice in the Majors

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Two months of the 2009 Major League Baseball season are in the books and the first phrase that comes to my mind is the much famous local enquiry que pasa boricua ?

Over 50 games have been played and it is very difficult to find much names of our local stars in the top of the hitting and pitching statistics charts. By now it is well known that golden years of such past as future hall of famers Roberto Alomar and Edgar Martínez and others such as Bernie Williams, Juan González, Rubén Sierra, Sandy Alomar Jr.,Javier López and many others are all gone however we ponder sometimes what’s happening with the current crop.

It is very feasible we are concern with the health of Carlos Delgado and when he will come back to play with the New York Mets or as many are following very closely Ivan Rodriguez probable last ride in the Majors with the Houston Astros.  It is very genuine they have a huge army of baseball fans watching them day to day but we much need as a pueblo a little more than nostalgia. We also want to see our ballplayers be hot.

If we were going to call this date this season Puerto Rico’s MVP in the Majors it should be Carlos Beltrán. The New York Met outfielder  is top among the best hitters in the National League and among the best in other three offensive categories. His over .340 average constant pace have kept him at the top among the first five batters in the old circuit with fellow latino Albert Pujols and Miguel Tejada in his tail.

If the Manati native continues his hitting stride there is a good chance it can be seen the first Puerto Rican to win a batting title in the Majors since 1998. That year Yankees’ Bernie Williams hit .339 to win the American League batting crown. Before him was Edgar Martinez with the Seattle Mariners who won the batting champion crowns in 1992 and 1995. The last boricua to win it in the National League was the late Roberto Clemente with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1967. His last of four batting titles.

In the National League other only fellow natives that truly are standing out at this moment of time are D’ Backs second baseman Felipe Lopez and brothers Bengie and Yadier Molina of the Giants and Cardinals respectively.

In the American League no boricua is among the top ten in any offensive category however the leader of the pack exceeding many of the expectations that were written for him this season is Mike Lowell. Many in Boston were not completely sure if he was going to be fully recover from his medical procedure from last season. Lowell missed post-season action and underwent arthroscopic surgery last October 20 to repair his right hip which was said  at the time to be a complete success.

At this moment, the Red Sox third baseman is hitting so well for average and power and playing again as a gold glover that he is a strong candidate for American League Comeback Player of the Year. Other islander that is starting to wake up offensively lately is Blue Jays’ Alexis Rios.

Among hurlers, best news so far among leaders in the National League are Javier Vazquez (Atlanta Braves), Kiko Calero (Florida Marlins) and Pedro Feliciano (New York Mets). Let’s keep a watch on Joel Piñeiro that if he continues his course could be a strong candidate for National League Comeback Player of the Year.

This column was also published by The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary

Kiko Calero: Smiling With The Marlins

It’s just the beginning of the season. The grass still green and fresh.  Every baseball fan is pump up and all players have a slight illusion of post-season play.

The Florida Marlins have commence the young season with its best start since its 1997 World Championship team and on its bench only smiles are seen.  Sure, it’s only the first week. This is definitely not the ample talented that Jim Leyland managed 12 summers ago but why not to enjoy it meanwhile it lasts the good streak.

Among the grinning faces in Fredi Gonzalez squad are the two boricuas in the fish tank Kiko Calero and Andy Gonzalez.

“I’m very happy to be here. I knew I deserve the opportunity and I’m going to do the best of it”, Calero said at Miami’s Dolphin Stadium.

Calero, signed as a Minor League free agent in late January, it’s making his words good and at this moment has now pitched 2 2/3 shutout frames to start the season.

“I work very hard to be here. I made some sacrifices and I want personally to demostrate that I’m back and healthy”, Calero said.

And sure he made a huge sacrifice back in March. The 34 year-old right-handed bolted to join Team Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic and instead stayed behind at the Marlins spring training camp in Jupiter in order to win a spot as a relief pitcher as a non-roster invitee.

Not only the Santurce native was just an invitee. Calero have to demostrate he could come back from a rotator cuff injury that kept him out from pitching last season.

Calero problems started in 2007 when he appeared in 46 games as shoulder problems arise and caused him to miss the final month of that season. In 2008 after only 5 games pitched he was released by the Oakland A’s. After being designated for assignment and released, Calero signed with the Texas Rangers on July 4, 2008.  The Rangers signed Calero to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Oklahoma, where he spent the rest of the season.

As of Andy Gonzalez, he’s smiling too. Even though, there it is the possibility he will be victim to be send to the minors when the Marlins called up super utilty Alfredo Amezaga from the disabled list his happy.

“This was my goal. To start the season in the major league roster and show my abilities”. Gonzalez said. “Even if I’m sent down, I know I will be back soon”

Manager Fredi Gonzalez pointed out that Gonzalez, 27, have a great chance to be with the big club for long and is a player that can help the team coming out of the bench.The cuban-born skipper praised Gonzalez as he can play both the infield and outfield very soundly.

As of Calero, Manager Gonzalez praised him as a veteran that will see a lot of innings this year and can be a good candidate for Comeback of the Year.

This column was also published as a special column for The Puerto Rico Daily Sun / MLB Commentary