The Florida Marlins gave interim manager Edwin Rodriguez a sweet homecoming.
Florida beat the New York Mets, 10-3, on Monday night at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Rodriguez, who was managing Florida’s top farm team a week ago, took over the big club when Fredi Gonzalez was fired Wednesday, becoming the first major league manager born in Puerto Rico. Days later, he got a chance to go home with his new squad – and what a night it was.
“This return has been a very emotional thing for me and many of the people of Puerto Rico. So I am very proud, and proud of the players for their strong game,” Rodriguez said after the opener of a three-game series in the baseball-crazy U.S. territory.
Back in March, Major League Baseball moved this series from Miami, where the Marlins draw sparse crowds, to Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan.
Out in the parking lot, fans who didn’t have tickets to the game gathered around car radios. A few showed up just to soak up the atmosphere, playing the heavy BOOM-da-BOOM-BOOM bass rhythm of the popular hybrid Latin rap music of reggaeton.
There were pockets of empty seats, however, in the announced crowd of 18,073.
“There were a lot of Latins out there tonight, so that was fun. A lot of people from the Dominican, too,” said Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, who is from the nearby Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic.
Carlos Zambrano will be placed on the restricted list and the Chicago Cubs expect to be without the hot-tempered pitcher until at least the All-Star break. Zambrano has been suspended by the team without pay for the past three games, after he threw a tirade in the dugout Friday that led to a verbal confrontation with teammate Derrek Lee. … Albert Pujols says he’ll pass on the Home Run Derby in this year’s All-Star Game. The St. Louis Cardinals’ three-time National League MVP said he’s participated three times and felt he could say no this time around. … Major League Baseball and Texas Rangers’ creditors trying to block the team’s sale must hand over documents about actions and conversations that took place before the club filed for bankruptcy last month, a judge ordered Monday. Creditors oppose the team’s plan to pay them $75 million and sell the club to a group led by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher and team president. … The Braves put rookie phenom Jason Heyward on the 15-day disabled list with a deep bone bruise in his left thumb. Heyward’s injury threatens his All-Star Game availability.