Jennings stresses Marlins' talent in team meeting
MIAMI -- After a demoralizing three-game sweep at the hands of the Cardinals, Marlins manager Dan Jennings called a team meeting on Friday in hopes of sending a signal of support to the players.
"We had a little meeting, just to regain our focus and make sure that we're all on the same page moving forward, and re-emphasize to these guys that this is a talented team," Jennings said before Friday's 7-1 loss to the Dodgers. "We have to go out and play to our ability."
The task of turning things around isn't going to be easy with the Dodgers at Marlins Park for three games, followed by the Giants.
But more than the opposition, the Marlins are striving to resolve their frustrations internally.
"Losing is frustrating to everyone," Jennings said. "Sometimes they just need to hear something a little positive and regain the focus."
The Marlins are striving to crawl back closer to .500 and make a second-half push. The club expects to receive a boost when Jose Fernandez returns to face the Giants on Thursday.
Fernandez, who had Tommy John surgery on May 16, 2014, is set to throw his final rehab-assignment start on Saturday for Double-A Jacksonville.
First baseman Michael Morse (right ring finger) is winding down his rehab stint with Triple-A New Orleans. He's at 27 rehab at-bats heading into Friday night, and the organization would like him to have around 35 before he is reinstated.
Morse could return Sunday at the earliest, or perhaps Tuesday in the opener against the Giants, his former team.
Holding things together is crucial until the roster is at full strength.
"It's a manager's prerogative," Jennings said. "You never want these guys to lose sight of how good they are and how talented they are. There is a lot of talent in that room. You just want them to stay focused on why they're here, knowing that it's 162 games. Don't lose sight of your ability, guys. You are good players. You're a good team. Let's play to that level, that's it."
The club showed unity in batting practice, wearing T-shirts that featured Japanese writing that urged fans to vote for Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon to the All-Star Game.
Last year, the club had a similar voting campaign for Casey McGehee.
Stanton and Gordon currently are among the starters in the outfield and second base, respectively.
"I hope the message gets out and people do continue to go out and vote for Giancarlo and Dee," Jennings said. "They're both very deserving of being in Cincinnati and playing in the All-Star Game. I think it would be a great honor for this team, for this city and certainly those two young men."