Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria on Friday denied a report that he was behind the move to switch starting pitchers for Tuesday’s chilly, day-night doubleheader in Minnesota.
Loria told FoxSports.com that he “had nothing to do with the decision” after Yahoo Sports reported that Loria personally insisted that rookie Jose Fernandez start the first game and Ricky Nolasco pitch the second game because it was expected to be warmer for the opener.
The report, which Yahoo said was verified by three sources, said Marlins players are “furious” with Loria’s meddling and that manager Mike Redmond was “embarrassed” and attempted to fight the decision.
“We were all on the call,” Redmond said Friday. “It was an organizational decision. I’m going to leave it at that.”
The move was controversial because Nolasco was preparing to start the day game and then had to gear down to pitch six hours later than expected.
The Palm Beach Post had reported that someone high up in the organization — who wasn’t with the team in Minnesota — made the decision.
“I was informed of the decision by the baseball department. I told them it was their call,” Loria told Fox Sports.com. “I don’t make decisions on who to pitch and when, how to go about it. That’s not my role.
“Sometimes they call me and tell me what they’re doing. But I don’t call them up and say, ‘This is what is going to happen.’ That’s not true.”
Loria said he was informed of the decision by General Manager Mike Hill, who was traveling with the team.
Fernandez was informed of the switch about 4 1/2 hours before the start of the game at 2:10 p.m. EDT.
Nolasco was not happy his routine was disrupted. He learned around 10:30 a.m. as he was headed to the lobby of the team hotel that he was not pitching until the second game. He then went back to his room.
Fernandez lost the opener 4-3 and Nolasco won for the first time this season in the nightcap, 8-5. As it turned out, it was colder at the start of the first game (38 degrees) than at the start of the second game (42 degrees). But the temperature at the end of the second game was 34 degrees.