MIAMI -- Endorsements aren't given out generously by Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who is all about rewarding performance.
So when Stanton strongly supports his teammate Casey McGehee as an All-Star candidate, the industry should take notice.
Stanton, engaged in his own push for votes to start in the All-Star Game, says McGehee is deserving of being a starter at third base in the Midsummer Classic, set for July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
"He's just as important an anchor to the lineup as I am," Stanton said. "I'm obviously in front of him [in the lineup]. If I don't get the job done, or they don't let me get the job done, he's done more than expected of him. And he's stepped up just about every time we've needed him to."
McGehee is currently not ranked among the top five leaders at third base. But entering Saturday he was leading all National League third basemen in RBIs with 40, to go along with a .303 batting average and .361 on-base percentage.
What may be hurting McGehee is the fact he had just one home run and a slugging percentage of .382. But with runners in scoring position, the Marlins third baseman was second in the Majors with a .408 batting average. Only Miguel Cabrera was higher at .417.
"He's leading all National League third basemen in RBIs, which is basically the most important thing on the offensive side," Stanton said. "It's the performance. He should be there."
Teams are routinely pitching around Stanton, and McGehee has repeatedly stepped up. In Friday's 8-6 loss to the Pirates in 13 innings, Stanton was intentionally walked with runners on the corners and two outs in the ninth inning. McGehee drew a bases-loaded walk, which forced extra innings.
"At this point, he really thrives on it," manager Mike Redmond said. "As you saw [Friday], they'll walk Stanton at any time now."
Marlins weigh options as short starts tax bullpen
MIAMI -- On June 3, Henderson Alvarez breezed to his third shutout of the season.
In just 2 hours, 10 minutes, the right-hander went the distance in the Marlins' 1-0 win over the Rays at Marlins Park.
Since then, Miami's rotation has been mired in a slump. Finding a starter to log at least six full innings has been a challenge, and the drain is taking its toll on the bullpen.
Randy Wolf is the latest Miami starter to receive a quick hook.
In Saturday's 8-6 loss to the Pirates, Wolf worked just four innings, giving up five runs on nine hits. The lefty yielded home runs to Jordy Mercer and Andrew McCutchen.
"That's the key to our success," manager Mike Redmond said. "We're not going to survive out here with four or five innings out of our pitchers. We've got to do a better job."
Redmond did not commit to saying Wolf would remain in the rotation. There has been strong speculation about calling up top prospect Andrew Heaney from Triple-A New Orleans.
But as an organization, the Marlins had Heaney skip his Thursday start to limit his innings. The plan is for Heaney to start at New Orleans on Thursday, and after that, he will be re-evaluated.
If Heaney isn't getting the call at this point, Anthony De Sclafani and Brian Flynn (the Nos. 6 and 7 Marlins prospects, respectively, according to MLB.com) are both on the 40-man roster at New Orleans.
Asked if the team was considering filtering in some new possibilities, Redmond said: "I think we're there. Our bullpen can't sustain five or six innings every night, nor can our morale. It's tough as a player sometimes when you're sitting out there and you're down, 2-0 or 3-0, in the second or third inning. It affects everything. It affects the defense. It affects our energy. We're in a rut right now. We're in a cycle. Our starting pitching isn't getting deep into games. But that can change quickly, too."
In the nine games since Alvarez shut out the Rays, Miami starters are 2-3 with a 7.09 ERA. They have allowed 35 earned runs in 47 innings, along with nine home runs and 66 hits.
On Friday night, Nathan Eovaldi was lifted after 4 2/3 innings, leaving the bullpen to handle 8 1/3 innings in what turned into a 13-inning game.
The only starter to work past six innings in the past nine games was Eovaldi, who went 7 2/3 innings at Wrigley Field against the Cubs on June 6. Even that afternoon extended to 13 innings.
"Our bullpen, we've had to use them a lot," Redmond said. "We're in a little bit of a rut with our starting pitching. We've got to get a little deeper into games, to take pressure off our bullpen."
Marlins, hard-throwing Kolek agree on deal
MIAMI -- Tyler Kolek, armed with a 100-mph fastball, is ready to bring the heat to South Florida.
The Marlins have reached an agreement with the No. 2 overall pick from this year's First-Year Player Draft. According to MLB.com's Jim Callis, the hard-throwing 18-year-old will receive a below-slot bonus of $6 million.
The slot value for the pick was $6,821,800.
Miami has aggressively pursued its picks from each of the first 10 rounds.
With Kolek, negotiations advanced quickly. The deal was basically in place a few days ago, but it has been pending completion of physicals.
The Marlins have not officially announced the signing.
Miami has also come to a deal with catcher Blake Anderson, the 36th overall pick. His deal is for $1.17 million.
Shortstop Justin Twine, the 43rd overall pick, was taken in the second round, and he will receive a bonus of $1.316 million. Second baseman Brian Anderson, a third-round selection, is signing for $600,000.
Kolek is Miami's prize pick.
Raised on a 10,000-acre ranch in Shepherd, Texas, Kolek has a fastball that has been clocked as high as 102 mph, the highest reading ever by a high school player.
• Christian Yelich (back spasms) is expected to be out at least a couple of more days. The left fielder tweaked his back while fielding Gregory Polanco's single to lead off the game on Friday. After grounding out to shortstop in the first inning, Yelich was replaced by Reed Johnson, who started on Saturday.
"I'm feeling better," Yelich said. "I'll get treatment all day."