Marlins trade for former All-Star slugger

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Marlins trade for former All-Star slugger

From Comcast SportsNet
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Ozzie Guillen knows Carlos Lee from their time together with the Chicago White Sox. Now Guillen hopes Lee can provide his typical brand of slugging on the field for the Miami Marlins, and give them some leadership off of it. The Marlins acquired Lee from the Houston Astros in a trade on Wednesday, sending a pair of minor leaguers to Houston. "It's a huge move, I think, the front office, showing people how much we want to win," Guillen said. "They show how much we care about winning this year, they showed the players that they're willing to do anything to help this ballclub." The Astros acquired third baseman Matt Dominguez and left-handed pitcher Rob Rasmussen in the deal. Marlins general manager Michael Hill said the club also received cash considerations from Houston in the deal. "We felt like it was a good time to infuse a veteran, professional, experienced bat into the lineup," Hill said. The 36-year-old Lee spent five-plus seasons with the Astros and is hitting .287 with five homers and 29 RBI this year. Houston manager Brad Mills removed Lee in the seventh inning of a 6-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday. Lee's locker was already empty by the time the clubhouse opened after the game. The right-hander gives the Marlins a veteran hitter as they try to get back into the race in the NL East. First base has been a problem for Miami this season, where regular Gaby Sanchez came into Wednesday's game hitting .194 with two homers and 16 RBIs. Sanchez hit his third homer in Wednesday's 7-6, 10-inning victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, but it wasn't enough. Hill said Sanchez had been optioned to Triple-A New Orleans. "Unfortunately, first base has not been a productive position for us, and we're looking to upgrade our offensive production at that position," Hill said. Guillen provided a more harsh assessment of Sanchez's play. "It's not easy, but that's our job," Guillen said. "I don't think he should be blaming anybody. He should blame himself. We gave Gaby a lot of opportunities. The reason they made this move (is) obvious. We've not had much production from him, and in Carlos, we hope we've got more production. People don't make moves just to make moves." Hill said Lee did not have to approve the trade because the Marlins were not listed on his limited no-trade clause. He is expected to join the team in Milwaukee on Thursday. "Still a dangerous hitter," Hill said. "He'll fit nicely in the middle of our lineup. He's a proven run producer, and we're expecting him to come in and do what he's done his entire career." That's what Guillen will be counting on, especially with runners on base. "He will bring those guys in," Guillen said. "He knows how to hit in an RBI situation."

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott's return boosts Bulls' bench

Doug McDermott wasn’t exactly hunting for his first shot, but the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game in nearly a month wasn’t the optimal situation for him to let one fly.

It wasn’t in transition where he runs to an opening behind the 3-point line, nor was it a drive-and-kick situation where the help defense collapsed and left him open. It was a regular, simple, pass to the perimeter and McDermott’s defender was in reasonable proximity with 3:23 left in the first quarter.

He launched and the crowd soon roared its approval as his sweet jumper was sorely missed by the Bulls bench brigade—and moments later when he ran the floor for a fearless layup that caused Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout, McDermott showed he missed the United Center crowd too, calling for more noise on his way to the bench.

“Anytime you have a guy like Doug, he comes back and makes his first 3, that’s hard to do,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He stepped up with confidence on that first shot. I’m sure he had a lot of nerves getting back out there.”

Missing 12 games and suffering two concussions, McDermott looked right at home in 25 minutes of run Thursday as the Bulls were able to rely on their reserves in some form in their 95-91 win over the previously perfect road warriors known as the Spurs.

“We defended and kept them off the foul line,” McDermott said. “Coach (Jim) Boylen was with them, so we feel we know them and I think all this time they were missing my defense.”

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The last statement was certainly tongue-in-cheek, but the Bulls’ bench production was certainly missing in action while he was out with the concussion protocol. So much so that his return prompted the Bulls’ coaching staff to call out the reserves in the morning shootaround, demanding more.

“It’s definitely Dwyane (Wade) and Jimmy (Butler) and (Rajon) Rondo (but) the coaching staff kinda called out our bench like, we gotta have you tonight, bench,” McDermott said. “We took that to heart, we were really locked in.”

Seemingly his presence aided the Bulls’ spirits and production, as the Bulls’ bench had the least effective scoring bench in the NBA since Nov. 13, the day after McDermott hit the unforgiving floor against the Wizards for his second concussion this season.

Their net rating ranks ahead of only the Wizards, Mavericks and Nets, who are a combined 17-45 this season. Their effective field goal percentage, which takes into account 3-pointers, is worst in the league in that span (42.3 percent).

When McDermott was healthy for that smaller sample size, the Bulls’ bench ranked fifth in offensive efficiency, seventh in net rating, and fifth in efficient field goal percentage. Whether McDermott – and his absence – was directly related to those numbers, it’s clear the Bulls are better when they have their best reserve – and only true floor spacers on the second unit – on the court.

“We’re all professionals and we want to help the guys who are busting their butts in the first unit to get us the leads,” McDermott said. “Tonight we did a great job of sustaining it. We take it personal when teams come back on us.”

[MORE: Pau Gasol relishes consistency with Spurs he couldn't find with Bulls]

Nikola Mirotic was four of eight from the field, and Cristiano Felicio seems to be back in Fred Hoiberg’s good graces as he’s carved out a rotation spot for himself with nine points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes.

It seems as if Hoiberg will stick with this rotation of players, at least for a little while until Michael Carter-Williams returns from his injuries. If McDermott is the mark of the Bulls’ bench going from bottom feeder to adequate, it should show this month.

“When he’s out there on the floor and we get him coming off screens, it forces the defense to shift as another person they need to be aware of,” Hoiberg said. “It opens up driving lanes for our guys. It was great to have Doug back with us.”

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

Morning Update: Bulls beat Spurs in Pau Gasol's return to Chicago

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