Jack McKeon wasted no time sending a message to his team on the first day as interim manager. He benched starting shortstop Hanley Ramirez for the team's game against the Angels Monday night.
The reason? Ramirez showed up to the clubhouse late on Monday afternoon, missing a 3:30 pm team meeting called by McKeon, according to the Palm Beach Post.
The Los Angeles Angels beat the Marlins 2-1.
McKeon was coy when asked about the lineup, telling reporters before the game he scratched Ramirez from the lineup because of the way he "ran the bases" in Sunday's loss to Tampa Bay.
When asked if Hanley was injured, McKeon said, "I don't know." He added, "Just give him a day. I just want to see if we can do something -- do something different."
Ramirez was equally opaque, telling the media before the game he didn't know why he was not in the lineup.
Regardless, McKeon sent a clear message: it's his team now, and even the highest paid player on the team has to fall in line.
Last time Ramirez openly feuded with a manager, team owner Jeffrey Loria ended up firing that manager, Fredi Gonzalez. Though Loria never publicly took sides in Ramirez and Gonzalez' conflict, it was pretty clear he found the star hitter more important than the manager.
But that might not be the case with McKeon at the helm. If there is one manager who has Loria's backing, it is Trader Jack.
That might not matter in the long run, since McKeon might not stick around after 2011 anyway.
Regardless, the Miami Herald reports this is the kind of move that will endear McKeon to the rest of the team.
Gaby Sanchez told the Herald before the game he thinks McKeon's no-nonsense approach is "going to be good for us."
David Hill is a Miami native and cofounder of Marlins Diehards, the only Florida Marlins blog with perspective on the eccentricities of Marlins fandom.