MIAMI – As the news about Logan Morrison's demotion went viral, the Florida Marlins' left fielder and top Twitterer received tweets of support.
"You prob have the most followers of anyone in the minors now," wrote one fan.
Morrison, who has miffed Marlins officials with his tweeting and clubhouse candor, was nonetheless surprised and upset to be sent to Triple-A New Orleans.
"We just thought it was in the best interests of Logan to go down and concentrate on baseball and all aspects of being a major leaguer, and work his way back," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said Sunday.
Morrison, who is in his first full major-league season, has quickly developed into a fan favorite with his outgoing personality and Web wisecracks. He has 60,000 Twitter followers.
Beinfest and manager Jack McKeon declined to say what prompted the decision to send Morrison to the minors. But McKeon often talks of how young players should be seen and not heard while they earn the right to remain in the big leagues, and he's not a fan of Twitter.
"You've got to leave your distractions at the door," McKeon said. "Too many young guys come into the game today and think they've got it made. They're the darlings of the media and they want to run their mouth instead of tending to business. The record books are full of one- and two-year phenoms."
Morrison ranks second on the Marlins with 17 homers, and his 26 RBIs in July tied for most in the majors. But the former first baseman has struggled defensively in left field, and he's batting only .249 after hitting .283 in 62 games as a rookie.
"I never thought we'd see Logan hitting in the .240s," Beinfest said. "He's a much better hitter than he has showed."
Beinfest and McKeon wouldn't discuss off-the-field issues, but Morrison did clash in recent days with the team's foundation regarding two events. One was postponed, and he declined to attend the other.
Morrison and his agent, Fred Wray, said they didn't think tweeting was a reason for the demotion. But as far back as May, team president David Samson expressed reservations about Morrison's Twitter material, some of it R-rated.
"I've told Logan," Samson said then, "no one will care about his tweets if they're coming from New Orleans."
Whatever the reasons for the demotion, several players said Morrison would learn from it.
"It sends a pretty good message," said Giants outfielder Cody Ross, who played for the Marlins last year when Morrison was a rookie. "It's about baseball. It isn't about you. Logan will figure it out and learn he's got to stay quiet and stay in the corner and do his job."
Beinfest and McKeon said they were confident Morrison would earn his way back to the Marlins. That's now the focus for the young outfielder, Wray said.
"He's going to keep his mouth shut and go about his business," Wray said. "The keeping-the-mouth-shut may not be typical, but he's going to accept the demotion."
Morrison tweeted this message early Sunday: "A bend in the road isnt the end of the road...unless u fail 2 make the turn."
For the next 15 hours after that, his Twitter account was silent.