PITTSBURGH -- Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez was only eight years old when he first met Pirates Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. Rodriguez said he still remembers how thrilled he was when he got a chance to shake Clemente's hand at a baseball camp for Little Leaguers in his native Puerto RIco.
Inside, Rodriguez, third base coach Joe Espada and bullpen coach Reid Cornelius got a peek at several priceless Clemente artifacts -- from the contract he signed with the Pirates in 1967 to personal letters he wrote and the last jersey he wore when he played for the baseball team in San Juan.
"There were so many wonderful things in there, I couldn't pick just one," Rodriguez said. "I saw a lot of pictures with old players, players I know. In fact, there was one with Clemente and a bunch of little kids at a camp in Puerto Rico. I was looking to see if I was in there. I didn't see myself. But It was amazing. It was a great experience."
The museum, located about a 10 minute drive from PNC Park, often draws famous MLB visitors. Rodriguez said he museum curator Duane Reider told him Jorge Posada and several Yankees players including Alex Rodriguez visited it recently.
For more info on the museum, check out clementemuseum.com
> There was a 13-game stretch this season when Josh Johnson almost seemed super human. From May 13 to July 22, the two-time All-Star gave up one run or less in 12 starts of his 13 starts. His ERA was a miniscule 0.79 during the stretch.
After four up and down starts (0-2, 5.92 ERA) -- including his ugliest of the season when he lasted only 3 2/3 innings and gave up season-highs of 10 hits and six earned runs in a loss to the Reds last Friday --Johnson said Tuesday he's ready to get back on track. Wednesday, he'll try to pick up his first win in more than a month (July 17) when he starts opposite Pirates right-hander Ross Ohlendorf (1-9, 3.95 ERA).
Is Johnson frustrated? Not in the least. "You just have to know it's bound to happen," Johnson (10-5, 2.27 ERA) said of his recent struggles. "I think you look back at history -- and except maybe Bob Gibson and his 1.12 ERA -- guys have had bad starts. You're going to give up runs, it's going to happen. You just have to know that next time out, you want to get better."
> Chris Volstad has never confused himself with somebody who has a quick move to first. Picking off base runners has just never been his thing.
But in Monday night's 7-1 loss to the Pirates, Volstad finally caught somebody when he nailed Pirates rookie shortstop Argenis Diaz leading off first base in the fifth inning.
"With one out and the pitcher up, I knew it was a sacrifice situation," Volstad said. "As I came set, [pitcher James] McDonald was getting in the box. I looked over and saw [Diaz] getting his lead. I didn't even get a sign. I just picked him off right then."
Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said he thought Gaby Sachez deserved a little credit too.
Volstad said he thought it was the first pickoff of his career. Marlins pitchers aren't known for their quick deliver to the plate or quick moves to first. "Gaby saw that Diaz was taking a very aggressive lead," Rodriguez said. "He kind of made eye contact with Volstad. It was nice to see a heads up play from both of them."
According to Stats.com, Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco each have two pickoffs this season to lead the team. Baseball's leader is White Sox lefty Mark Buerhle with 10. The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, Padres' Wade LeBlanc and Royals' Bruce Chen are next with the seven each.