PHILADELPHIA -- As we sit here awaiting the start of a day/night doubleheader.....
Manager Edwin Rodriguez is presently reading "177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class" and passing along a few of the pointers to Marlins players, who are suffering through a horrid losing slump -- one of the worst in franchise history.
Rodriguez said he's looking for "some tips to relax the players through tough times, something that I should say, certain words that I should be using to get them going."
If that fails to work, Rodriguez joked that he might bring in the Dalai Lama to address the players.
Rodriguez said he senses that the absence of Josh Johnson is now taking its toll on the rest of the players. When Johnson was first placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, the thought was he would return in two weeks. Now, with Johnson being transferred to the 60-day DL, it will be at least two months.
"It's hard to take because he's the ace of the rotation," Rodriguez said. "I think the players are feeling that way. First it was two weeks and pretty much everybody was 'Okay, two weeks, maybe we can handle that as a team.' But now it's getting longer and I can see the players feeling that loss."
The earliest date that Johnson can return is July 16 in Chicago. Rodriguez said Johnson is gradually "improving" and should be ready to go the moment he's eligible to come off the DL. But nobody knows for certain.
"He's moving in the right direction," Rodriguez said.
While Hanley Ramirez has returned from the DL, he's not yet 100 percent. As a result, Rodriguez said team doctors have advised that the shortstop not play day games following night games. Ramirez is not in the lineup for the first game of today's day/night doubleheader, and won't be in the lineup on Thursday when they conclude the series here with another day game. Rodriguez said
"I think it's a doctor recommendation, so we have to follow it," Rodriguez said.
Ramirez went 0 for 4 and struck out twice in his first game back on Tuesday.
On Chris Volstad and Javier Vazquez, who own the two highest ERAs (6.07 and 7.09, respectively) among starting pitchers in the majors, Rodriguez said: "Hopefully these guys can turn it around and the worst is already over for them."
Marlins: 1. Chris Coghlan, cf; 2. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 3. Logan Morrison, lf; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Mike Stanton, rf; 6. Greg Dobbs, 3b; 7. Omar Infante, 2b; 8. Brett Hayes, c; 9. Elih Villanueva, p.
Phillies: 1. Jimmy Rollins, ss; 2. Shane Victorino, cf; 3. Chase Utley, 2b; 4. Ryan Howard, 1b; 5. Domonic Brown, rf; 6. Ben Francisco, lf; 7. Wilson Valdez, 3b; 8. Dane Sardinha, c; 9. Kyle Kendrick, p.