« May 2012 | Main | July 2012 »

50 posts from June 2012

June 11, 2012

Struggling Infante given a 'mental day off'

With the Marlins still struggling at the plate, Ozzie Guillen continues to try and push the right buttons to turn things around.

image from http://featherfiles.aviary.com/2012-06-11/f77694d11/5a19808ffd92437ba34b7eb3ae9c949f_hires.png
Omar Infante has seen his average dip from .340 to .296 over the past two weeks

Tonight against the Red Sox he's giving second baseman Omar Infante the night off. Infante, who has been one of the Marlins most consistent hitters all season, has seen his batting average dip more than 40 points in the last two weeks as he's produced just 11 hits in his last 59 at-bats (.186) without an RBI.

"He needed it," Guillen said. "He's mentally tired. He's been playing everyday. Hopefully with a couple days he'll get back on track."

If Guillen could he'd probably do the same for a few other guys, too. The Marlins have been absolutely putrid at the plate with runners in scoring position on this 0-6 home stand -- going just 5 for 50 in those situations.

"Our hitting is not helping us at all," Guillen said. 

"When we were playing well, that's what we [were] doing. We got the big hits. Everytime they scored one, we scored two, came back. Last couple games, last couple weeks, we're not doing that. I think we have to get better at-bats with runners in scoring position and not try to do too much. I think the players, the hitters, every time they see runners in scoring position they try to do too much, change what they're supposed to do. They have to stick with it. Use the same approach at the plate."

Guillen lamented the run the Marlins cost themselves in the sixth inning Sunday when Justin Ruggiano, who started the inning with a pinch-hit double, was thrown out at home for just the second out of the inning. Ruggiano said Monday he was supposed to run on contact, but hesitated when Infante's ground ball went right by him and directly to third baseman Sean Rodriguez.

"James Shields has a great pickoff move to third -- one I saw with my own eyes when I was in Tampa -- so I wasn't taking a big lead," Ruggiano said. "But it's still my fault. If I had run as soon as he hit it, I would have forced [Rodriguez] to make a perfect throw home to get me."

> Although they still lead all of baseball by a wide margin in stolen bases, the Marlins haven't been very aggressive on the bases in June. Miami, which stole 40 bases in May, has just two steals this month and has been caught stealing twice. Guillen said there is an easy explanation for that.

"To steal second you have to get first. You cannot steal first," he said. "Besides that, the opportunity is not there. Most of the times we get on base, we're down by four, five runs and the game is not on the line. I think that's the biggest reason. I think as soon as we start getting more people on base you'll see more people running."

> Don't expect to see pitcher Carlos Zambrano putting on any shows during batting practice anymore. Guillen said he's cutting that out after Zambrano left his last start on Saturday with lower back stiffness.

"We're cutting down his swings," Guillen said. "Everytime I see him swing he wants to hit the ball all the way to the Toyota sign [in the upper deck in right field at Marlins Park]. He's done with that. Now, he's just going to bunt, bunt and bunt. No more home run derby."

Guillen said Zambrano's hitting isn't necessarily the reason the 31-year old right-hander is having back pain, but called it something the Marlins "can control."

"Carlos puts on a show when he hits," Guillen said. "We have to control that. I'm not going to say he's not going to hit. But you don't win games in batting practice."

Guillen expects Zambrano will make his next scheduled start Friday in Tampa Bay.

> Red Sox (29-31): 1. Scott Podsednik LF, 2. Dustin Pedroia 2B, 3. Adrian Gonzalez RF, 4. David Ortiz 1B, 5. Jarrod Saltalamacchia C, 6. Kevin Youkilis 3B, 7. Ryan Sweeney CF, 8. Mike Aviles SS, 9. Josh Beckett P.
> Marlins (31-29): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Donovan Solano 2B, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Logan Morrison LF, 6. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 7. Chris Coghlan CF, 8. John Buck C, 9. Josh Johnson P.

June 10, 2012

Josh Johnson looking forward to Monday night start versus Marlins 'post-season legend' Josh Beckett

Monday night's series opener between the Marlins and Red Sox doesn't have a catchy slogan yet.

Josh Johnson
Marlins Opening Day starter Josh Johnson, coming off his best start of the season, will face Marlins World Series hero Josh Beckett on Monday night.

But if it did an easy choice would be the Battle of the Josh's -- as in former Marlins ace Josh Beckett versus current Marlins ace Josh Johnson.

"It's pretty cool," Johnson said of the scheduled match up. "He's a post-season legend almost."

Beckett, 32, wasn't almost a post-season legend for the Marlins. He is a legend. 

He was the World Series MVP in 2003 and almost single-handedly beat the Yankees in the Fall Classic, tossing a complete game shutout on three days rest in the Game 6 clincher at Yankee Stadium. Before that, he helped the Marlins rally from a 3-1 deficit against the Cubs, tossing a complete-game shutout in Game 5 of the NLCS and then four solid innings of relief in a Game 7 victory.

By the time Johnson first got called up to the big leagues in September 2005, Beckett was wrapping up his five-year run with the Marlins. Shortly after the 2005 season ended, the Marlins traded Beckett to the Red Sox along with Mike Lowell for Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez. But before Beckett was traded Johnson did get to spend some time with him on the field.

"He was pretty much the veteran guy here," Johnson said. "So I pretty much followed him around to see what he was doing and did that."

Beckett has never faced the Marlins in the regular season since being traded to Boston. He's gone 88-53 with a combined 4.04 ERA, 1,065 strikeouts and 316 walks and been selected to the All-Star team three times since being acquired by the Red Sox. He was the ALCS MVP in 2007 and has won two more World Series rings with Boston.

Josh Beckett
A fathead sticker of World Series MVP Josh Beckett on this Sports Illustrated cover can be found in the hallway of the press level at Marlins Park.
Johnson is looking forward to a big crowd for the game.

"It should be fun," Johnson said. "That's what we want. The more people the better even if some are Boston fans. Quite a few of them are going to be. That's alright as long as we get a lot of people here. The atmosphere is going to be good."

Johnson (3-4, 4.56 ERA) is coming off his best start of the season when he went a season-high 7 2/3 innings in a 2-1 loss to the Braves. He's 3-1 with a 4.04 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 13 walks since May began. The Marlins are 6-1 in those starts.

"You never really have it figured out. But you can take steps in the right direction," Johnson said. "Last bullpen was good again. Hopefully, I'll just continue that and take it into the next start."

Recalled Gaby Sanchez on his trip down to the minors: "I figured out a couple little things"

After being sent to the minors three weeks ago to try and solve his woes at the plate, first baseman Gaby Sanchez was recalled to the big leagues on Sunday morning and reinserted into the Marlins starting lineup.

Gaby Sanchez
First baseman Gaby Sanchez has hit just .215 with 7 HRs and 39 RBI in the 104 games he's played in since making the All-Star team.

Sanchez, who hit just .197 with 1 home run and 11 RBI in 122 at-bats to start the season before being demoted on May 19th, hit .310 with three homers and 10 RBI in 19 games for Triple A New Orleans.

"I'm just here to play baseball," said Sanchez, who earned a trip to the All-Star Game last season after getting off to a hot first half (.293, 13 HRs, 50 RBI).

"I figured out a couple little things. Nothing too major. It was just going down there and playing, getting repetition. It was just playing really."

Sanchez said he wasn't shocked the Marlins sent him down after getting off to a slow start. In the 104 games he's played since the All-Star Game, Sanchez has hit just .215 (76 hits in 353 at-bats) with seven homers and 39 RBI.

"Knowing I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing and wasn't producing and knowing they weren't happy with what I was doing you know there is always that possibility of being sent down," Sanchez said.

"It's not what you've done in the past or have done, it's what you're doing right now to help the team out. As ballplayers we know that. It's something you can't get mad about because you're trying to help the ballclub win. If it's you getting sent down, then that's what it is."

Asked if he had figured out what was troubling him at the plate and led to him getting sent down, Sanchez responded: "I wasn't getting hits. That's all it basically is. I just wasn't getting any hits."

"You can always go back and start at looking at things always and see things," he continued. "Even when you are doing good there are things you aren't doing perfectly. That's baseball. You're going to get hits. Balls are going to fall and balls aren't going to fall. Balls weren't falling for me. I wasn't getting hits and I went down there kind of cleared my mind up and did what I needed to do."

Logan Morrison, who filled in for Sanchez at first base when he was sent down, has returned to left field. 


> Marlins (31-28): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Omar Infante 2B, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Logan Morrison LF, 6. Gaby Sanchez 1B, 7. Chris Coghlan CF, 8. Brett Hayes C, 9. Anibal Sanchez P.

June 09, 2012

Guillen doesn't think Zambrano will miss a start, but bothered he wasn't honest about pain; plus Murphy designated

Carlos Zambrano's stiff lower back may have cost him in Saturday night's start, but it doesn't appear as thought it will force him to miss any time according to manager Ozzie Guillen.

"Carlos had a stiff back. He couldn't get it loose. That's what I heard from the training staff," Guillen said. "I don't think he'll miss a start."

Guillen was more disappointed that Zambrano just wasn't more honest about the pain he was experiencing so he could take him out of the game. Guillen said Zambrano told him twice he was okay when he went out to the mound in the third inning.

"It was a very tough situation because I wish my players trusted me more," Guillen said. "I can appreciate what Carlos did. He wants to pitch. He wants to stick up for us. He didn't want me to use the bullpen. We appreciate that. But meanwhile, I wish he could be more honest. I'd rather lose a game than lose a player and really lose him for no reason."

Afterward, Zambrano was a bit remorseful, admitting he came in with a stiff back and was simply trying to tough it out.

"During the game it was aggravated to the point I couldn't pitch anymore," Zambrano said. "I think it was too late. I should have said something before I faced [Ben] Zobrist. I learned something today. I learned it's not about being a hero. It's about being smart. Even if you've been in the big leagues for 11 years you learn something everyday."

> The Marlins announced after the game they were designated Donnie Murphy for assignment. Murphy was hitting .133 -- 6 for 45 -- with two homers and five RBI as a reserve.

Zambrano knocked out early vs. Rays, leaves with stiffness in his lower back

Carlos Zambrano endured his shortest and roughest outing of the season Saturday night against the Rays.

But that wasn't the worst of the news.

Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano was knocked out of Saturday's game after just 2 1/3 innings with lower back stiffness.

The 30-year old right-hander walked off the mound accompanied by Marlins trainer Mike Kozak and was diagnosed with lower back stiffness. He gave up seven earned runs and five hits in 2 1/3 innings.

After needing just seven pitches to get through the first inning, Zambrano threw 36 pitches in the second as he struggled with control. The Rays batted around and scored five runs.

Although he struggled, there weren't any signs something might be physically wrong with Zambrano until he walked Carlos Pena with one out in the third.

Moments after walking Pena, third baseman Hanley Ramirez and catcher John Buck jogged over to the mound. Kozak, pitching coach Randy St. Claire and manager Ozzie Guillen quickly followed along with plate umpire Brian O'Nora

After a short meeting, Zambrano remained in the game and threw five pitches to Ben Zobrist before the switch hitting second baseman crushed an 86-mile per hour fastball into the upper deck in right field for a two-run home run. 

After that, Ramirez and Buck returned to the mound and waved Guillen onto the field to come take out Zambrano.

Even with his rough start Saturday, Zambrano has pitched well for the Marlins since being acquired in a trade for Chris Volstad this past winter.

He went 7 2/3 innings in his previous start Sunday in Philadelphia and hit a home run. He was 4-3 coming into Saturday. His ERA -- counting Saturday's start -- is 3.55. 

LoMo says struggles at the plate are mental and mechanical

After being given two days off to relax and find his rhythm at the plate, slumping first baseman Logan Morrison is expected to be back in the Marlins lineup Sunday against the Rays.

Logan Morrison
Marlins first baseman Logan Morrison is hitting just .164 since the start of May.

And the hope is he'll be the guy who hit .310 with two homers and eight RBI in April. Not the Morrison who has hit just .164 (18 for 110) with two home runs and seven RBI since then. 

"I'm just trying to go back to what made me successful, what got me here -- like going the other way, trying to have quality at-bats," said Morrison, who went into Saturday's game against the Rays hitless in his last 18 at-bats.

"I'm taking [the days off] as a good thing because there's not a lot of positive and I have to find some."

Morrison said his troubles at the plate are combination of mechanical and mental issues.

"You're only as good as the pitch you swing at," said Morrison, whose .214 batting average ranks fifth lowest among qualified everyday position players in the National League.

"So I have to do a better job swinging at strikes and letting the ball the travel, staying behind the ball. I think that's the biggest thing. It's just staying behind it. I hit the ball pretty well to right field twice the other day. But I wasn't behind it so it didn't go anywhere. As long as I can stay behind the ball I'll be alright."

Even if Morrison does turn it around, it might not be long before former first baseman Gaby Sanchez gets called back up. Sent down to the minors on May 20, Sanchez went into Saturday's game in Oklahoma City hitting .310 with three homers, 10 RBI and a .494 on base percentage for Triple A New Orleans. He went 4-for-4 with a home run and four RBI on Friday.

"We need this kid," manager Ozzie Guillen said of Morrison. "I did to him like I did to anybody else when they struggle. Hopefully, mentally, I helped him. Hopefully, when he's back in the lineup he's back in charge. We're a better team when he's in the lineup."


Reliever Edward Mujica, known for his fun-natured hijinks in the Marlins bullpen, has a new hobby that's keeping his teammates laughing between innings.

Call it imaginary sword fighting.

"He takes this dowel, ties a rope around it and he'll pretend like he's fighting some one," reliever Steve Cishek said. "I guess he found out I took fencing in college [at Carson Newman] and thought it was kind of cool. So, we looked up some equipment and ordered it."

The equipment -- a pair of swords and masks -- arrived in the Marlins clubhouse earlier this week. They can be found just above Mujica's locker with a Marlins logo attached.

"Just Mujica being Mujica," Cishek said.

> Asked about his impressions of Bryce Harper a week after seeing him, Guillen had nothing but praise for the 19-year-old Nationals’ outfielder.

“The kid got a good chance to be a great player,” Guillen said. “I don’t know why we don’t like players like that when they come to the league. This kid plays his [butt] off. This kid plays the game right. This kid has a lot of talent. Some rookies come here like a big shot, big ego, don’t run the bases. I’m the man. This kid do everything the opposite. He runs. He plays hard. He feels proud. He gets upset. Don’t hate the player."

Harper went 2-for-12 with a triple and two strikeouts last week when the Marlins got their first regular season taste of him.

> A charity softball game featuring the wives and sisters of Marlins and Rays players was played shortly before Saturday's game. The Rays won 14-2. 


> Rays (33-25): 1. Will Rhymes 3B, 2. Desmond Jennings LF, 3. Matt Joyce RF, 4. B.J. Upton CF, 5. Carlos Pena 1B, 6. Ben Zobrist 2B, 7. Elliot Johnson SS, 8. Jose Molina C, 9. Matt Moore LHP.

> Marlins (31-27): 1. Jose Reyes SS, 2. Omar Infante 2B, 3. Hanley Ramirez 3B, 4. Giancarlo Stanton RF, 5. Justin Ruggiano CF, 6. Austin Kearns 1B, 7. Donovan Solano LF, 8. John Buck C, 9. Carlos Zambrano RHP.

June 08, 2012

MAKE IT FOUR: #Marlins Lose Fourth Straight, Drop 5-1 Decision to Visiting Rays ... Fish Strand 13; 24 in Past Two Losses

4BY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Putting runners on base hasn't been too big of a problem for the Marlins the past two nights.

Bringing those guys home, however, has been.

The Marlins once again left a small army on the basepaths Friday night, stranding 13 in a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay in an interleague game at Marlins Park.

The loss was Miami's fourth straight as the Marlins have stranded 24 in the past two losses and have gone 1-for-28 with runners in scoring position during their four-game slide. Miami is 0-4 on this current homestand, outscored 26-4.

The Marlins haven't won since clinching the three-game series Sunday in Philadelphia and are 2-2 in interleague play this year. Miami won two of three in Cleveland last month.

Last year, the Marlins went 5-23 in June to knock themselves out of the playoff hunt. Miami is 2-5 so far this June.

Ricky Nolasco started Friday's game and gave Miami a solid performance, pitching six innings before being replaced by pinch hitter Donnie Murphy to lead off the sixth.

Miami trailed 3-1 at the time Nolasco left with the Rays opening things up with two runs in the seventh off reliever Ryan Webb.

The Rays didn't hit Nolasco too hard. With two outs in the third, Matt Joyce dropped a flare into left for a double then scored on a single from B.J. Upton. Jose Lobaton, who doubled twice off Nolasco, scored Tampa Bay's second run on Will Rhymes two-out infield single after Omar Infante made a nice diving stop but his throw pulled Greg Dobbs off first in the fourth.

Tampa Bay made it 3-1 in the fifth when Joyce led off the inning by depositing a 2-2 pitch into the visiting bullpen just beyond the right field fence.

Nolasco has now lost four of his past six starts.

Nolasco has also lost his past four starts to the Rays and is 2-4 against them in his career.

On Friday, he went six innings giving up three runs off six hits, striking out six and walking four.

The Marlins had opportunities themselves and tied it soon after the Rays took the initial lead in the third.

Infante led off the bottom of the inning with a double with Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton walking to load the bases with no outs against starter Jeremy Hellickson.

Miami made it 1-1 when Infante raced home on a sacrifice fly from Dobbs to center but failed to do any more damage as Austin Kearns and Chris Coghlan both grounded out.

The Marlins had runners in scoring position in the first six innings but only got one run.

Stanton had bases loaded with two outs in the fourth and flew out to center; with two on and one out in the fifth, catcher John Buck grounded into a double-play started by shortstop Sean Rodriguez.

With Jose Reyes at second after doubling with one out in the sixth, Infante grounded out and Ramirez watched a called strike three against former Marlins reliever Burke Badenhop to end that threat.

Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings led off what would be a long top of the seventh by doubling off the wall in front of the Clevelander. Webb then walked Joyce before Upton struck out looking on a pitch that looked a touch low.

Webb wouldn't get that lucky again as Ben Zobrist singled in Jennings with Carlos Pena driving in Joyce to make it 5-1.

Sandy Rosario, called up from Triple A New Orleans, made his season debut when he replaced Webb after Pena's single in the seventh in relief of Webb.

Rosario came into the game with a total of four major league innings pitched over the previous two seasons with the Marlins and got Lobaton to ground into a double play to end things. Rosario also pitched a strong eighth, getting a strikeout and two ground ball outs.

() Friday was the two year anniversary of Stanton making his major league debut. The 22-year-old slugger has the fifth-most home runs among active players prior to his 23rd birthday with 70. Miami native Alex Rodriguez is the all-time leader (95).

() Logan Morrison, whom manager Ozzie Guillen said was taking a few days off, pinch hit with one out in the eighth and struck out.

() Closer Heath Bell worked the ninth despite it not being a save situation. Bell hadn't pitched since closing out the Phillies on Sunday.

MARLINS NOTEBOOK GAME 1 V. RAYS: LoMo Getting a Break, Kearns Back off DL

MarlinsfishtankBY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said Friday that he was giving slumping first baseman Logan Morrison a few days off to get himself right – not long after saying there were seven players who were in the conversation for demotion to the minors.

It didn't sound like Guillen meant Morrison was one of those players.

“He needs to relax, work on things in the cage and in batting practice to see if he can get better,'' Guillen said. “He needs to get back to where he was. This is not a punishment, nothing like that. He needs a break mentally. He'll be playing soon. We cannot win without him hitting well. He's hitting fifth and we need him to be better. This isn't a message.''

After Thursday's loss to the Braves – a series sweep in which Miami was outscored 21-3 – the Marlins brought outfielder Austin Kearns off the disabled list (hamstring) and sent Bryan Petersen to Triple-A New Orleans.

Guillen didn't immediately meet with the media after Thursday's game as he said he was in a meeting to determine who went down. Petersen ended up being the guy, although Guillen said it could have been a number of players who got the demotion.

“It's tough for Petersen because it could be any other players,'' Guillen said before the Marlins opened a three-game set with Tampa Bay at Marlins Stadium on Friday.

“There were like seven names involved in the meeting and we had to pick one. Unfortunately it was Petersen. I think the team is better where we are right now. The front office is working very hard, looking for players not playing well to ship them out. It's a warning. The meeting was 45 minutes for one player. That means there were a few players involved. They better step it up. If they don't know, they need to be aware. They need to look in the mirror and say 'why Petersen and not me'?''

Morrison, who spent time at New Orleans last season, was hitting .250 when he was pulled in from the outfield to replace the demoted Gaby Sanchez at first on May 20. Morrison hasn't had an easy go of it lately, getting just two hits in 24 at bats this month as his average has dropped to .216.

Greg Dobbs replaced Morrison at first on Friday and batted fifth behind Giancarlo Stanton. Miami went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position – leaving 11 stranded – on Thursday as Morrison went 0-for-2 in that situation.

“Every time we lose a game, that's why,'' Guillen said. “We're not getting the big hits. We're not. That's hurt us almost all year long. We have guys on and we can't drive them in. Is it a concern? No. We have to be better.''

-- The Marlins also sent left-handed reliever Dan Jennings to New Orleans and brought up Sandy Rosario from the Zephyrs.

Jennings pitched the ninth inning Thursday, giving up a three-run homer to Michael Bourn with two outs.

“I this this kid should be in the minors to prepare himself for a major league career,'' Guillen said of Jennings, who pitched two innings against the Braves this week. “I think he was excited, but it wasn't proper to bring him up to the big leagues. I'm not saying he wasn't ready, but it was too quick. He should be down there developing.''

-- Guillen, who spent the final season of his 16-year career with the Tampa Bay 'Devil' Rays in 2000, said Rays manager Joe Maddon is one he most respects in the game.

Maddon has helped transform the Rays from cellar dweller to contender, leading Tampa Bay to the playoffs in three of the past four seasons with a trip to the World Series in 2008.

“He's done a lot of good things for his ball club and especially his city,'' Guillen said. “Everything he does seems to work. He's been winning all these years because he's a very smart baseball man. His players respect him, love to play for him.''

-- Saturday night's game will start at 7:15 p.m. and will be broadcast locally on WSVN-7 as Fox Sports will broadcast both Miami-Tampa Bay Saturday night games this season.

The second game will be next week at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

COMING UP --Saturday: Tampa Bay Rays LHP Matt Moore (2-5, 4.45) at Miami Marlins RHP Carlos Zambrano (4-3, 2.81), 7:15 p.m., Marlins Park

--Sunday: Rays RHP James Shields (6-4, 4.27) at Marlins RHP Anibal Sanchez (3-4, 3.19), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park

--Scouting report: Zambrano is coming off a strong performance as he gave up one run on four hits in a win at Philadelphia on Sunday. Miami has won six of Zambrano's past seven starts this season. Zambrano has only faced Tampa Bay once, losing in St. Petersburg in 2008.

June 06, 2012

Kearns, set to return from DL, gets plunked in elbow in Jupiter; plus encouraging signs from JJ

The Marlins 2-1 loss to the Braves wasn't the only bad news from Wednesday night.

Over in Jupiter, Marlins outfielder Austin Kearns sustained a setback in his return from the disabled list when he was plunked on the elbow during an at-bat according to manager Ozzie Guillen.

Kearns, who was set to come off the disabled list Thursday after a tight right hamstring shelved him back on May 23rd, was hit by Brevard County starter Andy Moye in the bottom of the third inning and left the game after just two plate appearances.

"Tomorrow he'll be here, but we've got to see how bad it is," Guillen said of Kearns' condition.

Kearns joined the Hammerheads on a rehab stint Monday. He went 1-for-3 for Jupiter on Monday, and was 0-for-2 with an RBI and a walk Tuesday night. Kearns was batting .375 with three homers in 22 games for the Marlins before being hurt.


As Guillen pointed out if there was a positive from Wednesday's loss it was what Josh Johnson did on the mound -- going the deepest he's gone in a game since August 2010.

Guillen said Johnson's velocity was "way better. His breaking ball was pretty good and his command was a lot, lot better. He got out of trouble right away."

Johnson, who threw a season-high 113 pitches and struckout nine, agreed it was his best start of the season.M.p>

"It's being able to repeat my delivery," Johnson said of what felt better. "[Before I] got there, threw hard and didn't know where it was going. Now, I'm getting to the point where I make that same delivery every time and I know where the ball is going."

Marlins wrap up draft by loading up on pitchers, take local closer Dane Stone out of St. Thomas University

The Major League Baseball Draft concluded Wednesday and the Marlins wrapped rounds 16 through 40 by loading up on pitchers. They took 14 in all including one from their own backyard in St. Thomas University closer Dane Stone.

The right-hander, who attended Miami Southridge High, earned NAIA First Team All-American honors after finishing this past season 5-2 with a 1.38 ERA and 16 saves. 

Stone was brought to the attention of Marlins brass by Kelvin Colon, who is the Warehouse Manager in the Retail Operations department for the Marlins and was a teammate of Stone’s in 2010 on the St. Thomas pitching staff.


- Brian Ellington, RHP, 6-4, 200, University of West Florida, 16th round, 497th overall
- Garrett Keene, OF, R/R, 6-4, 190, Brookhaven Academy, MS, 17th round, 527th overall
- Patrick Merkling, LHP, 6-1, 193, Lee University (Tenn.), 18th round, 557th overall
- Cody Gunter, 3B, L/R, 6-3, 195, Flower Mound High, Texas, 19th round, 587th overall
- Jordan Hillyer, RHP, 6-2, 195, Hebron Christian Academy, Ga., 20th round, 617th overall
- Hayden Fox, LHP, 6-4, 200, Oakland University (Mich.), 21st round, 647th overall
- Robert Ravago, RHP, 6-1, 200, Arizona State, 22nd round, 677th overall
- Cameron Flynn, OF, L/R, 6-0, 185, University of Kentucky, 23rd round, 707th overall
- Matt Juengel, 3B, R/R, 6-2, 185, Texas A&M, 24th round, 737th overall
- Dane Stone, RHP, 6-7, 225, St. Thomas University, 25th round, 767th overall
- Colton Grant, RHP, 6-4, 215, Appalachian State (N.C.), 26th round, 797th overall
- Justin Jackson, RHP, 6-4, 201, Sam Houston State, 27th round, 827th overall
- Casey McCarthy, RHP, 6-4, 215, Cal State San Bernadino (Calif), 28th round, 857th overall
- Blake Barnes, RHP, 6-1, 186, Oklahoma State, 29th round, 887th overall
- David Cruz, C, 6-0, 200, No School, 30th round, 917th overall
- Lucas Hunter, SS, R/R, 5-11, 160, Central Catholic High, Ore., 31st round, 947th overall
- Ty Williams, RHP, 6-2, 195, Sulphur High, Okla., 32nd round, 977th overall
- Steven Weber, RHP, 6-7, 210, Eastern Michigan, 33rd round, 1007th overall
- Patrick Claussen, 3B, L/R, 5-11, 190, Washington State, 34th round, 1037th overall
- Chad Christensen, CF, R/R, 6-3, 190, Nebraska, 35th round, 1067th overall
- Kendall Graveman, RHP, 6-2, 185, Mississippi State, 36th round, 1097th overall
- Edward Sappelt, OF, S/R, 5-11, 175, Southern Alamance High, N.C., 37th round, 1127th overall
- Michael Smith, LHP, 6-2, 195, Cumberland Univ. (Tenn.), 38th round, 1157th overall
- Marcus Greene, C, R/R, 5-11, 195, Vista Del Lago, Calif., 39th round, 1187th overall
- Alex Polston, SS, R/R, 5-11, 175, Cal Albert High, Okla., 40th round, 1217th overall