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Brantly thrilled to be making his big league debut; Ozzie said he'll find ways to play rookie, Buck equally

Rob Brantly was five years old when his grandfather bought him his first set of catcher's gear. Brantly said he slept in it that night. 

John Paul Brantly, a former catcher in the Panamanian baseball league who passed away the same year his grandson was drafted out of high school, always told his Rob the easiest way to make it to the big leagues would be behind the plate.

Tuesday night, the 23-year old San Diego native will make his major league debut for the Marlins doing exactly that -- catching ace Josh Johnson and batting eighth in the lineup for manager Ozzie Guillen

Brantly said there is no doubt his late grandfather's voice will still be in his ear come game time.

"I always think I carry him with me," Brantly said. "I always hear his voice saying 'Hey Robby hit that ball with authority.' I'd get up there and swing and tell him, 'I hit it with authority.'"

Hitting with authority of course is something Marlins catchers haven't done this season. The combined averages of John Buck and Brett Hayes, sent down Sunday to Triple A to allow Brantly the space on the roster to move up, was a major league-worst .190. Brantly has a .280 career batting average in the minors with 16 HRs and 124 RBI in 262 games. He was a .286 hitter in Triple A this season for both the Marlins and Tigers.

Tuesday, Guillen said his plan for Brantly is to give him an opportunity to play a lot, but also not completely put Buck on the backburner.

"We're going to take a look at the kid. It's our job to make the lineup and make sure the kid has plenty of game time," Guillen said. "On the other hand, we're not going to leave John on the bench. We're going to pick a spot to play him and try to have the kid catch everyone in the rotation. But in the meanwhile, Buck also has to play games. He's not going to be a backup. We're going to figure out how to do it. It's a little bit of a headache. But I have to respect Buck. He's a veteran player and I respect that. We're going to find out, make sure they have equal playing time and the kid has enough playing time to see what he can have."

Brantly said his parents, cousins and agent took a red-eye from Southern California to Miami on Monday to be here for his major league debut. He said his father, a former college catcher, was "hysterical" when he heard the news.

Brantly said he's received text messages from his former coaches with the Tigers and former teammate Nick Castellanos, a sandwich round pick from Archbishop McCarthy High in Broward County. Brantly said some Castellanos family were also coming to his debut.

As for who Brantly grew up admiring? Well, turns out his grandfather had an influence on that, too.

"Mickey Mantle," Brantly said. "My grandfather always had videos of hitters. He said 'You got to swing like this guy.'"

Guillen joked he'd welcome a Mantle-type bat in his lineup.

"I want the catcher to take charge. I want the catcher to be the leader on the field. I want him to have confidence. I want him to be himself," Guillen said of Brantly. "Hopefully, it works out and he'll have a long, brand new career and stay here for a long time."

Comments

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Marlin Fan

If Brantley starts to hit , forget about Buck .

Break a Leg, Buck

If Brantley wakes up every morning and makes it to the stadium, forget about Buck.

Marlin Fan

Lol lol lol

flagstafffishfan

Buck has had his shot. I got a good feeling about this kid. Maybe he's our Buster Posey. Just wanted to make a comment on last nights broadcast.

If the Marlins were smart they would have their annual auction at the beginning of the year when their is still a little hope. It was kind of sad to see Tommy with that goofy hat on and the Clevelander looking like a ghost town. I'm all for charity auctions but hit us up when we are feeling that this team might have a shot not when their in last place!

I so want Brantley to hit so Ozzie doesn't have a choice and has to play him and then to watch the FO squirm with Buck's ridiculous contract next year. We'll see.

Lou

Dear Flags, Sorry I missed Tommy in a barren Clevelander. Such is the price of no longer watching. Brantly will make you happy. Of course we just had to read about the respect for Buck and how he must play as well. So Sad!! Such a pitiful organization.

At least at the beginning of the telecast they show a panorama of the empty stadium that resembles Miami--N.C. State in October in Joe Robbie , Sun Life, Pro Player, Dolphin Stadium or that beer.

I'm watching tonight to see Brantly AND to hear if any decent questions are read.

TR Shour

There goes Ozzie again destroying the hopes of the Marlins fans. We have been waiting for the great young catching hope while putting up with Buck's horrendous season. Although Ozzie has been ordered by Beinfest and company to make Brantley the starting catcher, Ozzie states he will find a way to play Buck and make sure he is not a back-up and on the bench. I don't know, but I think Buck has earned a place on the bench. This is typical Ozzie and why I think he is maybe the worst manager in baseball.

TR Shour

Hey Ozzie, here's a great idea for you to mull over. Why don't you move Carlos Lee to centerfield and put John Buck at first base so we can keep that terrific veteran bat in the line-up.

the Jokes on Us

Marlins hit blackjack...21 scoreless innings, good one, Manny...

Dirty Harry

Marlins couldnt score in a Little Havana Whorehouse with a Fistfull of Dollars.

Marlin Fan

27 scoreless innings . It's official , Marlins suck . Please trade JJ so his talent isn't wasted any longer

bob

Ozzie can give two s**ts what the front office thinks. They order him to play Brantley first, he tells them, "Buck is my guy." They order him to take Bell out of the 9th inning, he tells them, "Bell is my guy." They order him to change ball boy in left field, he tells them, "Julio is my guy."

 Eddie S

Here's another Ozzie Special. We can't win without Heath Bell as a closer. There are a myriad of reasons why the Marlins failed so miserably but the 1 that stands out the most is BELL who ruined the Marlins chances. Blowing so many saves plus 1 game where the Marlins were down by 4 runs and lost which did not count as a blown save, Psychologically screwed up the starting pitchers mentality.
When you constantly pitch a quality start, and consistently get ruined by Bell it certainly took its toll.
Before the ALL Star Break if Bell did not bow all thoses saves the Marlins would be in the hunt for the Wild Card.
Because of Bell's mistakes the pressure was too much for the Marlin Pitchers s to come back
Each site of Bell when he comes in all the memories of Bell's screw ups come to mind and wish BELL WOULD GET TRADED .EVEN IF THE MARLINS HAVE TO EAT HIS CONTRACT -LOOK HOW MUCH MONEY THE MARLINS SAVED BY THE DODGERS EATING HANLEYS CONTRACT.
GET RID OF BELL AND BUCK , THEN THE MARLINS WOULD BE ON THEIR WAY.

Jim Lambert

Brantley will earn his place and make a difference in Miami-Managers need to make decisions based on what is in the best interest of the Marlins and not what strokes their ego.

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