March 24, 2010

Stanton heads down, but leaves impression

FORT MYERS -- The Marlins sent ultra-talented 20-year old outfielder Mike Stanton back down to Double A Jacksonville Wednesday. But the question isn't why the organization's top prospect is heading back to the minors. Rather, it's how long will Marlins fans have to wait to see him in the bigs.

If you go off manager Fredi Gonzalez's remarks from this morning, it might not be very long at all. 

Mike Stanton "We sent him down, but he'll let us know when he's ready," Gonzalez said Wednesday before his team began warming up to take on the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium. "It's just a matter of him getting some at-bats and putting up some numbers or decapitating somebody down there. Maybe the league president will say get this guy out of here before he hurts somebody."

Stanton hurt a few big league pitchers in his second spring with the big league club. In 24 at-bats, he showed the raw power that made him Baseball American's third best prospect in the game, slugging three home runs and driving in eight RBI while hitting .333 in seven games played. He also made an impression on Gonzalez with his defense and his work ethic.

"Big strides," Gonzalez said comparing Stanton's first spring to this spring performance. "This guy has great recognition of the strike zone. He's gotten so much better in the outfield from last year. It's just a matter now of getting some at-bats, more game time, more experience because he is close to being a major leaguer, real close."

> BAKER IN NEED OF AT-BATS: Catcher John Baker will get four much-needed at-bats this afternoon against the Twins as a designated hitter before getting a start at catcher up the road Thursday against the Red Sox. Baker, hampered by a right forearm strain for most of the spring, has only caught two games to date -- the exhibition opener against the University of Miami and a game against the Washington Nationals Saturday. A few hours after his return, he came down with a strong stomach virus late Saturday night that caused him to drop between 10 to 15 pounds and left him weak when he returned to camp Tuesday.

John Baker "My stomach feels much better today than yesterday," Baker said Wednesday. "Yesterday I was having a tough time just sitting on the bench, my stomach was bothering me.

"I'm definitely ready to feel healthy and play baseball. This spring training has sucked for me... I've been really frustrated. This is what I love to do and I haven't been able to play."

Baker estimates between simulated games and a few in the minors he's been able to put together 17 at-bats. According to his Grapefruit League stats, he's two for four. He said he'd like to play in six to seven of the Marlins final spring games so he can get to about 50 at-bats, the same number he had a year ago.

"It's more about getting your timing down," Baker said. "I spent three days a week in the offseason catching with Tim Cousins. It's not like I showed up not having played since the season ended. I feel comfortable behind the plate... And it's just all about making sure I'm ready to play nine innings. That's where I want to be, not frustrated, out on the field, playing pain free baseball that's my goal."

March 15, 2010

H2R scratched from lineup

JUPITER -- Another day, another Marlins starter suffering from a tight groin. Add shortstop Hanley Ramirez, to the list of guys battling tightness in that special area. 

Ramirez was scratched from the Marlins lineup Monday afternoon about an hour before first pitch against the Twins at Roger Dean Stadium. Marlins officials have listed Ramirez as "day-to-day."

H2R joins outfielders Cody Ross and Cameron Maybin as Marlins who have battled tight groins this spring. Ross is starting in right field Monday, his first start since the spring opener against the Miami Hurricanes. He was the designated hitter in Saturday's game against the Rays. Maybin could return by the end of the week. 

Ramirez, who took batting practice on the field Monday, was replaced in the starting lineup by Donnie Murphy. Speaking of the lineups...

> Twins (5-5): 1. Denard Span CF; 2. Nick Punto 3B; 3. Jaso Kubel RF; 4. Brock Peterson 1B; 5. Delmon Young LF; 6. Wilson Ramos C; 7. Matt Tolbert SS; 8. Alexi Casilla 2B; 9. Francisco Liriano P.
> Marlins (7-4): 1. Emilio Bonifacio CF; 2. Jorge Jimenez 3B; 3. Mike Stanton LF; 4. Dan Uggla 2B; 5. Cody Ross RF; 6. Gaby Sanchez 1B; 7. Ronny Paulino C; 8. Daniel Murphy SS; 9. Chris Volstad P.

June 29, 2009

The new and improved Hanley Ramirez

When Hanley Ramirez came to bat with runners in scoring position last season, there wasn’t a player hitting better than .300 in baseball that had less success than him. Ramirez was putrid when the pressure was on, hitting just .239 (26 for 109) when the Marlins needed a big hit.

Hanley Ramirez Now, there isn’t a hitter in baseball having more success than the 25-year old shortstop when teammates are standing on second or third. Entering Monday night’s series opener against the Nationals, Ramirez was hitting .433 with runners in scoring position (29 for 67) and 39 RBI.

His new knack for coming up with clutch hits is part of the reason why he earned NL Co-Player of the Week honors Monday. Last week, he hit two grand slams and drove in 17 runs in six games versus the Orioles and Rays. He also led the majors with 24 RBI and the NL with 25 hits in interleague play.

Not bad for a guy who had mainly hit leadoff until this season when the Marlins moved him into the cleanup role and then the No. 3 spot. So, what's been the key to the new and improved Hanley?

“His approach at the plate is a lot better hitting in that spot,” Cantu said. “Last year, he got into a little bit of trouble when he was hitting in that spot. Experience is all it is. Everyday is a learning experience. He’s learned how to work the count in those situations with runners in scoring position. It’s all about looking at more pitches when you have that runner over there.”

Said Gonzalez: “I’ve always said since the first day I was here he could be that type of player. This year from the very first day I’ve see him get better and better and better with it.”

Ramirez credits Hall of Famer Tony Perez, who usually watches the Marlins during batting practice, for some of the change in his approach.

“We always talk,” Ramirez said. “He’s helped me understand game situations better, what you have to do when you have runners on base. I’d tell you, but I can’t give away all the tricks.

“I appreciate it. Not everyone in baseball likes to help out others. He’s been doing that since the first day I got here.”

CALERO EYES D-BACKS RETURN: Right-hander Kiko Calero, one of two bullpen arms on the disabled list, thinks he will be able to rejoin the Marlins on their road trip next week.

Calero threw 20 pitches – all fastballs – from the mound Monday, his first pitching session since he went on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation June 18.

He will pitch two more bullpen sessions (Wednesday and Friday) before going on a pair of rehab assignments according to Gonzalez. “I would like to make sure I feel fine,” Calero said. “I don’t want to come back for three weeks and go back to the DL. I want to make sure I feel fine and I can pitch the whole year. I told them I would like to pitch in the last series [versus the Diamondbacks] and face big league guys before the break.”

June 22, 2009

Hanley Ramirez takes All-Star lead at shortstop

A day after breaking out of the second-longest home run drought of his career, Hanley Ramirez surged back into the top spot to start at shortstop in next month's All-Star Game in St. Louis.

Ramirez leaped in front of the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins with 1,647,482 votes this week. Rollins, who led for two weeks, now trails with 1,494,466 votes.Hanley swings at a pitch Sunday versus the Yankees.

The numbers are close even though Ramirez (.328, nine HRs, 36 RBI, nine steals) has far out-performed the former league MVP and two-time Gold Glove winner (.217, six, 27, 10) this season.

Ramirez went 100 at-bats without hitting a home run before hitting the game-tying blast Sunday in a 6-5 win over the Yankees. His 87 home runs and 410 runs scored are the most by any shortstop in baseball since 2006.

Dan Uggla is the only other Marlin receiving considerable votes. The two-time All-Star second baseman has 475,372 votes but is a distant fifth to Chase Utley (2,922,796).

All-Star voting concludes at 11:59 p.m. on July 2.

> Don't expect a decision on Joe Girardi's protest during Sunday's game until Tuesday at the earliest. And don't expect it to get granted either. Baseball hasn't approved a protest since 1986 for the Pirates and Cardinals.  

Perhaps the most famous case is the George Brett pine tar bat homer on from July 24, 1983. In that case, the umpires were following the existing rules to the letter when Brett's homer was negated and he was called out. However, AL President Lee MacPhail ruled that the penalty was not within the "spirit of the rules" and reversed the call. Brett was awarded the home run and the game was resumed from that point.

Giradi is basically hoping to resume the game in the top of the eighth inning with nobody out and the Yankees down 6-3 because of one pitch and a mixup in the Marlins outfield. That didn't exactly change the score or the outcome of the game.

June 21, 2009

Hot Stove: Hanley HR drought, Calero says he'll be fine, Saturday hangover

No shortstop has put up better offensive numbers in the majors since 2006 than Hanley Ramirez. Nobody has scored more runs (409) or hit more balls over the fence (86).

That’s why when he was asked Sunday about the second-longest home run drought in his career, Ramirez was able to laugh about it.

“They’re pitching me golf balls instead of baseballs,” Ramirez joked. “No. Nothing has changed. It’s nothing I can control. All I can keep doing is swinging hard and when it goes out, it goes out.”

The last time Ramirez hit one out entering Sunday was May 22nd off Tampa Bay’s Andy Sonnestine. He’s got 98 at-bats without one since, but has still hit safely in 44 of his last 55 games (.343).

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Ramirez (.328, 8 HRs, 34 RBI for the seasn) needs to change nothing about his swing.

“He’s hit some balls hard,” Gonzalez said. “He hit one here against the Yankees where he hit the scoreboard. Same in Boston. In Toronto he hit some balls hard to right field. I think he’s fine. He’ll get some pitches where he’ll elevate and he’ll hit some home runs. But I wouldn’t change a bit. I wouldn’t change a thing of what he’s doing. You don’t swing for home runs anyway.”

Ramirez said he tweaked his sore groin when he attempted to steal second base in the fourth inning on a ball that was fouled off. But he said he didn’t feel any more pain when he woke up Sunday.

“All I want to do is keep going out to win games,” Ramirez said. “That’s what I get paid for. Not to sit the bench.”

CALERO SAYS 'I'LL BE FINE': Sunday, the Marlins placed Kiko Calero – one of the most valuable bullpen arms in the majors – on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and called up Tim Wood from Triple A New Orleans to replace him.

The good news? It doesn’t look like Calero’s shoulder injury is serious. Gonzalez said he expects Calero, who was placed on the DL retroactive to his last outing against Boston Thursday, to be able to pitch as soon as his stint is up.

“I started feeling tired, like fatigued the last couple weeks,” said Calero, who met with doctors earlier in the week and had an MRI done that didn’t reveal any tears.

“I pitched against the Cardinals and I felt weird. Then, I pitched against the Blue Jays and I felt good, but not so good. Then I pitched against Boston and I felt like I threw the ball and I didn’t see the movement. I couldn’t throw it where I wanted. I didn’t want to pitch like that because I didn’t want to hurt the team.”

So, Calero, who played catch Saturday, said he met with Gonzalez and the two agreed a a couple weeks off was the best solution. Calero began the 2008 season on the disabled list with a torn right rotator cuff as a member of the Athletics and missed 66 games.

The 34-year old has excelled since joining the Marlins this season (2.09 ERA). He ranks second in the bigs in appearances (36).

“In two weeks I’m going to be fine,” Calero said. “I just need to get some strength back.”

SATURDAY HANGOVER: Several Marlins players were still buzzing about the atmosphere of Saturday night’s 2-1 win over the Yankees a day later.

The third largest crowd to watch a Marlins game (46,427) certainly made it entertaining with the 25,000 cowbells handed out before the game. Gonzalez said the only thing missing was the bunting, “that red, white and blue stuff” the put around the stadium for playoff games.

“It was fun,” Gonzalez said. “It took an hour and a half to get out of the parking lot. It was emotionally charged up. The coaches were charged up. The bench was charged up. It wasn’t because it was the Yankees. There were 45,000 people excited about a 2-1 game. You knew in the back of your head if you screw something up here its going to be game over. We didn’t.”

> Before the Marlins started batting practice I spotted Hanley Ramirez and Wes Helms exchanging a few words. Manager Fredi Gonzalez came over to separate them. I didn't see the players speak to each other after that. We'll have to see if they talk about it after the game.

June 11, 2009

Marlins bracing for Halladay & more

Another day, another Cy Young winner to try and take down.

Roy Halladay That’s the way the Marlins are approaching the task of facing Roy Halladay in Toronto Friday night, the fifth Cy Young winner Florida will try and beat in a week.

Halladay, however, might be the toughest of any the Marlins have encountered. The 32-year old right hander is 10-1, leads baseball in wins, is second in complete games (3) and ranks third in the AL in strikeouts with 88.

The Marlins aren’t exactly familiar with Halladay either. Only seven players have faced him before. First baseman Jorge Cantu (2 for 11, .182 vs. Halladay) is the only player with more than three at-bats.

“The way I look at it is he’s got the same scouting report on us that we do on him,” said outfielder Cody Ross, who went 1 for 3 against Halladay in 2006. “His is thin and ours is thin.”

At least the Marlins have history on their side, having beat Halladay the only time they faced him in 2006. The Marlins actually hit him pretty well, scoring four earned runs on eight hits over six innings. Not counting utility man Alfredo Amezaga, who is out with a knee injury, the seven healthy Marlins who have a history against Halladay combined to go 10 for 27 off him (.370).

“What makes him tough is that he throws strikes,” catcher John Baker said.

“He has a lot of different pitches, keeps guys in and out and off balance. He’s probably the best pitcher in baseball. It will be a test for us, but no greater test than I think some of the arms we’ve seen. Lincecum, Randy Johnson. We’ve seen a lot of Cy Young award winners. It’s just another one to try and beat.”

The Marlins have fared well against Cy Young winners this season. After losing to San Francisco’s Barry Zito 2-1 last Friday, they’ve won three straight over Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson and Chris Carpenter.

TALES FROM A BEATUP CATCHER: Baker sat out his second straight game Thursday, the fallout of being struck with a bat over his left temple Tuesday night by St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols.

Baker is hoping to be in the lineup Friday in Toronto. But there’s a good chance he could he miss his third straight game. Thursday, he woke up with more swelling and yet another headache.

Baker said he won’t take any medication for the pain. “I don’t want to mask anything,” Baker said. “I prefer to know what I can and can’t do. With pain medication sometimes you think you can do something and then you go out and do something stupid. I wasn’t raised by my parents taking a lot of medicine for things. If it hurts and you can play with it, then that’s what you do.”

“Hopefully the swelling will start going down. But I took a pretty wicked impact.”

Baker tried catching a few balls in the bullpen with a hockey mask Wednesday but has ordered a different one he hopes to use in Toronto. He said once the stitches are removed (possibly by the time the Marlins in Boston), he’ll go back to using his regular catcher’s mask.

Baker, who was as a pitcher and first baseman in high school, didn’t start catching until he was handed the equipment upon arrival at the University of California. He’s taken his fare share of blows over the years since putting on the gear.

“I took one in the head earlier this year that knocked a nice little golf ball in the side of my head,” Baker said. “In 2005, we were in Omaha and I took an elbow to the artery in my neck. I had trouble swallowing for a while. Another time, we were playing against West Michigan in Single A and I got hit with an elbow in the jaw, got knocked out at home plate cold.

“There’s a reason we wear the catcher’s gear. I’ve deal with it before, but not like this with stitches. This one is the worst residual effect, keeping me out for a few games.”

> Chris Volstad, who had the worst outing of his career Wednesday (6 ER, 10 H), said the reason his sinker was not dipping against the Cardinals was because he wasn’t following through on all his pitches.

“My mechanics were definitely a little off,” Volstad said. “It was just one of those things where I’d do it right one time and then wrong the next. I’ll have it fixed for Boston.”

Volstad’s next scheduled start is Tuesday night against former Marlin Josh Beckett at Fenway Park. Volstad and Andrew Miller are the only Marlins pitchers who will face both the Red Sox and Yankees.

> Manager Fredi Gonzalez gave his No. 3 and No. 4 hitters the day off Thursday – first baseman Jorge Cantu because of dizziness and shortstop Hanley Ramirez because of a sore right groin.

Gonzalez said Ramirez tweaked his back Wednesday night beating out a double play ball. Gonzalez said he entertained the idea of pulling Ramirez, but his shortstop refused to be taken out – much like he has with just about every other injury this season.

“He’s played 11 games in a row [coming back from the groin]. He’s dealt with it pretty good,” Gonzalez said. “There were some days where you thought he wasn’t going to make it. My hats off to him.”

June 02, 2009

Hanley Ramirez will rest groin sooner or later

Just like I suspected last night, manager Fredi Gonzalez told us this afternoon that shortstop Hanley Ramirez and his sore groin are going to get a day off at some point during this 11-game homestretch.

Hanley Ramirez barehands a ball during Monday's 7-4 win over the Brewers. "We’ll see how he handles the next couple days," Gonzalez said. "But there will be a time when we give him a breather because we don’t want it to get worse. We’ll check with him everyday and with the trainers and if it starts getting really, really sore, we’ll give him an evening off."

When exactly that is remains to be seen.

Last night, Ramirez told us he feels his groin tighten whenever he tries slowing down before reaching a base. It's one of the many ailments he's been dealing with this season. After every game, about 30 percent of his body is covered in ice.

Just don't look for Ramirez to ask out voluntarily. He knows the Marlins are 6.5 games back of the Phillies and in fourth place in the NL East. And he knows this homestand is an important time to win games and help the Marlins stay within striking distance.

Last night, Ramirez went 3 for 5 with a double and two runs scored. He's actually hitting .413 against the Brewers lifetime and has a 10-game hitting streak against Milwaukee -- one of four teams he has hitting streaks of 10-or-more games against.

> The Marlins made the last part of their four player move before today's game, recalling outfielder Alejandro De Aza from Triple A New Orleans. Last night, the Marlins sent reliever Cristhian Martinez back to Double A Jacksonville (he got the win Monday) and catcher Brett Hayes back to New Orleans to make room for tonight's starter Anibal Sanchez.

"He can be the first pinch hitter off the bench," Gonzalez said referring to De Aza. "He’s a left-hander. He has some speed. Having Hayes here, it was detrimental to him really. Here’s a guy who we are really high on defensively as a catcher and he spent 9, 10 days here and only got five at-bats. And that’s not fair for him or for the organization. We need those type of guys to go down there and play.

"The other reason we could use De Aza is to give Cody Ross a spell against a tough right-hander. He’s done a good job, too. He came up here and was [3 for 9, 3 runs scored] and got sent down. He’s made the club two years in a row in spring training, played four or five games and hurt himself. I think it’s a good decision for us to bring up De Aza."

> Jorge Julio's rough night Monday cost him his job. The Brewers released the Marlins' former closer Tuesday, a night after he failed to record any of the six batters he faced, laying the groundwork for the Fish's big five-run inning in their 7-4 come-from-behind win. Julio was 1-1 with a 7.79 ERA in 15 games for the Brewers.

> One change to the batting order tonight. Rookie Chris Coghlan will have the night off. Brett Carroll will take his spot, but hit eighth in the order. Gonzalez said its strictly because the Brewers are starting left-hander Manny Parra tonight.

THE LINEUP: 1. Emilio Bonifacio 3B, 2. Jeremy Hermida LF, 3. Hanley Ramirez SS, 4. Jorge Cantu 1B, 5. Dan Uggla 2B, 6. Cody Ross CF, 7. Ronny Paulino C, 8. Brett Carroll RF, 9. Anibal Sanchez P.

June 01, 2009

Hanley Ramirez playing through pain

How nice was it for Marlins fans to watch Jorge Julio blow a lead for somebody else? Had to be sweet. Make no mistake about it, the Brewers gave Monday night's game away as much as the Marlins came back from down 4-2 to win it 7-4.

But enough about the first game in June. This blog is about the bigger picture and what the Marlins' best player is going to face the rest of the season -- pain. Before tonight's game manager Fredi Gonzalez told us there's a good chance Hanley Ramirez will have to play with tightness in his right groin all season. It certainly started hurting him again Monday.

Ramirez told me after the game he feels it every time he runs fast and then slows down before reaching a base. "“I don’t know how much longer I’m going to be dealing with that. But I don’t want to be on the bench," Ramirez said. "I want to be out there and try to help my team win. I told [Gonzalez] we’ll see how I feel before every game. But I want to play.”

How the Marlins deal with this remains to be seen. But don't be surprised if there are times when Ramirez may take a day off to rest it. The last thing the Marlins want is for Ramirez to miss significant time. As it stands, the Marlins don't have another day off until June 15. While losing Ramirez and his hot bat (he's hitting .378 in his last 10 games) for a game or two would hurt, it would be absolutely devastating to lose him for the season.

“It bites on him, grabs on him every once and awhile,” Gonzalez said. “These guys are competitors and when the sniff out a basehit, that pain in the groin goes out the window. Hopefully, he plays smart. Tonight, he wanted to stay in the game. I told him he’s got to be careful.”

> For those of you who would like to hear the pregame and postgame interviews, check out our Marlins audio page.

Helms has viral infection; Hanley leads All-Star voting

When Wes Helms woke up Monday morning he was expecting to still feel sick and achy. But what he wasn't ready for was the absolute lack of strength in his body. When he tried to pick up his daughter, he simply couldn't.

Alarmed by the sudden loss in strength, he called Marlins trainer Sean Cunningham. By 9 a.m., he was at the doctor's office, having blood drawn. Now he knows what's been ailing him since last Friday night.

"It’s a viral infection that has taken over my joints and my muscles," Helms said. "The doctor's aren't sure why I got it. But they're treating it and I should be good to go in a few days."

Helms hasn't played since he went 1 for 4 Friday against the Mets. He said he won't be available Monday, but expects to be able to pinch hit at the very least by Tuesday.

"Being in New York with the swine flu it scared me," Helms said. "In New York they thought it was a flu bug. It just shows you sometimes you need a few days to find out what you got."

> Hanley Ramirez still isn't 100 percent, but in the eyes of voters he should be the starting shortstop in the All-Star game again.

After falling behind the Brewers J.J. Hardy in the first week of voting, Ramirez moved up into the top spot this week with 586,300 votes, 16,661 more than the Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins and 85,730 more than the Hardy. The Mets’ Jose Reyes and Houston’s Miguel Tejada round out the top five.

If Hanley starts in the All-Star game July 14 in St. Louis, it would mark only the third time in franchise history a Marlins player cracks the starting lineup. Ramirez did it last year. Gary Sheffield earned the other spot at third base in 1993.

As for his tight right groin, Gonzalez said Ramirez is improving. But he also said there's a chance Ramirez may have to deal with the injury the rest of the season.

“He really is about 80 percent," Gonzalez said. "He’s running better than I thought he was. He was able to catch ground balls and move. Saturday he had a tough time doing that. But he’s getting better. He may not even be 100 percent the rest of the year. But he’s playing through it and as long as he plays within himself, he’ll be ok."

May 27, 2009

Ramirez likely out until at least Friday

PHILADELPHIA -- While manager Fredi Gonzalez said they could use Hanley Ramirez in a pinch-hitter role Wednesday, don't look for it to happen. The Marlins are more likely to give Ramirez the day off with the idea of having him return for the Mets series on Friday.

Gonzalez said one of the Marlins trainers felt a knot in Ramirez's groin Wednesday.

"It's still tight, pretty sore, which we expected today," Gonzalez said. "Maybe we could use him as a pinch hitter. But if we pinch hit for him, we have to pinch run for him. Hopefully today with the day off tomorrow he gets better with treatment and gets ready for this weekend. That's the best case scenario."

Ramirez was treated Wednesday, but did not swing a bat before the game. "Today, it feels better than last night," Ramirez said. "We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. When I come to the stadium on Friday, we’ll decide whether I play or not."

Bonifacio, who replaced Ramirez at shortstop in the third inning Tuesday, will start there Wednesday for the first time this season. Gonzalez has no worries about either. “That’s his natural position,” Gonzalez said. “That’s what he played coming up in the minor leagues. We’ve seen him take some ground balls. And he even played a couple innings there. It’s going to be an OK transition for him.”

> The Marlins recalled outfielder Brett Carroll from Triple A New Orleans before the game to replace reliever Chris Leroux, who was optioned back down to Double A Jacksonville after last night's game. It was a move made to strengthen the Marlins' bench, which will obviously be without Ramirez tonight.

As for Leroux, who gave up three hits and one earned over two innings, Gonzalez said he was encouraged by the outing.

“I told him I was impressed with what I saw,” Gonzalez said. “Mark Wiley told him there is no reason for you to have a 5.89 ERA in Double A. That was 95 miles per hour with a hell of a changeup. We challenged him to throw strikes and challenge people in Double A. There’s no reason he can’t dominate from what we saw here. He threw a couple of changeups to [Ryan] Howard and [Raul] Ibanez and it was like woah. The fastball has some life to it.”

> Marlins starter Josh Johnson said the blister on his right middle finger which cropped up over the last two three weeks isn't bothering him. “It’s good,” Johnson said. “I just trim it, try to make sure there are no sharp edges, things like that.”

Johnson has been dealing with the blister for the past few starts, but said he didn't think it had anything to do with his recent control problems. After walking six batters total in his first seven starts, he has now issued 10 over the past three. He'll pitch for the Marlins Saturday against the Mets.