While three of his teammates were shipped to contenders earlier in the week, Josh Johnson is still in Miami – at least for the time being.
Johnson takes the hill in what could be his final start in a Marlins uniform Sunday afternoon when Miami concludes a three-game set against the San Diego Padres.
After moving Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit and Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in separate trades, it remains to be seen what the Marlins plan to do with Johnson (6-7, 4.14 ERA) as Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline quickly approaches.
“There’s no reason to (think about trades),” Johnson, whose four-year, $39 million contract runs through 2013. “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. If not, then I’m still here, which is what I want. No reason to sit there and worry about what I’m going to do if this happens or this happens or where I’m going to go if they come get me today or tomorrow or the next day.”
Johnson’s stock surely went way up following Monday’s dominating display against Atlanta. The hard-throwing right-hander yielded one hit and struck out a season best-tying nine over six scoreless innings during a 2-1 win, retiring the first 14 batters he faced.
“It will be JJ. The next day, it will be Carlos (Lee),” manager Ozzie Guillen said of the trade rumors surrounding Johnson. “Every day it’s going to be on and on and on and on. That’s the way baseball is. They like JJ because he pitched well. If JJ had a bad outing, they’d be, ‘Don’t talk about JJ.’”
Johnson has been hit hard in each of his last two matchups against San Diego (43-59), going 0-1 with an 11.88 ERA. He surrendered six runs, six hits and three walks over 2 2-3 innings during a 9-8, 12-inning road win May 4 — the shortest start of his career.
The Marlins had dropped eight of nine overall and nine consecutive home matchups in this series before winning 4-2 on Saturday. Nathan Eovaldi – acquired in the Ramirez deal – earned the victory while Jose Reyes and Justin Ruggiano both homered.
“We did today what we’ve been missing for a long time, get big hits,” Guillen said.
Reyes is batting .333 during a 15-game hitting streak, hitting four of his seven homers in the team’s last 10 games.
“Every time Jose is on the baseball field he can make a lot of great things happen,” Guillen said. “Jose has been doing great, he’s not hitting .390, but he’s playing better than what people think. He hits the ball very hard, more than what people think. Reyes is a guy we are going to play around.”
Reyes is 2 for 8 with a homer against Padres scheduled starter Clayton Richard (7-11, 4.17). The left-hander had gone 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA over an eight-start stretch June 12-July 18 but was knocked around during Monday’s 7-1 loss at San Francisco, allowing all seven runs and nine hits over a season-low five innings.
“Early in the game, it looked as though he couldn’t get the slider (to be) effective,” manager Bud Black told the team’s official website. “The slider and fastball weren’t as precise as the past six or eight starts.”
Richard is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA over two career outings against the Marlins. He yielded three runs, nine hits and struck out seven over seven-plus innings during a 4-1 loss May 5.
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