JJ used Central Park to warm up in New York

NEW YORK — If you were waltzing through Central Park on Monday afternoon and spotted an extremely tall man playing catch, you didn’t see some random weekend player looking for a pickup game.

You saw Josh Johnson.

The Marlins ace did his between starts throwing session with pitching coach Randy St. Claire.

Because Johnson started on Tuesday night against the Mets, he stayed on his schedule, even if it meant being near those casually walking their dogs or flinging frisbees.

The Marlins were off on Monday, and Citi Field was occupied as the Mets were playing a  the Giants.

“We didn’t really want to take a cab all the way out here, even if it was available,” Johnson said. “We just said we’d just walk over [to Central Park] and find a flat spot and play a little catch.”

It worked out fine as Central Park isn’t too far from the team hotel.

It’s not uncommon for St. Claire to warm up his pitchers on fields, lots or parks. He did it last August in Philadelphia with Anibal Sanchez. The two threw across the street from the team hotel the day after a Hurricane Irene threatened the East Coast.

Johnson has also thrown in various parks, but never Central Park.

“I’ll go to a park or whatever is close to the hotel,” said the 6-foot-7 right-hander. “In Philly, I played catch in some park that was barely 90 feet. My son was playing baseball so I think people thought we were getting loose to pitch to him or something.”

In Central Park, Johnson wore a Long Beach State sweatshirt, and he said nobody seemed to recognize who he was.

“Everybody was looking like, ‘Why is this guy throwing in the park?’ It’s not like he’s just throwing catch,” the two-time All-Star said. “I was like throwing from 120 feet.”

Joe Frisaro


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