RBI single big hit for JJ’s son

MIAMI — Josh Johnson emerged as the winning pitcher on Wednesday night, which was big for the Marlins to get their ace to work six innings on a night he had to battle.

The Marlins rallied to beat the Nationals, 5-3, completing a three-game sweep at Marlins Park.

But the highlight of the night for Johnson’s 4 1/2 year old son, Cash, was not the pitching performance. Instead, it was JJ’s RBI single in the fourth inning.

“All he cares about is the Marlins winning and hitting,” Johnson said.

Cash regularly is in the Marlins’ clubhouse after games. He’s usually in full baseball uniform, and often wearing a batting helmet.

Johnson’s first hit of the season ended up being important. It was a broken-bat RBI single, which tied the game. Also in the inning, JJ was asked to run the bases.

First base coach Gary Thurman gave the pitcher the run sign.

“You’re kidding, right?” Johnson asked Thurman. “He said, go. He said, ‘really, go.’ I said, alright, and I took off.”

So JJ went on a hit-and-run, and Jose Reyes singled to center. At first Johnson thought about going to third, but after a wide turn around second, he thought otherwise. It was a good thing, because he would have been out easily.

To get back to second safely, Johnson dove in head-first, getting his uniform dirty.

“I know my son is going to be pumped,” JJ said. “That’s all he asks about is hitting, sliding and trying to steal a base. He loves it.”

With his interest in hitting, it’s not surprising that Cash’s favorite Marlin is Giancarlo Stanton.

“When he comes in here, he will go over to Stanton, for sure,” Johnson said.

The other night, Cash sat in the weight room postgame as Stanton work out.

“He was in there,” Stanton said. “He couldn’t get enough. JJ told him that he needed to go with his mom, but he didn’t want to. He wanted to stay with me.

“It’s funny, because last year, he still liked me a lot, but he would just be so nervous when I came in. I was like, ‘What’s up, Cash?’ And he’d [turn away]. When I’d leave, he’d say, ‘Daddy, he said hi to me.’ “

Joe Frisaro

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