Results tagged ‘ Mets ’

Johnson delivering Ws

If there was any sign that Josh Johnson was slowing down on Sunday, the 6-foot-7 right-hander didn’t show it.

Simply brilliant, Johnson overwhelmed the Mets in his complete-game, 2-1, victory at Dolphin Stadium. His fastball reached 97 mph in the ninth inning, proving he was still going strong.

Johnson has made a remarkable return from Tommy John surgery, and he is showing why scouts and personnel evaluators says that if he stays healthy he will be a serious Cy Young award contender.

It’s not by coincidence that the Marlins repeatedly win when J.J. takes the mound. Last year, when he joined the rotation in July, he went on to post a 7-1 record. Johnson made 14 starts last year, and the Marlins won 11 of them.

Already this year, he is 2-0, so he is 9-1 with two complete games since 2008.

The irony is Johnson became the first pitcher this season to post a complete game. Last year, there were questions if any Florida pitcher could go the distance. 

The Marlins set a Major League record by going 301 games without a complete game before Ricky Nolasco snapped the drought against the Giants last August.

The importance of a complete game is it gives the bullpen a day to rest. The way the Marlins pen has struggled thus far, the breather came at a good time.

— Joe Frisaro 

Bonifacio draws balk

Another example of how Emilio Bonifacio hurts a defense? Balks.

When Bonifacio singled to open the sixth inning off New York’s Sean Green, he put the Mets on guard. Green threw over a couple of times to first baseman Carlos Delgado. Without even attempting a steal, Green balked, which automatically advanced Boni to second.

Bonifacio went to third on Hanley Ramirez’s infield single. Jorge Cantu singled Boni home. On the pitch Cantu hit to left field, Bonifacio faked as if he was going to race home.

— Joe Frisaro

Cantu in lineup

Encouraging news for the Marlins.

Jorge Cantu, who was plunked on the left hand by a pitch on Wednesday, was back in the starting lineup on Friday against the Mets. Cantu is slotted to bat cleanup and play first base.

Cantu was struck on the back of his left hand by a Daniel Cabrera or Washington fastball. X-rays came back negative.

The batting order was similar to what the team has been using against right-handed pitching.

Mets lineup: Reyes, Murphy, Wright, Delgado, Beltran, Church, Schneider, Castillo and Maine.

— Joe Frisaro

Roster options and Andino

The final week before the regular season begins should produce a lot of activity and speculation.

Infielder Robert Andino remains on the radar of the Pirates, who have shown interest in him since the 2008 Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Brian Bixler is a name that popped up as a possible trade candidate for Andino, and that still could be a deal that is made before Opening Day.

Bixler, however, has shown improvement in Spring Training, and he may have a future with the Pirates.

Andino is out of options, and if he is placed on waivers, Andino could be claimed by the Pirates, without them giving up anyone. The Marlins still are deciding if they want to retain Andino as an insurance policy for Hanley Ramirez.

There also are indications that the Marlins are shopping third baseman Dallas McPherson, who also is out of options. The team is exploring a left-handed bat off the bench.

Now the Marlins may opt to keep both Andino and/or McPherson. There are a number of possibilities that are being explored as teams look to finalize their rosters.

The Marlins are looking for lefty relief help. Pittsburgh’s Sean Burnett could be a possibility. And veteran Ron Villone was recently released by the Mets.

— Joe Frisaro

Still pondering Pudge

Don’t discount the Marlins as being in the hunt for catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

The club continues to weigh whether to seriously pursue the 37-year-old who was a big part of their 2003 World Series championship team. The Marlns, Mets and Astros have been the clubs linked to Pudge.

Florida is prepared to go with John Baker as the starter. While Rodriguez is wearing down, the assessment of those around the league is he can handle playing two to four times a week. The question is whether the Marlins will stay firm on only signing him for the minimum or if they can settle on an agreeable offer.

Right now behind Baker, the competition is open for the backup spot. Mike Rabelo, Brad Davis and Brett Hayes are all in the mix.

— Joe Frisaro