Josh Johnson could miss start with sore back

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According to manager Edwin Rodriguez, Josh Johnson is “50-50” to make his scheduled start Friday against the Nationals because of lingering back soreness.
Johnson, who is third in the NL with a 2.30 ERA and fourth with 186 strikeouts, has been dealing with the problem for weeks. While he’s remained solid, he’s missed out on quality starts three times in seven outings since the beginning of August.
Because the Marlins are 8 1/2 games back in the NL East and eight games behind the Phillies in the wild card, it’s possible Johnson will be shut down for the season if his back fails to improve.
With Ricky Nolasco already done for the year, the Marlins have been stretched to find starters lately. Wild left-hander Andrew Miller recently joined the rotation, and veteran minor leaguer Adalberto Mendez made his major league debut by starting the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. Mendez was impressive, but he was forced out after six scoreless innings because of a quad injury.
Two other starters, Chris Volstad and Alex Sanabia, will have to serve suspensions later this month because of their roles in last weeks’ brawl with the Nationals.
The Miami Herald reports that Johnson didn’t throw his usual between-starts side session on Tuesday. More will be known about his availability come Wednesday.

Report: Derek Jeter-Jeb Bush group is the last one standing to purchase the Marlins

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There are a couple of confusing and potentially conflicting reports swirling about the Miami Marlins sale right now.

When last we heard, there were two high-profile groups with reported interest. One run by Hall of Famer Derek Jeter and politician Jeb Bush. The other run by Hall of Famer Tom Glavine and . . . son of politician, Tagg Romney.

Today Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg reported that the Jeter-Bush group has “won the auction” for the team. Mike Ozanian of Forbes reported earlier in the day, however, that they haven’t “won” anything. They merely remain the last group standing and that they have submitted a “non-binding indication of interest,” which, as the name suggests, means very little formally. They’re still seeking funding sources. Ozanian reports that the Glavine-Romney team is out.

That’s all a bit confusing, but given how team sales tend to go — slowly, with pretty established and plugged-in sports business types deliberately reporting the progress of negotiations — Ozanian’s report feels a bit more credible. Either way, I’d say it’s way, way too early to photoshop a Marlins cap on old pictures of Derek Jeter just yet

The first native Lithuanian in MLB history made his debut last night

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Why yes, it is a slow news day. But let’s not allow that to take away from some MLB history.

Last night a young man named Dovydas Neverauskas pitched in mopup duty for the Pirates, who were getting hammered by the Cubs. Mr. Neverauskas pitched two innings, allowing one run, making him, by default, the most effective pitcher the Pirates sent out there last night.

That’s good, but that’s not what makes it historic. What makes it historic is that Neverauskas is the first person born and raised in Lithuania to make the Majors. Here’s some back story on him from last year’s Futures Game.

Lithuania is known for producing basketball players. Now it has its first major leaguer. Whether he becomes baseball’s Arvydas Sabonis is an open question.