The Marlins enter spring training with plenty of excitement after changing their name, logo and uniforms and making some pretty splashy additions, but they’ll have a tough time contending if they don’t get the old Josh Johnson back. He took a step in the right direction yesterday.
Johnson threw 41 pitches over 1 2/3 scoreless innings against the Cardinals in his first start since being placed on the disabled list last May with right shoulder inflammation. He retired the first five batters he faced (including two strikeouts) before reaching his pitch count after giving up a single, a double and a walk to load the bases.
Of course, the results are secondary at this point. The important part is that Johnson topped out around 94 mph with his fastball and told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that his shoulder feels good.
“It was good to get it of the way,” he said. “Shoulder feels great so that’s a big step.”
Johnson could make his next start Sunday against the Mets. The Marlins hope to have their ace right-hander ready for the season opener against the Cardinals on April 4 as they open their new stadium in Little Havana.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.