Padres-Marlins Preview

While three of his teammates were shipped to contenders earlier

in the week, Josh Johnson is still in Miami – at least for the time

being.

Johnson takes the hill in what could be his final start in a

Marlins uniform Sunday afternoon when Miami concludes a three-game

set against the San Diego Padres.

After moving Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit and

Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in separate trades, it

remains to be seen what the Marlins plan to do with Johnson (6-7,

4.14 ERA) as Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline quickly

approaches.

“There’s no reason to (think about trades),” Johnson, whose

four-year, $39 million contract runs through 2013. “If it’s going

to happen, it’s going to happen. If not, then I’m still here, which

is what I want. No reason to sit there and worry about what I’m

going to do if this happens or this happens or where I’m going to

go if they come get me today or tomorrow or the next day.”

Johnson’s stock surely went way up following Monday’s dominating

display against Atlanta. The hard-throwing right-hander yielded one

hit and struck out a season best-tying nine over six scoreless

innings during a 2-1 win, retiring the first 14 batters he

faced.

“It will be JJ. The next day, it will be Carlos (Lee),” manager

Ozzie Guillen said of the trade rumors surrounding Johnson. “Every

day it’s going to be on and on and on and on. That’s the way

baseball is. They like JJ because he pitched well. If JJ had a bad

outing, they’d be, ‘Don’t talk about JJ.'”

Johnson has been hit hard in each of his last two matchups

against San Diego (43-59), going 0-1 with an 11.88 ERA. He

surrendered six runs, six hits and three walks over 2 2-3 innings

during a 9-8, 12-inning road win May 4 – the shortest start of his

career.

The Marlins had dropped eight of nine overall and nine

consecutive home matchups in this series before winning 4-2 on

Saturday. Nathan Eovaldi – acquired in the Ramirez deal – earned

the victory while Jose Reyes and Justin Ruggiano both homered.

“We did today what we’ve been missing for a long time, get big

hits,” Guillen said.

Reyes is batting .333 during a 15-game hitting streak, hitting

four of his seven homers in the team’s last 10 games.

“Every time Jose is on the baseball field he can make a lot of

great things happen,” Guillen said. “Jose has been doing great,

he’s not hitting .390, but he’s playing better than what people

think. He hits the ball very hard, more than what people think.

Reyes is a guy we are going to play around.”

Reyes is 2 for 8 with a homer against Padres scheduled starter

Clayton Richard (7-11, 4.17). The left-hander had gone 5-3 with a

2.91 ERA over an eight-start stretch June 12-July 18 but was

knocked around during Monday’s 7-1 loss at San Francisco, allowing

all seven runs and nine hits over a season-low five innings.

“Early in the game, it looked as though he couldn’t get the

slider (to be) effective,” manager Bud Black told the team’s

official website. “The slider and fastball weren’t as precise as

the past six or eight starts.”

Richard is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA over two career outings against

the Marlins. He yielded three runs, nine hits and struck out seven

over seven-plus innings during a 4-1 loss May 5.