Chances are that by the time you read this you’ll already have learned of the connection between A.J. Burnett and Josh Johnson. Burnett ripped Marlins management on his way out the door in 2005, and the team suspended him. A.J.’s final start of the season went to Josh Johnson, who picked up steam as a big-time pitcher for the Marlins.
Then there’s the Girardi-Johnson connection. Joe Girardi took over as manager of the Marlins in 2006, and Johnson was one of his best pitchers. The then-22-year-old was showing signs of tiring late in the season: he had allowed four runs over six innings on September 2 and five runs over 4.2 innings on September 7. During his September 12 start there was an 82-minute rain delay. He lasted five innings total and pitched well, but left the game with forearm tightness and missed the rest of the season.
Elbow troubles plagued his 2007 season, until he finally had Tommy John surgery that August. He returned in early July of 2008 and pitched 87 innings through the end of the season. It seems he’s regained his form this year, throwing 98 innings with a 2.7 ERA.
Burnett has struggled at times this year, but was great against the Mets last Sunday, striking out eight and allowing no runs over seven innings. He worked in and, more importantly, out of trouble, as will usually happen when you walk four guys. The Marlins don’t appear to have the most patient lineup, so perhaps A.J.’s style will work on them.
Notes: Angel Berroa gets another start in place of Alex Rodriguez today. With Cody Ransom and Xavier Nady ready for return, it would appear this is his parting gift…Speaking of Nady, he played the outfield today, and could start a rehab assignment next week…Question on this article: Why wasn’t Girardi in the meeting? Seems like something he should be privy to.