When Josh Johnson went down and under the knife with Tommy John surgery, the Marlins were most obviously losing out on a valuable prospect. He had finished the 2006 season with 24 games started, 157 innings pitched, and a 12-7 record. He definitely was maturing as a pitcher and ready to take a step forward in 2007.
But the Marlins suffered another major blow in 2007 – they lost another Rookie of the Year candidate in Anibal Sanchez to shoulder surgery. Winning 10 of the 17 games he started – throwing a no-hitter along the way – the Marlins had placed great expectations on the young Venezuelan right hander.
Both are likely to be returning this season. How big of a lift would that be for this team, which is currently 14-9 and in first place?
He sports a goatee and whip-like hair, but that isn’t the only thing that distinguished Sergio Mitre on this young Marlins staff: his high ERA helps. But Mitre has proven himself to be a solid middle of the rotation pitcher at times and has helped the Marlins lineup wins. He was 5-8 last season in 27 starts and 149IP, sometimes not getting the run support he needed when he did pitch well. Yet he made some strides, he was able to increase his strikeout ratio and decrease his walk/strikeout ratio as well once he became a regular starter. And it looks like he will return in June. Mitre, placed on the 60 day DL on April 18th because of a right forearm strain, has been resting his arm on a no-throw diet.
Getting these pitchers back only supplements the Marlins pitching staff and will help push them further along towards possibly shocking baseball – again.
They stand to get Mitre back in June and Sanchez, possibly, not far behind him. Then Josh Johnson is looking for a September return. Add these three to the possibility of a Chris Volstad callup and the Marlins are sitting very snuggly at the table with the other contenders in the bigs.