High-energy Brantly tries to slow things down

High-energy Brantly tries to slow things down

High-energy Brantly tries to slow things down

NEW YORK -- Highly energized by nature, Rob Brantly's challenge is slowing everything down.

The 24-year-old Marlins catcher is winding down in a trying season.

Acquired from the Tigers in July 2012, Brantly was Miami's Opening Day starter. But he's had his challenges at the plate and fielding his position. His inexperience was again evident in Saturday's Game 2 doubleheader loss to the Mets at Citi Field.

Brantly was charged with a passed ball, and he was unable to run down a foul ball near the screen on a play that should have been made. This season has been a growing experience for the left-handed-hitting catcher.

In early August, Brantly was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, and he was brought back to the big leagues as a September callup.

Brantly's playing time has come sparingly, but he's striving to improve by observing as much as he can, and making the most of his opportunities.

"It's not like you can make up four months of a season that didn't quite go your way," Brantly said. "I think the biggest thing and my approach this last month is to make as many strides as I can in a forward direction.

"I think the biggest thing here is being able to simplify everything. From a defensive standpoint, approaching other hitters and calling a game, simplify my approach. You don't want to over-think and over-guess or try to out-guess hitters. It's a matter of doing what is necessary to getting them out."

Coming out of Spring Training, the Marlins knew defense was going to be a work in progress for Brantly. But they felt confident he would be a productive hitter.

But at the plate, it's been a struggle, as well, reflected by his .215 batting average in 65 games. On Saturday night, he did line a long drive to the gap in left-center, but the ball was run down on the warning track by Eric Young Jr.

"Hitting-wise, it's about trying not to do too much," Brantly said. "I need to make sure I'm getting the right pitches to swing at, and my bat will take care of the rest."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter