Johnson coming through in a pinch

Johnson coming through in a pinch

MIAMI -- The benefits of experience are clearly showing in Miami's everyday lineup.

Free agent pickups Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee are making major contributions on a regular basis.

Miami also has received a boost off the bench from another veteran, Reed Johnson.

The 37-year-old is the oldest player on the club. He's also an established role player, and he once again made a big impact in Miami's 6-3 win over the Dodgers on Friday night.

Johnson slapped a two-out, pinch-hit RBI single that set up a four-run seventh inning.

The fact that Johnson's big pinch-hit came against the Dodgers has an interesting twist. While with the Dodgers in 2010, Johnson picked up some pointers from current Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, then the team's hitting coach.

"He taught me what a pitch can and can't do," Johnson said.

Basically, Mattingly pointed out things such as a pitcher throwing a breaking ball to both sides of the plate, but throwing strikes to only one side.

"Knowing the pitchers and basically doing the homework is kind of what is going to settle you down and give you the best chance," Johnson said.

Johnson now paces the Majors with five hits as a pinch-hitter. His hit on Friday night gave Miami some breathing room. In his career, the veteran outfielder has 66 lifetime pinch-hits.

To keep him fresh, the Marlins gave Johnson a start in left field over Christian Yelich on Saturday with the Dodgers going to lefty Paul Maholm.

"When you're playing well, and you're feeling confident, I think anybody in that lineup, it doesn't matter who you put out there, feels like they have to do something to contribute in some way," manager Mike Redmond said. "I think we're seeing that."

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