Miami Marlins’ Garrett Jones finds key to success at Marlins Park

05/04/2014 12:01 AM

05/04/2014 12:47 AM

Count Garrett Jones among the growing legion of hitters who are finding Marlins Park to their liking.

The Marlins went into Saturday with a .309 team batting average in their home park — second only to Colorado’s .349 average at Coors Field — and Jones is one of the reasons why.

“I think you just see the ball well here,” Jones said. “The key here is you want to hit low and hard. You have a fast infield and big gaps in the outfield, so you want to think low line drives, gap to gap.”

Jones brought a six-game hitting streak into Saturday, a stretch in which he had gone 11 for 22 to raise his average from .222 to .282, and he equaled a franchise record on Friday with three doubles. He has also cut down on his strikeout rate.

Though he still struggles against left-handers (a .160 average this season compared to .321 versus right-handers), he was in Saturday’s lineup against Los Angeles Dodgers southpaw Paul Maholm.

a helping hand

Reed Johnson credits Dodgers manager Don Mattingly for helping him become a successful pinch-hitter. Johnson leads the majors with five pinch-hits.

“He talked to me a lot about what pitchers can and can’t do,” Johnson said of Mattingly, who was the Dodgers’ hitting coach when Johnson played in Los Angeles.

For example, Johnson said he studies video on his iPad of each upcoming team’s relievers to look for any patterns that he can exploit.

Johnson gave this example:

“[Say] you’re facing a guy out of the bullpen and he throws two or three pitches, but he only throws one for a strike. He works to both sides of the plate, but he only throws strikes on the outside corner. So now you’ve narrowed it down to one pitch on one side of the plate, and you’ve really increased your chances to succeed in that situation.”

•  Jose Fernandez has a bruise on his left, non-pitching shoulder.

The reason: While shagging in the outfield during batting practice Friday, Fernandez collided with Ty Hill, the Marlins’ strength and conditioning coach.

“It was kind of a train wreck,” manager Mike Redmond said.

Redmond said a woman inside The Clevelander bar in left was throwing baseballs back onto the field when she overshot Hill.

“She threw one over Ty’s head, and he backed up to catch it and ran into Jose,” Redmond said.

Both Fernandez and Hill fell to the ground, and the training staff was summoned to check on the two.

But after being shaken up briefly, Fernandez got back on his feet and continued to shag.

•  Rafael Furcal, who is on the disabled list, re-aggravated his groin injury Friday in his first rehab game with Double A Jacksonville and was forced to leave in the fourth inning. He is listed as day-to-day.

Coming up

•  Sunday: Marlins RHP Jose Fernandez (4-1, 1.59 ERA) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (TBA), 1:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
•  Monday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-1, 2.58) vs. New York Mets LHP Jonathon Niese (2-2, 2.20), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.

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