Kike Hernandez’s first home run as a Marlin wasn’t his first big-league homer.
But it was the one that carried the most meaning.
“That was probably the most meaningful home run of my life,” Hernandez said afterward of his fourth-inning solo shot off Phillies pitcher David Buchanan.
Hernandez said one of his close friends died three weeks ago. When Hernandez returned home to Puerto Rico to pay his respects, the friend’s mother predicted he would homer in her son’s honor.
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“When I said bye to his mom, his mom told me if you go back to Miami, you’re going to hit a home run in your first game, and it’s going to be for him,” he said.
He started for the first time Sunday after being called up from the minors.
“As soon as I hit it, I got chills running the bases,” he said. “I was trying really hard not to tear up. It was good to get my first Marlins hit out of the way. But sometimes it’s more than a game.”
Reed Johnson knows he won’t end up in the Hall of Fame. But with a seventh-inning single on Saturday, Johnson became the 1,149th major-leaguer to reach 1,000 career hits.
“To be able to reach that milestone, it means a lot,” said Johnson, who was never an All-Star and collected hits through perseverance. “I’ve never really been an everyday guy. I’ve had to fight for everything — 12 years on one-year deals — and things like that.”
Johnson’s first big-league hit was an RBI single against Boston’s Casey Fossum in Fenway Park in 2003. He had more hits — 17 — against Johan Santana than any other pitcher.
Johnson has the actual baseball from his first hit, as well as the phony one.
“[It says], ‘Infield hit at Fenway Park with my name spelled wrong,” Johnson said. “It was so bad, you knew it was fake.”
After notching hit No. 1,000 — a line-drive single to right — Marlins hitting coach Frank Menechino handed him a joke ball with the words: “Reed johnson’s 1,000th hit. Jam shot to right field.”
But Johnson also received the real ball to add to his collection.
While Giancarlo Stanton has been insisting privately to friends and teammates that he intends to return to the field before the end of the season, it’ll likely be up to doctors to make the final decision.
Stanton is scheduled for more doctors appointments on Tuesday.
“He is maintaining the mind-set that is going to play again this year,” Marlins general manager Dan Jennings said during a MLB Network radio interview on Sunday.
But Jennings said the Marlins would “lean on the medical people” for making a decision on whether Stanton can return this season. Stanton sustained multiple facial fractures Thursday when he was struck by a Mike Fiers pitch in Milwaukee.
▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Jarred Cosart (4-2, 1.93 ERA) at New York Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (8-6, 2.62), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-11, 4.29) at Mets RHP Bartolo Colon (13-12, 4.14), 7:10 p.m., Citi Field.