One thing will be new when Johnson starts the second game of a three-game series against the visiting Phillies on Tuesday: He will be pitching to a catcher making his Major League debut.
The Marlins acquired 23-year-old backstop Rob Brantly from the Tigers on July 23 as part of the trade that sent Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit. Miami called up Brantly from Triple-A New Orleans on Monday, and his first action will come on Tuesday, which puts more responsibility on Johnson's shoulders.
"You have to communicate well," Johnson said. "Usually with new guys, you're gonna have to trust them. There's no way around it."
As Johnson pointed out, a catcher promoted from the Minors typically has worked with the big league pitchers in Spring Training, at the very least. There is no such luxury with a midseason acquisition such as Brantly, who doesn't know the Phillies' hitters like Johnson does.
"That doesn't really mean too much," Johnson said. "It means some, but you can open your eyes to different things and give him the benefit of the doubt. It's going to be tough. You've got to communicate really well.
"I'm sure I'm going to have to shake off some, but I'm going to have to trust him and just roll with it."
Johnson (7-8, 3.88 ERA) has a 1.75 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings over his last four starts. He struggled in his first outing against the Phillies this year but rebounded on June 29, holding them to one run in six innings to earn the win.
The Phillies will send out Kyle Kendrick to oppose Johnson, although that assignment was no certainty after the right-hander surrendered six runs in 3 1/3 innings in a loss to the Braves on Wednesday. Kendrick (4-9, 4.86 ERA) has taken two turns in the rotation since Joe Blanton was traded to the Dodgers, but manager Charlie Manuel said after Wednesday's game that he didn't know if Kendrick would take a third.
Ultimately, Manuel decided to stick with Kendrick, who gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Marlins in a June 1 victory.
"I had a real good talk with Kyle," Manuel said. "Kyle can definitely pitch better than he did the last time out. He's had some outings like that this year. He shows you that once he gets into the tempo and rhythm and really is determined to get you out, he's very capable. He has a winning record in the big leagues. He's very capable of being that guy we want. But, you know, we expect him to be more consistent."
Phillies: Schierholtz hits disabled list
Outfielder Nate Schierholtz came to Philadelphia from San Francisco in a July 31 trade for Hunter Pence, but he couldn't stay in the lineup for long. The Phillies placed him on the 15-day DL on Monday with a broken right big toe and recalled Hector Luna from Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Schierholtz is expected to return this season but could miss three to four weeks, throwing a wrench in the team's plans to give the 28-year-old regular playing time.
"We're aware of what he's capable of," Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "We've seen him play multiple times over the course of the last three or four years. I don't think we're losing anything [in terms of evaluation]."
With Pence and Shane Victorino now playing elsewhere, Schierholtz's injury likely leaves center field in the hands of John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix. Mayberry drew the start there on Monday.
Marlins: Brantly to get plenty of opportunities for production
The Marlins optioned catcher Brett Hayes to Triple-A New Orleans when they called up Brantly, leaving the rookie to compete only with veteran starter John Buck. Miami didn't make the move with the intention of leaving Brantly on the bench.
"We're going to try to figure out playing time," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "This guy is coming to the big leagues, he needs to play. I don't know how many days a week we're going to play him, but we'll figure it out to give him enough playing time."
Buck, a right-handed hitter signed through next season, is hitting .184 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs, although he is 10-for-33 with seven doubles in August. The lefty-hitting Brantly posted a .752 OPS between Double-A and Triple-A this season and went 19-for-52 (.365) with two home runs in 14 games with New Orleans.
"We heard he had good [offensive] upside," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "Again, it's a small sample size, but he's hit the ball very well. They love him down there, the guys throwing to him. Still working on some defensive stuff, but he can work on it up here. We'll take a look."
The Marlins hold a 6-4 lead in their season series against the Phillies.
Johnson's ERA is 3.25 at home and 4.73 on the road.
The Marlins' Jose Reyes is 12-for-28 (.429) against Kendrick with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and four walks.