All-Star JJ set to contribute this time around

All-Star JJ set to contribute this time around

LOS ANGELES -- Last year as a first-time All-Star, Josh Johnson had a great seat for the game at Busch Stadium. As they often say, "It was an honor just to be nominated." This season, however, with an 8-3 record and an ERA of 1.82, the Marlins' ace is hoping to do a bit more than just watch.

Having pitched the Sunday game before the break last season, Johnson was pretty much told not to expect much.

"The told me right off that if the game goes 15 [innings], that was the only way I was getting into it," Johnson said. "I was going to be the last guy."

This year, Johnson's final start before the break is on Wednesday in Los Angeles, setting himself up perfectly for the Midsummer Classic next Tuesday in Anaheim.

"It's a very cool honor that they can't take away from you," Johnson said. "I'm right on line for the game this time."

Not that he's heard from National League manager Charlie Manuel, or in fact, anyone from the NL.

"Haven't heard from anyone, just got an envelope that says, 'You made the All-Star Game,'" Johnson said.

Of course he has heard from family and friends who would like to join him in Anaheim.

"You get two tickets for free, then you have to pay for the rest, so I'll have to pay for eight," Johnson said.

Even that is an improvement over last year.

"It's not too bad," Johnson said. "I had to pay for 12 or 14 last year."