Buck looking for strong finish to '12

Buck looking for strong finish to '12

Buck looking for strong finish to '12
NEW YORK -- Finish on a high note and see what happens has been John Buck's approach for a while.

The veteran catcher, who is signed through 2013, understands personnel moves may occur in the offseason. The Marlins already are giving playing time to rookie Rob Brantly, who was in the starting lineup on Sunday in the series finale against the Mets at Citi Field.

"The way I've approached it is, I didn't have a very good first half," Buck said. "I had some weird, unlikely things happen. I think I've figured some things out, and have had a better second half. I feel normal again."

Buck delivered a three-run homer in the ninth inning in Saturday's 4-3 loss.

In 25 games since Aug. 1, Buck has picked up his game. He is batting .294 (25-for-85) with eight doubles, a triple, four home runs and 15 RBIs.

Obviously, how he finishes can't erase the disappointment of the entire season. Overall, Buck is batting .201 with 12 homers and 41 RBIs.

He went into the All-Star break carrying a .176 average, with eight homers and 24 RBIs. In the second half, he's hit at a .240 clip, with four homers and 17 RBIs.

"The first half, there is nothing I can do to control that," Buck said. "But in the second half, I feel like I've done what I wanted to do. For me, personally as a ballplayer, I've taken away -- not having a good season -- but managed to salvage things. That's all I can control. That's what I have to focus [on]."

Brantly, acquired from the Tigers on July 23 as part of the Omar Infante/Anibal Sanchez trade, clearly will factor into the team's plans for 2013. The question is if the Marlins will bring Buck back to split time behind the plate.

Brantly is a left-handed hitter, so he offers a platoon option.

"I don't get paid to make those shots," Buck said. "I know my strengths. All I can do is be ready to go. I'm not going to do anything differently. Other than that, it's in their ballpark."