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Brantly makes first start since return

Brantly makes first start since return

Brantly makes first start since return

MIAMI -- Game experience may be important, but so is production.

Marlins manager Mike Redmond quickly points this fact out when discussing catcher Rob Brantly, who has struggled in what was expected to be his first full season in the big leagues.

"I think a lot of people talk about experience and playing," Redmond said. "I think experience and playing is good. But if you're not playing well, then it's not good. I think sometimes you learn a lot by sitting there and watching older guys, and how they're calling games, and how they handle situations."

Brantly, 23, was Miami's Opening Day catcher. But he had his issues at the plate and behind the plate. He eventually was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans shortly after he started on Aug. 7 at Pittsburgh.

In the series finale against the Nationals on Sunday, Brantly made his first start since being a September callup. He went 0-for-3 with a walk.

The 24-year-old is batting .221 with one homer and 18 RBIs in 208 big league at-bats this year.

Brantly's playing time was reduced a few weeks before the All-Star break, after Jeff Mathis returned from the disabled list.

The catcher position is one of the toughest in the game because it requires handling pitchers, calling games, and hitting.

A former backup big league catcher, Redmond said he was able to learn from watching on bench. He hopes Brantly can do the same.

Redmond and bench coach Rob Leary are former catchers who have worked extensively with Brantly. In recent days, Minor League catching coordinator Clint Sammons has been with the club to also offer assistance.

Sammons, who worked with Brantly at New Orleans, is also assisting interim hitting coach John Pierson, as a number of coaches are wearing several different hats now that the roster has been expanded.

The Marlins are hopeful that Brantly is able to slow the game down and make steady improvements.

"As we all know, in the big leagues, things get moving pretty quickly up here," Redmond said. "You've got to be able to make sure you have a plan and are able to follow through. That's one of the things Brantly continues to work on, having a plan and being able to work on it."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less

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