MIAMI -- The struggling Marlins offense could be getting a big slugger back in a couple of weeks.
Giancarlo Stanton, who had two cartilage chips surgically removed from his right knee on July 8, is getting closer to rejoining the Marlins, with a rehab assignment beginning Wednesday at Class A Jupiter. The 22-year-old was expected to miss four to six weeks after the surgery. Stanton expects to return to big league action on Aug. 10.
Stanton has been taking batting practice and recently began jogging outside. He was previously running on an anti-gravity treadmill that helped keep stress off his surgically repaired knee.
While Stanton feels his recovery is going well, he admits that his knee "feels different" when he runs.
"It's like when you sleep on your arm or you ice for too long," Stanton said. "When I run, the vibration I can feel, but it's still on the numb side. That's the only iffy part, even though it's not a speed bump."
Stanton was told the numbness could last up to two months, but he says it does not affect his ability to run or perform any other baseball activity. With his actions limited, Stanton has tried to take some positives from his time away from the field.
"It's not fun to just sit there helpless," Stanton said. "You just try to pick up some things from the down times that I am going through right now. That's all I can do."
Despite rumors, JJ treating 'every day like normal'
MIAMI -- Sunday's series finale against the Padres could very well be Josh Johnson's last start in a Marlins uniform, with the rumor mill swirling and non-waiver Trade Deadline looming.
But it's not something that had crossed the two-time All-Star's mind until reporters brought it to his attention before Saturday's game.
"Not 'till now," Johnson said. "Seriously. You don't really think about it. Just go out there every day like normal."
With a large contingent of scouts in attendance during his start on Monday, including representatives from the Rangers, Johnson pitched his best outing of the season.
The 28-year-old retired 18 of 19 batters in six innings before his right middle finger nail began digging into his skin, which caused a cut that bled after each pitch.
"There's no reason to [think about trades]," said Johnson, who is 6-7 with a 4.14 ERA in 20 starts this season. "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. If not, then I'm still here, which is what I want. No reason to sit there and worry about what I'm going to do if this happens or this happens or where I'm going to go if they come get me today or tomorrow or the next day."
Johnson's four-year, $39 million contract runs through 2013. His season was cut short last year because of right shoulder inflammation.
"Baseball's a business," Johnson said. "You learn that really quickly. I learned that after my first season when I was only up here for three weeks. Guys might be gone after this year, and [I] said there's no way, and [I] come back the next season and there's a whole different team."
Struggling Morrison dropped to seventh in lineup
MIAMI -- Ozzie Guillen has shuffled his lineup often this season to try to spark the Marlins' offense.
On Saturday, the manager decided it was time to drop Logan Morrison to seventh in the order with the hope that the struggling outfielder will get back on track.
"If he keeps swinging like that, he will be my bench coach," Guillen said. "Like I've said before, I write the lineup and [bench coach] Joey [Cora] prints it, but the players make the lineup. If you're playing well, then you play. If you're not, then we will find a way to take you out."
Morrison is batting .231 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs on the season. Like many Marlins, the 24-year-old has struggled to live up to high expectations.
"The guy has one hit in his last 17 at-bats, and I don't see any improvement," Guillen said. "I've got to give my team the best chance I can, especially with the way we are right now. I want better. I'm trying to be patient and try to get the pressure off him."
Morrison has just four hits over his last 10 games and has struggled mightily since hitting .310 over the first month of the season. Morrison's decline has caused some to wonder if he is playing hurt, but Guillen says that is not the case.
"I've asked him about it and he says he is fine," Guillen said. "I hope he is telling me the truth. If he's not, that's his problem."
Guillen, who has over 30 years of experience in professional baseball, cannot pinpoint why Morrison is struggling. Instead, he points to a variety of reasons.
"When you are going that way, everything is going bad," Guillen said. "Mechanically, mentally, facing tough pitching, everything is going bad. I hope we put him back at seventh and things start to get a little bit better."
The Marlins manager would like to see the rest of his lineup get better, as well. Miami has scored three runs or fewer in nine straight games heading into Saturday's contest against the Padres.
If the Marlins fail to score more than three on Saturday, they will become the first squad in franchise history to go 10 consecutive games without scoring four runs or more. But Guillen is hoping his team can avoid setting that record.
"We have a lot of people on base, but we're leading the league in LOB, left on base," Guillen said. "I'm pretty sure we lead the league in that. If you look at the way we leave people on base and how we get on base, it's amazing that we can't bring them in. Hopefully we start doing it today."
Christina De Nicola and David Villavicencio are contributors to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.