MIAMI -- As a 5-year-old, Rob Brantly received his first set of catcher's gear. It was a gift from his grandfather, John Paul Brantly, once a catcher in the Panamanian professional league.
"I remember sleeping in it that night," Brantly said.
On Tuesday night, Brantly suited up and made his MLB debut as the Marlins' starting catcher against the Phillies at Marlins Park.
The 23-year-old, acquired from the Tigers on July 23 as part of the Anibal Sanchez-Omar Infante trade, got the nod to catch Josh Johnson. To share the moment, Brantly's parents, Robert and Yvonne, took a red-eye flight from Southern California to Miami. A couple of his cousins also made the trip from the West Coast, as did his agent, Mike Seal.
While Brantly's grandfather passed away a few years ago, his impact remains on the Miami catcher.
"I always hear his voice saying, 'Robbie, hit that ball with authority!'" Brantly said. "When I'm up there, and I get a good piece, I'm like, 'I hit it with authority.'"
The Marlins are certainly hopeful Brantly can make an impact with his bat. In 14 games with Triple-A New Orleans, the 23-year-old batted .365 with two home runs and 11 RBIs.
"Like any kid who loves baseball, this is like a dream come true," Brantly said. "I'm excited to get out there on the field and show them what I can do. Hopefully I can contribute and help this team."
All afternoon, Brantly received messages from family, friends and former teammates in the Tigers' organization. Among them was Nick Castellanos, Detroit's top prospect, who played at Archbishop McCarthy in Broward County.
Castellanos roomed with Brantly at Double-A. Some Castellanos family members attended Tuesday's game.
Miami manager Ozzie Guillen promises to give Brantly plenty of playing time. How much is still being figured out.
John Buck is a veteran and former All-Star who is a right-handed hitter with a track record. But it's been a rough year for Buck, who is hitting .184.
"I talked to Buck," Guillen said.
It was made clear that Brantly will play.
"On the other hand, I'm not going to leave John on the bench," Guillen said. "We're going to pick spots to play [Brantly]. We're going to try to get the kid to catch everyone in the rotation. But in the meanwhile, Buck also has to play games. He's not going to be like a backup. We'll figure out how we're going to do it. It's a little bit of a headache. I have to respect Buck, he's a veteran player. And I respect that."
The Marlins optioned Brett Hayes on Sunday to Triple-A New Orleans to make room for Brantly.
"You have to blame Buck, and you have to blame Hayes," Guillen said. "[When] Hayes was playing good, he was here. Buck is our guy, but we need two catchers. You're going to call up this kid, not to have him on the bench. He has to be playing.
"To be honest, Hayes, he was not doing what he was supposed to do. That's why we made this move."
Stanton dives, makes one of best grabs of career
MIAMI -- Giancarlo Stanton has made a number of standout catches in his career. None probably were better than the backhanded leaping grab he made in right-center field on Monday night.
In the second inning of Miami's 4-0 loss to the Phillies, Stanton showed great range and athletic ability to snare Erik Kratz's liner to right-center. Domonic Brown was on first base and likely would have scored with two outs.
But Stanton sprinted into the gap and at the last second reached upward and dove to make one of the top defensive plays by any Marlin this year.
"In this park, he might be scoring from first," Stanton said. "To save a potential run, and you get a ball I didn't think I could get right off the bat, it's a good feeling. And getting all scratched up by the dirt was a good feeling, too."
Was it Stanton's best catch of the season?
Style points, yes.
"That one or the one in May, against [Jason] Heyward," Stanton said.
On May 16 at Turner Field, Stanton went toward the right-field line to rob the Braves' Heyward of extra bases.
As for Monday's gem, Stanton said he didn't know he had the ball: "Until it was in my glove.
"I was like, 'No chance.' I was just, drop down and run. I took a good angle on it and got it."
The play also showed that Stanton's knee is feeling fine. The slugger had surgery on his right knee on July 8, and he isn't yet ready to play more than two or three consecutive days.
"[On Monday], I was all over the place," Stanton said. "I tested it, obviously. It was fine."
Ozzie reflects on late, great Pesky
MIAMI -- Johnny Pesky's death sent ripples throughout the baseball community, from Boston all the way to Miami, where Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was taken by surprise when he was informed of the news.
Guillen, who has been around the Majors for 27 years, remembers the Red Sox legend most as a pioneer of the game who loved baseball as much as it loved him.
"It's a sad day for baseball, it is, when people like that put all his life and integrity and all he has into baseball," Guillen said. "It's something you have to respect and feel bad about. It's something people in this era, they got to look at those guys ... They went through a lot, and when those people pass away, you have to thank them every day."
Guillen said it's disappointing that many of today's players don't appreciate what players of that era did for the game of baseball. During his 13-year career, Pesky hit .307 and notched 1,455 hits. He played 10 seasons in the Majors that sandwiched a three-year stint in the military during World War II. After Pesky retired, he was still around the game of baseball, even raising the Red Sox World Series banner in 2007.
"He wasn't the type of old-timer guy that just quit playing, was done and leaves [the game]," Guillen said. "He loved to be around players, he loved to be around with a uniform on. I hope I live that life. I hope I live that long."
While Guillen would see Pesky every time his teams traveled to Boston -- first as a player and eventually as manager of the White Sox -- one of his fondest memories of Pesky involves the foul pole that bears his name.
During the final game of the 1990 regular season, the White Sox were in Boston, where the Red Sox needed a win to clinch a spot in the American League Championship Series.
Guillen came to the plate as the tying run against Jeff Reardon and ripped a ball down the line toward Pesky's Pole before right fielder Tom Brunansky made a diving play to end the game.
"I never forgot that day," Guillen said. "I hit the ball down the line and that place went from crazy to shut-up back to crazy. ... I hit that ball down the line, and I never hit the ball down the line. Never. I hit that ball right down the line and Brunansky made the play. I thought that ball was a triple, and he made that play and they went nuts. Right by the pole."
Green resting injured thumb, hopes to avoid DL
MIAMI -- Nick Green expects to avoid landing on the disabled list after spraining his left thumb Sunday against the Dodgers.
The injury occurred in the eighth inning when Green made a diving attempt at a Matt Kemp double down the third-base line. The third baseman hyperextended the thumb in his glove hand, but played through the injury.
It wasn't until he woke up Monday that his thumb had swelled up, making it difficult for him to close his fist or grip a bat. Green said he took some practice swings Monday, but struggled due to the swelling.
"We're just trying to get all the swelling down," Green said. "The joint is still sore and bruised right now, so it's just a matter of when that goes away."
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said he expects Green to miss the remainder of the Phillies series that runs through Wednesday, but he didn't rule out a return when the team travels to Colorado on Thursday.
The injury to Green forced the Marlins to play Gregg Dobbs at third on Monday and Tuesday, despite Dobbs dealing with a sore left oblique.
"He's still sore a lot, but he took one for the team, because he knows we need him and we don't have anyone else," Guillen said.
The Marlins' skipper said that if it Dobbs got injured and there was an emergency situation because of the team's current lack of infield depth, he would play Green, although Guillen said the journeyman infielder needs at least one more day to see how he responds to treatment on the thumb.
If worse comes to worst, Guillen has another idea for who can fill in at third.
"I almost activated myself a couple days ago," joked Guillen, who played third base for parts of three seasons during his 16-year Major League career. "I know I can catch and throw, but I don't know if I can hit."
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. Tom Green is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.