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Tuesday, November 16, 2021

John Johnstone took his ability to adapt to time in eight major league seasons

John Johnstone took the mound for the Marlins in spring 1993 he pitched well enough for some praise from his pitching coach, The Palm Beach Post wrote

"He showed the ability to adapt, and that was impressive," Marlins pitching coach Marcel Lachemann told The Post. "There's no substitute for strikes, and Johnstone will throw the ball over the plate. He makes them swing the bat."

Johnstone went on to see the Marlins briefly that season, his first with time in the bigs. He then saw the majors over each of the following seven campaigns, twice getting into more than 60 games in a season, both with the Giants.

Johnstone's career began in 1987, taken by the Mets in the 20th round of the draft out of Bishop Ludden High in Syracuse.

Johnstone started with the Mets at rookie Kingsport. He made short-season Pittsfield in 1989, then high-A St. Lucie in 1990. He went 15-6 there, with a 2.24 ERA. He made AA Williamsport in 1991 and AA Binghamton in 1992. 

The Marlins then selected him in the expansion draft. He played most of 1993 at AAA Edmonton, but also saw seven relief outings in Florida. He gave up seven earned in 10.2 innings.

He returned for another 17 outings in 1994 and four more in 1995. His 1995 season was cut short by a damaged nerve in his throwing elbow

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Johnstone recounted to The Arizona Daily Star a year later. "I snapped off a curveball and that was it. I had some nuts and bolts going up my fingers. I finished the inning. Went out the next day, pitched again, and it was just unbearable."

Johnstone signed with the Astros for 1996 and got back to the majors for nine relief appearances. He played 1997 between the Giants and the Athletics, but soon found a home with the Giants.

He got into 70 games for the Giants in 1998, going 6-5, with a 3.07 ERA. He then saw 62 outings and a 2.60 ERA in 1999. He then saw 47 final outings in 2000, with a 6.30 ERA.

Johnstone has since gone on to return to his native Syracuse. In 2019, he was named head coach at his old school, Bishop Ludden.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,783
Made the Majors:1,277-33.8%-X
Never Made Majors:2,506-66.2%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:526-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:313

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