TRAVERSE CITY — The Traverse City Beach Bums have added two more arms to their pitching staff — and one of them is a familiar face.
The Beach Bums signed left-handed pitcher Patrick Merkling and brought back right-hander D.J. Johnson, who threw in 14 games for Traverse City in the 2011 season before being snatched up by the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
Johnson was 1-0 with a 1.57 earned-run average with the Beach Bums in 2011 after spending one year in the Tampa Bay Rays system. With TC, he struck out 18 in 23 innings.
The rest of 2011, he threw for Missoula in Arizona's system, going 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 26 innings.
In 2012, Johnson split the season between South Bend (2-4, 3.08 ERA, 32 Ks in 26.1 innings) and Visalia (2-3, 6.55, 28 Ks in 22 innings).
Merkling spent the last two seasons in the Florida Marlins organization. In 2013, he split time between the Batavia Muckdogs and the Jupiter Hammerheads, appearing in 23 games and striking out 31 batters in 32.1 innings. In 2012, the lefty went 1-2 at three levels of the Miami organization with a 4.29 ERA, and fanned 28 in 27 frames. For his professional career, he has whiffed 8.95 batters per nine innings
The 22-year old was an 18th-round draft pick of the Marlins out of Lee University. As a senior in 2012 for the Flames, he was 9-2 with a 2.08 ERA and struck out 103 batters in 82.1 innings. He ranked in the top-10 nationally for NAIA Division-I pitchers in opponents average against (third at .169), fewest hits per nine innings (third at 5.36) and strikeouts per nine innings (ninth at 11.26).