Marlins Ace Josh Johnson Probably Won't Pitch Again In 2011

Josh Johnson continues to take things slowly in his recovery from shoulder inflammation, which has sidelined him since the middle of May.

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Josh Johnson Injury: Marlins Ace Probably Out For Season

A couple of months ago, Marlins ace Josh Johnson made the cover of Sporting News Magazine. Along with the lovely photo, these lovely words:

THE ANONYMOUS ACE
Because He Plays for the Marlins, Josh Johnson is Practically Unrecognizable.
He's Also Nearly Unhittable.

Well, that's one explanation for Johnson near-anonymity. Here's another: Johnson has been around for six seasons, and won 48 games. His wins in those six seasons: 12-0-7-15-11-3. Can you really blame baseball fans for not becoming super-familiar with Johnson's talents?

That last number, of course, represents Johnson's 2011. Sporting News devoted that valuable cover real-estate to a pitcher with three wins in late May. Granted, Johnson deserved a better fate; at the time, he had an incredible 1.64 in nine starts and with just decent luck would have won seven or eight games already.

But he's still stuck on three wins, and apparently is going to remain stuck on three wins all season. MLB.com's Joe Frisaro:

For the second straight year, Josh Johnson's season appears to have been cut short due to injury.

The Marlins' ace has been shut down for the rest of the season due to right shoulder inflammation, according to a report by Jon Heyman of SI.com.

The Marlins have not confirmed whether Johnson is done for the season. In fact, they were unaware that Johnson was considered out for the final two months. President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest informed a team spokesman that it was "news to him."

MLB.com reported on Tuesday that this was a pivotal week for Johnson to determine if he had enough time to get ready to pitch before the end of September.

The hope was that Johnson could begin a throwing program later this week or early next, which would have given him a realistic chance to see game action before the end of the season.

Or maybe he'll get to four wins this season. The point is that while Johnson is immensely talented, he has not yet demonstrated a key talent for a baseball pitcher: pitching. Pitching much, anyway. Due to various maladies, Johnson has averaged only 116 innings per season, and not many 116-inning pitchers become household names.

Anonymous because he pitches for the Marlins? Sure. But something tells me that Johnson, if he's ever healthy enough to throw 200 innings and win 20 games, suddenly won't be so anonymous. No matter where he pitches.

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Josh Johnson Injury: Marlins Righty Cleared By Dr. Andrews

Florida Marlins ace Josh Johnson was supposed to miss two starts while on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Then it was three starts. Then it was four starts. Then it was more starts. Before long, Johnson was considered out until July, and moved from the 15-day to the 60-day DL.

On Wednesday, a rehabbing Johnson had his shoulder examined just to make sure everything was peaches. It was examined by Dr. James Andrews, which is always a scary thing to hear, but the visit was considered precautionary, and the news is good:

Josh Johnson just got out his appointment with Dr. James Andews in the last half hour and the news was better than expected.

An MRI and examination found no structural damage in Johnson’s right shoulder. He will not resume his throwing program for at least 10 days.

So everything is all right in there. Johnson received a cortisone shot and will take a week and a half of rest, but after that he should get back to working out and stands a chance of returning to the Marlins in late July, although early August might be more likely. He's well beyond his initial timetable now, but the important thing is that he's not dealing with anything major.

When he comes back, Johnson will be pitching for pride, as the Marlins are currently 2-77, and 47.5 games out of first in the NL East.

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Josh Johnson Injury: Marlins Ace Recovering Very Slowly

Josh Johnson started for the Florida Marlins on May 16. Josh Johnson has not started for the Florida Marlins ever since, due to a bout of shoulder inflammation. Initially, Johnson was expected to miss only two starts. But then he got pushed back. Then he got pushed back again. Now we have this, from Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez:

Rodriguez said the most optimistic hope for ace Josh Johnson's return is July. Rodriguez said Johnson would need two or three bullpen sessions and then "have some rehab outings. We're talking July for sure." Johnson has been on the DL with right shoulder inflammation since May 21.

The first timetable had Johnson looking to return on June 1, so it's clear that Johnson has not recovered as the organization wished that he would. Which isn't really Johnson's fault, mind you, but I don't know if the Marlins could be without a more important player.

After Johnson's last start, he owned a 1.64 ERA, and the Marlins were 24-16. Since that start, the Marlins have gone 8-17 to plummet south in the NL East and wild card races, and a big reason why is that they have not received good starting pitching. Johnson will help when he returns, but by that point it might be too late to make a difference in 2011.

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Josh Johnson Probably Being Pushed Back Again By Marlins

Marlins ace Josh Johnson hasn't pitched since May 16 due to a bout of shoulder inflammation. Placed on the DL, the initial expectation was that Johnson would only miss two starts before coming back. His return was then delayed, and now, according to Clark Spencer, it's likely being delayed again:

Josh Johnson is coming along so slowly from right shoulder inflammation that Rodriguez said a June 7 return date now looks doubtful.

Johnson still hasn't thrown so much as a bullpen session, so he certainly appears to be a ways off. Given that he's the best pitcher on the staff, that's bad news for a Marlins team trying desperately to hang in the race.

The Marlins first replaced Johnson with Jay Buente, but he's no longer in the organization. In Johnson's most recent turn, Brian Sanches got the start as the Marlins had a bullpen day, but manager Edwin Rodriguez doesn't want to do that again. No starter for next time has been named.

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Josh Johnson Injury: Return Pushed To June 6

Josh Johnson was placed on the disabled list last Saturday with right shoulder inflammation, and the Florida Marlins initially indicated that their star right-hander would miss only two starts, coming back on June 1. On Friday, they changed their prognosis, though. From Joe Capozzi:

Edwin says June 6 or 7 more likely for Josh Johnson return, not June 1

Considering a) Johnson's importance to the Marlins both this year and in the future, and b) that it's a shoulder problem, it would make sense for the Marlins to play it safe. While the team is in the thick of the NL East race, there's no reason to rush Johnson back.

Jay Buente came up from triple-A to take Johnson's last start, and he was cuffed around a little bit, allowing three runs in three innings. The righty had been fantastic this season in the minors, with a 1.94 ERA in 41-2/3 innings, with 44 strikeouts and only 10 walks ... but the Marlins designated him for assignment anyway, and Buente was claimed by the Rays. Which means the Marlins need another starter, and in the short term it looks like they're going with Brian Sanches.

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Josh Johnson Placed On 15-Day Disabled List With Shoulder Inflammation

Saturday, the Florida Marlins placed their ace starter, Josh Johnson, on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.

In his most recent start, on May 16, Johnson left after five innings and 85 pitches, having surrendered just one run.

Aside from a rocky start against the Cardinals on May 5th, Johnson had pitched lights-out baseball this spring, and has a National League-best 1.64 ERA through 60 innings. He's one year removed, of course, from a campaign in which he led the N.L. with a 2.30 ERA and garnered serious Cy Young consideration.

In Johnson's stead, Jay Buente has been called up from Triple-A and is expected to start on Sunday. Buente has yet to make a start in the major leagues, but did pitch 11 innings of relief duty for the Marlins last year. At New Orleans this season, Buente has posted a 1.94 ERA in 42 innings.

As they seem to do nearly every season, the Marlins are overachieving so far in 2011; their 25-18 record is good for second place in the N.L. East. Starters Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez have pitched well, but Chris Volstad and Javier Vazquez have left much to be desired at the back of the rotation.

For more on Johnson and the Marlins, check out SB Nation's Marlins blog, FishStripes.

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