Josh Johnson may or may not be available

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Is he or isn’t he? As with most rumors during this “silly season,” it depends on who you ask.

John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus wrote on Friday that he keeps hearing that the Marlins are “very willing” to trade Josh Johnson “right now” for the right package. Hours later, Joe Frisaro, who covers the Marlins for, advised not to buy into the speculation that Johnson is available. Then, this morning, in a report for Buster Olney (requires Insider subscription) spoke with some rival executives who said that the Marlins have not yet informed teams that Johnson is not available.

Rest assured, we haven’t heard the last of this.

Mike Fiers may not be ready for start of regular season due to back issue

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Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports that Tigers starter Mike Fiers is dealing with a back issue and may not be ready for the start of the season. Manager Ron Gardenhire characterized the injury as a “stiff back” and added, “Maybe a little bit of a bulging disk or something like that.”

Fiers, 32, signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in December. He has had a forgettable spring, yielding 12 runs on 10 hits and eight walks with seven strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings.

Fiers had a rotation spot locked up along with Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, and Francisco Liriano. Matt Boyd and Daniel Norris were battling it out for the No. 5 spot. If Fiers opens the regular season on the 10-day disabled list, both could have spots in the rotation.