Nick Johnson sidelined by back injury

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nick johnson swinging.jpgYankees DH Nick Johnson has missed two games in a row and is likely out until Tuesday due to lingering back stiffness, according to Chad Jennings of The Journal News.

Johnson isn’t concerned that it will be a long-term issue, for what it’s worth.  But he has been plagued by injuries for most of his career and any kind of ailment is rightfully going to be met with a speculative eye. 

The 31-year-old Johnson is batting just .135 in 52 at-bats this season, but he has drawn 18 walks in 16 games for a .375 on-base percentage.  And that’s exactly why he bats in the two-hole for the Yanks, ahead of perennial All-Stars like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano.   New York is off to a 12-5 start this year, right behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East standings.

Report: Rangers’ deal with Seung-hwan Oh is off

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The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.

Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.

While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.