Josh Johnson could miss start with sore back

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According to manager Edwin Rodriguez, Josh Johnson is “50-50” to make his scheduled start Friday against the Nationals because of lingering back soreness.
Johnson, who is third in the NL with a 2.30 ERA and fourth with 186 strikeouts, has been dealing with the problem for weeks. While he’s remained solid, he’s missed out on quality starts three times in seven outings since the beginning of August.
Because the Marlins are 8 1/2 games back in the NL East and eight games behind the Phillies in the wild card, it’s possible Johnson will be shut down for the season if his back fails to improve.
With Ricky Nolasco already done for the year, the Marlins have been stretched to find starters lately. Wild left-hander Andrew Miller recently joined the rotation, and veteran minor leaguer Adalberto Mendez made his major league debut by starting the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. Mendez was impressive, but he was forced out after six scoreless innings because of a quad injury.
Two other starters, Chris Volstad and Alex Sanabia, will have to serve suspensions later this month because of their roles in last weeks’ brawl with the Nationals.
The Miami Herald reports that Johnson didn’t throw his usual between-starts side session on Tuesday. More will be known about his availability come Wednesday.

Rafael Montero to have Tommy John surgery

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Mets pitcher Rafael Montero will undergo Tommy John surgery.

Montero felt some discomfort after his latest Grapefruit League appearance. This morning he was diagnosed with a complete tear of the UCL in his right elbow. He’ll now miss all of the 2018 season and most of the first half of the 2019 season.

Montero, 27, was once a top pitching prospect. He performed swingman duties for the Mets last year, starting in 18 games and relieving in 16. He wasn’t too successful in that role — his ERA was 5.52 in 2017 — but he was battling for a spot in the Mets’ bullpen this spring.