Shut down following his September 4 start because of shoulder and elbow injuries, Josh Johnson arrived at the Marlins’ spring training complex three weeks ahead of schedule to throw some early bullpen sessions and told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that he feels “great.”
Johnson, who won the ERA title with a 2.30 mark in 184 innings spread over 28 starts, spent the offseason seeing a chiropractor and working out with former “World’s Strongest Man” competitor Mark Philippi in Las Vegas.
“I went to this guy so I could stay healthy the whole year. That’s the goal,” Johnson told Capozzi.
Johnson’s excellent rookie season in 2006 was also cut short by arm problems and then he missed most of 2007 and 2008 following Tommy John elbow surgery, but the 27-year-old right-hander has remarkably gone 33-12 with a 2.94 ERA in 75 starts since returning in mid-2008. He’s somewhat quietly emerged as one of the elite pitchers in all of baseball, but has started more than 30 games or thrown more than 185 innings just once.
MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans, and a player to be named later. It was reported on Wednesday that Ruiz and first baseman Ryan Howard both cleared waivers and that Ruiz was drawing interest from a couple of teams.
Ruiz, 37, has served as the backup catcher behind Cameron Rupp. Over 193 plate appearances, he hit .261/.368/.352. He continued to play solid defense and has always had a reputation for handling his pitchers very well. In fact, in a commercial for the video game MLB 2k11, former Phillie Roy Halladay essentially professed his love for Ruiz:
Ellis, 35, is a free agent after the season while Ruiz has a club option for the 2017 season worth $4.5 million. It seems likely that the Dodgers pick up that option and make Ruiz Grandal’s backup next year. Ellis hit a lousy .194/.285/.252 in 161 plate appearances, but the Phillies aren’t particularly concerned with his production since they’re still facilitating their rebuilding process.
Bergjans, 23, has spent the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA with a 133/29 K/BB ratio in 130 innings spanning 21 starts and three relief appearances. He went to school in Haverford, PA so the Phillies are bringing in a local guy.
Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has been activated from the 15-day disabled list ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Angels, the club announced. Utilityman Ryan Goins has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to create room on the roster.
Bautista missed the minimum 15 days due to a sprained left knee. He’s battled injuries throughout the season, limiting him to just 355 plate appearances over 80 games. He’ll resume play with a .222/.349/.444 triple-slash line, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI.
Bautista is in Thursday night’s starting lineup, batting first and serving as the DH.