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.
Lots of teams have crazy concession items and lots of them will circulate photos of the more gonzo ones in the coming week leading up to the baseball season. The Braves, however, have been one of the more aggressive players in the gimmick concession item game in recent years, and they just sent around a release talking about some of the stuff they, and their concessionaire, Delaware North, will be serving at their new ballpark, Sun Trust Park, in 2017.
Among them:a blackened catfish po boy, which is a blackened 6-ounce filet of catfish cut up among three tacos, with a cajun remoulade. Some BBQ beef brisket sliders. A double burger. An ice cream bar. They’re also going to have a regionally-inspired thing called “The Taste of Braves Country,” showcasing southern cooking from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Which they’re calling “Braves Country.” Accurate enough, I guess, even if some of us are old enough to remember when they aspired to be a national team. Alas.
The big item, though, is this one:
It’s called the “Tomahawk Chop” sandwich. It’s a fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. It serves four and costs $26. I’m guessing it tastes fantastic, but I think the name is pretty cringeworthy for the same reason the cheer which gives it its name is. And, given the dynamics of the Braves move to their new stadium, the choice of BBQ sauce is . . . amusing? I dunno.
Anyway, enjoy, Braves fans.
Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.
[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:
Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.
He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.
Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.