Josh Johnson on his health status: “Physically, I feel great”

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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.

If there is an ALCS Game 7, Ric Flair will call out “Play Ball!”

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I don’t really care who wins the ALCS, but part of me wants to see it go seven games now. Why? Because if the Astros win tonight and force a Game 7, the series will be visited by a Rolex-wearin,’ kiss-stealin,’ wheelin-dealin,’ limousine ridin,’ jet flyin,’ son of a gun, jack! From the Chronicle:

The Astros-Yankees American League Championship Series gets to a Game 7, the Astros will have pro wrestling superstar Ric Flair call out “Play Ball!” before the game in a video message. Astros right fielder Josh Reddick is a huge wrestling fan and uses Flair’s entrance music every time he steps to the plate at Minute Maid Park. Fans also have adopted the wrestler’s “Woo!” yell throughout the season.

That’s pretty cool. It’d be even cooler if it ended with a Dusty Finish.