Marlins ace Josh Johnson goes on DL with shoulder inflammation

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Josh Johnson, the NL’s co-leader in ERA through nine starts, was placed on the disabled list Saturday because of right shoulder inflammation.

It looks like a recurrence of the problem that shut him down at the end of last season. Johnson hadn’t been on the disabled list since 2008, but he didn’t pitch after Sept. 4 last year because of an inflamed shoulder and a sore back.

Johnson, probably the game’s most underrated pitcher, led the NL with a 2.30 ERA last season and was tied with Jaime Garcia with a 1.64 mark this season. He was also second with a 0.98 WHIP.

With Johnson sidelined, it doesn’t look like Javier Vazquez will lose his spot in Florida’s rotation anytime soon.

Converted reliever Jay Buente is coming up to pitch in Johnson’s place Sunday. Buente, a 27-year-old who had never started regularly prior to this season, was 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in five starts since moving into the rotation at Triple-A New Orleans. He made his major league debut for the Marlins last season, amassing a 6.55 ERA in eight relief appearances.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.