Josh Johnson

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.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.