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.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network and FOX Sports reports that the Mariners have acquired starter Chris Heston from the Giants. The Giants will receive a player to be named later, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Heston, 28, logged only five innings in the majors this past season as he battled an oblique injury and otherwise spent most of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. Heston was solid out of the Giants’ rotation in 2015, posting a 3.95 ERA with a 141/64 K/BB ratio in 177 2/3 innings over 31 starts.
Heston will be under team control through 2021. He’ll provide depth for the Mariners’ rotation in the meantime.
Joe Nathan‘s agent, David Pepe, says his client wants to pitch in 2017, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. “He’s like the Energizer Bunny,” Pepe said.
Nathan, 42, came back from Tommy John surgery in July, pitching two scoreless innings for the Cubs with four strikeouts and two walks. The Cubs released him and the Giants picked him up, and Nathan went on to pitch 4 1/3 scoreless innings down the stretch with five strikeouts and two walks.
According to FanGraphs, Nathan’s velocity wasn’t where it used to be, which is to be expected of a pitcher in his 40’s coming back from major elbow surgery. Still, with teams always on the hunt for bullpen depth, it would be shocking if Nathan didn’t get any bites before spring training starts.