Marlins ace Josh Johnson uncertain to pitch again this season

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Josh Johnson has already missed more than two months with shoulder inflammation and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that he’s no sure thing to pitch again before 2012.

According to Frisaro the Marlins are hoping that Johnson can begin a throwing program later this week and if that happens he’ll be on track to return at some point in September, even if it means just a couple relief appearances “to give him some peace of mind going into the offseason.”

However, he hasn’t thrown at all since June and if the Marlins ultimately decide Johnson’s recovery hasn’t progressed enough to resume throwing then the 27-year-old right-hander will probably be shut down for the remainder of the season.

In other words, there’s a pretty good chance one of the best pitchers in baseball will end up missing five months with shoulder inflammation that the Marlins initially expected him to return from in mere weeks. Johnson has a history of arm problems and I’m all for playing it safe with young pitchers, but it sure seems like there’s something going on here beyond what’s publicly known.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.