Nick Johnson is likely to make the Orioles … “if healthy”


When it comes to Nick Johnson, using the “if healthy” caveat makes anything that follows sound sort of silly, but manager Buck Showalter indicated yesterday that the perpetually injured first baseman is likely to make the Orioles out of spring training … if healthy.

“I think he brings some things that I’d really like to have our guys feed off of with some of the on-base percentage and deep counts,” Showalter told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun.

Johnson is one of just 10 active hitters with at least 2,500 career plate appearances and an on-base percentage above .400, and the other nine guys on the list have all been superstars: Todd Helton, Albert Pujols, Manny Ramirez, Lance Berkman, Joey Votto, Jason Giambi, Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones.

Of course, the problem with Johnson is that he’s 33 years old and has a total of just 3,214 plate appearances. He also hasn’t been healthy since 2009, when he batted 574 times for the Nationals, walked more (99) than he struck out (84), and got on base at a .426 clip to rank second among NL hitters.

At this point I’d certainly bet against Johnson being healthy and staying healthy, but if he can somehow manage to avoid the disabled list I’d also bet on him posting an excellent on-base percentage. Getting hurt and getting on base are simply what he does.

Alex Dickerson to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Alex Dickerson, recently diagnosed with a sprained UCL in his left elbow, will undergo Tommy John surgery near the end of March, Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports. Dickerson tried to rehab the injury, but he didn’t show improvement. The surgery will likely end his 2018 season.

Dickerson, 27, missed the entire 2017 season due to a bulging disk in his back, undergoing surgery for that as well. Dickerson performed well in 84 games in 2016, batting .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI across 285 plate appearances.

Dickerson was hoping to earn a spot in the Padres’ crowded outfield, but will now concede that opportunity and hope to turn things around next year.