The Marlins enter spring training with plenty of excitement after changing their name, logo and uniforms and making some pretty splashy additions, but they’ll have a tough time contending if they don’t get the old Josh Johnson back. He took a step in the right direction yesterday.
Johnson threw 41 pitches over 1 2/3 scoreless innings against the Cardinals in his first start since being placed on the disabled list last May with right shoulder inflammation. He retired the first five batters he faced (including two strikeouts) before reaching his pitch count after giving up a single, a double and a walk to load the bases.
Of course, the results are secondary at this point. The important part is that Johnson topped out around 94 mph with his fastball and told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that his shoulder feels good.
“It was good to get it of the way,” he said. “Shoulder feels great so that’s a big step.”
Johnson could make his next start Sunday against the Mets. The Marlins hope to have their ace right-hander ready for the season opener against the Cardinals on April 4 as they open their new stadium in Little Havana.
Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.
Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.
The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.
Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.
Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.
According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.