Josh Johnson appeared well on his way to turning in his best start of the season Monday, pitching six innings of one-hit ball against the Braves before leaving with skin irritation on his right middle finger.
The Marlins went on to win 2-1.
It sounds like Johnson got out early enough before a nasty blister could form, so he’s expected to make his next start. The right-hander doesn’t have a history of blister problems.
Since he’s making $13.5 million next year, Johnson is an obvious candidate to be sent packing by the Marlins in the wake of Monday’s Anibal Sanchez deal. The 28-year-old had been struggling of late, allowing 14 runs over 16 1/3 innings in his previous three starts. That stretch took his ERA from 3.80 to 4.35. However, he was on his game tonight. He struck out nine and walked none before departing. At 87 pitches, he probably would have thrown one more inning if not for the blister.
“Josh Johnson was about as unhittable as I’ve ever seen,” Chipper Jones said afterwards. “He was dominate J.J. tonight”
The Red Sox and Angels are among the teams believed to be interested in Johnson.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.