Another sad chapter in Josh Johnson’s injury wrecked career, as the right-hander will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery without ever throwing a regular season pitch for the Padres.
Johnson signed a one-year, $8 million deal with San Diego in the hopes of staying healthy and building up his value in the majors’ most pitcher-friendly environment, but now he’s headed for a second Tommy John surgery after going under the knife the first time in 2007.
When healthy Johnson has always been one of the best starters in baseball, posting a 3.15 ERA in 917 innings for the Marlins from 2005-2012, but he’s topped 100 innings just three times in nine full seasons and was limited to 81 poor innings for the Blue Jays last year.
Thanks to language in the contract specifically designed to kick in if he got hurt San Diego holds a $4 million team option on Johnson for 2015, which could present an interesting decision depending on how well his rehab has progressed by the end of the season. At age 30 there’s still plenty of time for Johnson to resurrect his career, but it’s a damn shame.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.