Nick Johnson needs surgery, likely out until July

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Nick Johnson will undergo wrist surgery tomorrow and is expected to be sidelined until at least July.
Johnson has been in and out of the lineup for a couple weeks now and apparently a recent cortisone shot wasn’t effective. Signed to a one-year, $5.5 million contract this offseason to replace Johnny Damon in the Yankees’ lineup Johnson has a .388 on-base percentage, but is hitting just .167 with eight RBIs and 12 runs in 24 games. Damon, meanwhile, is hitting .288/.403/.424 in 38 games for the Tigers.
Rather than turn to a full-time replacement for Johnson the Yankees have been cycling various regulars through the DH spot, giving guys like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Jorge Posada days off defensively. However, now that Johnson is likely out for a couple months (and perhaps much longer, given his history with injuries) it wouldn’t be surprising to see New York start shopping around for a veteran bat. This looks likely to be the fifth time in nine seasons that Johnson will fail to play 100 games.

Cardinals move Luke Weaver to the bullpen

Luke Weaver
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Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver has been reassigned to the bullpen, manager Mike Shildt announced Sunday. Fellow righty Daniel Poncedeleon will take his spot in the rotation for the time being, though it’s still unclear whether Weaver’s demotion is a permanent one or not.

Still, it’s not the most surprising of moves, especially as the club advances toward a potential playoff berth in October. Weaver, 24, has struggled to find his groove this season after putting up a 6-11 record in 24 starts and a 4.67 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2018. During two of his last three outings in August, he was pulled before the fifth inning, citing mechanical issues with his delivery that may be impacting his fastball location and delivery and having an adverse effect on his results — and those of the team — as well.

Poncedeleon, on the other hand, appears primed to take on more responsibility following an impressive run with the Cardinals this summer. He maintained a sub-3.00 ERA through his first six appearances, issuing four runs, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t handled more than one start in the big leagues, his track record in the minors speaks to his ability to get consistent results on the mound: he went 9-3 in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis with a 2.15 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 92 innings. He’s scheduled to cover for Weaver on Tuesday against the Pirates and will presumably continue to pitch out of the rotation for the remaining six weeks of the season.