Josh Johnson unlikely to be ready for June 7 target date

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The Marlins had previously hoped that Josh Johnson would be able to return from the disabled list for a start on June 7 against the Braves, but manager Edwin Rodriguez told Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel earlier today that it’s doubtful he’ll be ready so soon.

“It’s very uncertain at this point,” Rodriguez said. “It’ll come down to how he feels. We have to wait and see until [Tuesday] and then he will decide when he feels ready to throw a bullpen…We’ve been shuffling some options. I would hate to use the bullpen. That would affect your whole strategy before and after the fact you use the bullpen day.”

Johnson went 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA and 56/20 K/BB ratio over his first nine starts before being placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation earlier this month.

The Marlins don’t have many alternatives for the start on June 7, as right-hander Jay Buente was recently claimed off waivers by the Rays. Rodriguez actually used five relievers Saturday against the Dodgers and while the strategy proved successful in a 6-1 victory, they obviously can’t afford to go that route on a regular basis.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.