At this rate the Marlins will announce next week that Josh Johnson won’t be returning until 2015.
Johnson was initially expected to miss just a couple weeks with shoulder inflammation when Florida placed him on the disabled list in mid-May, but manager Edwin Rodriguez admitted Monday that they were no longer expecting Johnson back before July and last night the Marlins transferred him to the 60-day disabled list, ruling out a return before the All-Star break.
Rodriguez explained the move by saying that Johnson has yet to start building back his arm strength and will need multiple bullpen sessions followed by multiple rehab appearances before potentially being ready to rejoin the rotation, but not explained is why his timetable has gone from two weeks to two months (and counting) without the presence of a significant setback.
Was he misdiagnosed at the time on the initial DL stint? Did he suffer a major setback that simply wasn’t explained by the team? And if the answer is neither of those things, then how does one of the best pitchers in baseball go from sitting out a couple weeks with shoulder inflammation to being placed on the 60-day DL?
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.