Josh Johnson hasn’t pitched since mid-May and could end up missing the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury that continues to be described as merely inflammation, and yesterday the Marlins ace explained that he’s now just looking for “peace of mind for the offseason.”
Johnson told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com that he’d be happy enough simply seeing some game action against minor leaguers, which certainly doesn’t make it sound like he’s holding out much hope for a return to the majors before 2012.
He was initially expected to miss just 2-3 weeks, but two months later Dr. James Andrews advised him to shut things down completely and Frisaro writes that “Johnson believes the time he took off to recover wasn’t enough in order to strengthen his shoulder.”
He’s back on a throwing program and hopes to stretch out to 90 feet tomorrow, but Johnson noted that “I want to get healthy whether it’s the end of this year or next year, whatever it is.”
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: