When Josh Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list last month, the Marlins' ace said his shoulder just needed some rest and he did not expect to miss more than two starts.
One month and five missed starts later, it turns out the Fish will not get their star pitcher back until after the July All-Star break. The Marlins placed Johnson on the 60-day disabled list Tuesday night.
Johnson will not be eligible to rejoin the team until July 17. He will likely need to make some rehab starts in the minors before making his return to the Marlins.
Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez told the Miami Herald yesterday that Johnson told coaches on Monday "he was feeling the best he's felt in weeks." This can only mean his inflamed shoulder must have felt really terrible a month ago.
The team also called up RHP Elih Villanueva from Triple-A New Orleans to make a spot start in today's double-header against the Phillies.
The team is already on its third attempt at filling Johnson's spot in the rotation. RHP Jay Buente was released by the team after one start in Johnson's place, and a week later used a combination of relievers to fill Johnson's spot.
Brad Hand has made the last two starts in place of Johnson. He will make his next start on Friday against Tampa.
Before he went on the DL, Johnson had been pitching lights out, posting a 1.64 ERA in just over 60 innings. He was named National League Pitcher of the Month in April after allowing only 4 earned runs on 18 hits in the first month of the season.
With the team struggling, the expected return of Johnson was one of the few bright spots for Marlins fans. Now they can only curse the baseball gods for taking away Johnson and not, say, Chris Volstad.
David Hill is a Miami native and cofounder of Marlins Diehards, the only Florida Marlins blog with perspective on the eccentricities of Marlins fandom.