What once seemed like a minor issue with his throwing shoulder has ballooned into a season-ending injury for Marlins pitcher Josh Johnson.
SI.com reported last night that JJ is expected to miss the rest of the season, citing unnamed sources. The Marlins' best pitcher has long battled injury issues, undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his throwing elbow in 2007.
Last season he missed the final three weeks because of a strained muscle in his back and a sore right shoulder.
SI's sources said there appears to be no serious damage to Johnson's right shoulder this time around, and surgery on the shoulder is not expected.
That is little comfort to Marlins fans who had hoped the return of the team's ace could help spark a playoff push in the second half of the season.
Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list in May after complaining of stiffness in his right (throwing) shoulder. An MRI revealed no damage, so the thought at the time was that Johnson would only need a little rest to get back on the mound.
Johnson initially said he didn't expect to miss more than two starts. But the stiffness never fully went away, forcing the Marlins to transfer him to the 60-day disabled list in June.
Later that month Johnson had his shoulder examined by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, which is often a bad sign injury-wise. Nonetheless, a second MRI taken then showed no structural damage.
Johnson was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in nine starts this season.
David Hill is a Miami native and cofounder of Marlins Diehards, the only Florida Marlins blog with perspective on the eccentricities of Marlins fandom.