Sports Outside the Beltway

Florida Marlins’ Josh Johnson out for at least two months

The team has just had its first signifigant injury of the 2007 season.

JUPITER — Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson was diagnosed with an irritated ulna nerve that will keep him out for at least the first two months of the season.

“I just know now so I can put it on a timetable,” Johnson said Tuesday. “It’s better but I’m still in the same position, I guess.”

The best scenario has Johnson, who was penciled in as the No. 2 starter, throwing in a month and returning to the mound around June 1. He will continue to condition and go through all non-throwing drills.


A nerve specialist examined Johnson for 45 minutes Monday. Previous MRI exams and bone scans ruled out any stress fractures or ligament damage. The pain is on the inside of Johnson’s right arm just above the elbow.

Johnson was 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA last season. He finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting.


Johnson was told his injury is similar to that of Brad Penny, who was shelved for most of the final two months of the 2004 season after being traded from Florida to the Dodgers. Penny pitched two innings on Aug. 8 and then returned for a three-inning stint Sept. 22 before shutting it down for the rest of the season.

Certainly a blow for the Marlins’ who have high hopes going into the season. What effect long-term this injury will have on Johnson is the big unknown. Sabermetrician Bill James was always good pointing out that the pitchers with long and or Hall of Fame careers almost all started out in the majors as nothing special. In other words, young arms are more likely to suffer serious career ending arm injuries. Will Johnson be the next in a long line of these type of pitchers?

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