|Season-ending surgery for Marlins' Johnson|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 02 August 2007 11:53|
The diagnosis, which had been anticipated, was made when Johnson was examined by specialist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
Johnson pitched only 15 2-3 innings this season and went 0-3. Surgery will determine how long he'll be sidelined, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
``It all depends on when they go in and see how bad it is,'' Gonzalez said. ``He missed the whole year, really. It's something that is hopefully not a whole year next year.''
Johnson's arm first bothered him last September. His most recent attempt to come back ended when he complained of elbow stiffness the day after a three-inning rehabilitation start last week for Single-A Jupiter.
Johnson went 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA in 2006 and finished fourth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. He spent the first 2 1/2 months of this season on the disabled list because of an irritated ulnar nerve in his right elbow, then made only four starts before he was again sidelined by forearm stiffness.
He's one of three second-year Florida starters sidelined this year by injury. Johnson, Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco each won at least 10 games as rookies in 2006, but this year they're a combined 3-6 in 67 innings.
Sanchez had surgery June 21 for a torn labrum, and it's uncertain whether he'll be ready for spring training in 2008. Nolasco, recovering from a sore elbow, pitched two innings Thursday in a minor-league rehabilitation start and may soon join the Marlins' bullpen.
``If we want him back, it would be faster to have him in the bullpen,'' Gonzalez said. ``If we stretch him out (to start), it's going to be the end of the month.''
Rookie Rick VandenHurk will remain in the rotation as a replacement for Johnson. VandenHurk went into Thursday's start against Colorado with a 3-2 record and an ERA of 7.00 in 10 games.
``He has handled this whole thing up here pretty good,'' Gonzalez said. ``He's got some mound presence and composure.''