The Marlins suddenly find themselves with dangerously-thin depth in the rotation.
The club has already lost Ricky Nolasco to a torn meniscus in his right knee and have suspensions for Chris Volstad and Alex Sanabia looming for their roles in the Marlins-Nationals bench-clearing fight .
Now, Josh Johnson could see his season end thanks to back/side pain and tightness, reports the Miami Herald .
The problem has plagued Johnson for weeks, which explains, in part, his 4.25 ERA in his last seven starts after kicking off the year with a 10-3 record and sterling 1.73 mark. Johnson is "50-50" to make his start Friday at Washington as it is unknown at the moment just how problematic Johnson's injuries are.
The Herald says it's not out of the realm of possibility the 26-year-old is shut down for the remainder of the year, missing five remaining starts but there is nothing concrete in that area yet. Johnson could elect to pitch through the pain for his final starts, and may even see his Friday start simply pushed back a few days.
The righty is already taking precautions, skipping his side bullpen session Tuesday and not participating in stretching exercises, instead receiving treatment for his back pain.
The Marlins should proceed very cautiously with the ace, as the team is nowhere near postseason contention and is in the first year of a four-year, $39 million deal. It's more important for Johnson to be healthy the next three years than it is to make the next five starts in a now-irrelevant season.
UPDATE : Johnson has been officially scratched from Friday's start and is headed to Florida for an evaluation of his back and throwing shoulder, the Herald reports . Johnson may indeed miss the rest of the season, but that will be determined after being evaluated. Alex Sanabia will draw the start in his place.
-- Evan Brunell
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