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Is Josh Johnson's Season Over?


           PHILADELPHIA -- Josh Johnson's season is now in jeopardy as the ace of the Marlins' pitching staff will be returning to South Florida on Wednesday to have his back and throwing shoulder examined by Dr. Lee Kaplan.

            At the very least, Johnson will miss his scheduled start on Friday. But there are growing concerns that Johnson might be forced to miss the rest of the season, as he has only five more starts left on his pitching calendar and the Marlins might not want to take the risk on their investment.

             Johnson is in the first year of a four-year contract he signed over the winter.

             "We're more concerned with his back than his shoulder," said manager Edwin Rodriguez. "We're going to fly J.J. back to Miami. They're going to check his back and his shoulder. He's going to miss the start on Friday. Then we will decide if he'll be able to pitch next week or not."

              Rodriguez said Alex Sanabia would start on Friday. Sanabia's appeal for his five-game suspension stemming from the brawl with the Nationals will not be heard until next week. But the Marlins are dangerously thin on starters. Ricky Nolasco is already out for the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

              If Johnson is finished, the cast that remains includes Sanabia, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Andrew Miller and Adalberto Mendez.

           -- The Marlins optioned catcher Chris Hatcher to Double A Jacksonville after Tuesday's game.  Hatcher never saw action with the Marlins since being called up on Sept. 1.