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Josh Johnson Has Right Shoulder Inflammation and Mid-Back Strain

 

       (6:17 p.m.) The Marlins have announced that Josh Johnson has right shoulder inflammation and a mid-back strain, but that there is no structural damage. He will rejoin the club in Washingon on Friday, but no determination has been made about when his next start might be, or even if there will be another start this season.

         PHILADELPHIA -- No reports so far on what doctors found with Josh Johnson after he flew back to South Florida today, or even if they've completed their examination. But manager Edwin Rodriguez told reporters down in the dugout a moment ago that the Marlins will take no chances with their ace and will shut him down if they feel there's even a remote chance that he could compromise his future by pitching again this season.

         And for good reason. Johnson not only has three years remaining on his contract, but those three years will cost the Marlins $35.25 million. Johnson's four-year deal pays him $3.75 million this season, $7.75 million in 2011, $13.75 million in 2012, and $13.75 million in 2013. In other words, Johnson hasn't started earning the big dough.

         Under a best-case scenario, Rodriguez said Johnson would rejoin the rotation next Wednesday, at the earliest. That would mean he would make just four more starts the rest of the season. Is it worth risking three years for those, four largely inconsequential starts?

          "If there's any chance, any possibility, that he would get worse, we're going to shut him down," Rodriguez said. "You're asking me today, and I would say my opinion,  if there's any chance he's going to get worse -- just a little bit worse -- let's shut him down."

          Johnson is having both his back and throwing shoulder examined. Rodriguez said he has been aware of Johnson's back issues for a few weeks. He said he didn't learn that the shoulder was an issue until Tuesday.

         "We have to make sure that J.J. is okay, not only for the time being," Rodriguez said. "We have to make sure that his career is not in jeopardy. We have to make a decision on what is best for J.J."

        -- Ricky Nolasco underwent surgery on the torn meniscus on his right knee on Wednesday. The Marlins said the surgery went well and he could be good to go in four to six weeks -- just in time for the World Series!?

        -- The upcoming rotation will go like this: Alex Sanabia (Friday), Anibal Sanchez (Saturday), Chris Volstad (Sunday), Andrew Miller (Monday), Adalberto Mendez (Tuesday) and Johnson (Wednesday, but don't hold your breath). Rodriguez said Sanabia and Volstad would drop the appeals of their suspensions after their next starts. Sanabia received a five-game suspension for his part in the brawl with the Nationals. Volstad got six games. Gaby Sanchez, who received a three-game suspension, said he thinks his appeal will be heard on Saturday.

       -- Hanley Ramirez is not in tonight's lineup due to back stiffness that resulted from being hit by a pitch in the first game of Monday's doubleheader. Rodriguez said he could tell from Ramirez's swings on Wednesday that the bruise was bothering him.

       -- Rodriguez said he will stay away from Leo Nunez (stiff neck) and Jose Veras (flu-like symptoms) in tonight's game.

       LINEUPS:

       MARLINS: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 2. Logan Morrison, lf; 3. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 4. Dan Uggla, 2b; 5. Mike Stanton, rf; 6. Wes Helms, 3b; 7. Cameron Maybin, cf; 8. Brad Davis, c; 9. Andrew Miller, p.

       PHILLIES: 1. Shane Victorino, cf; 2. Placido Polanco, 3b; 3. Chase Utley, 2b; 4. Ryan Howard, 1b; 5. Jayson Werth, rf; 6. Jimmy Rollins, ss; 7. Raul Ibanez, lf; 8. Carlos Ruiz, c; 9. Cole Hamels, p.

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