Major news here at Sun Life Stadium, where the Marlins have announced that Josh Johnson has been placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Johnson, who was scheduled to start Sunday, has not pitched since Monday in New York when his start was delayed by a wet field.
The Marlins have called up right-hander Jay Buente from Triple A New Orleans to make the start for Johnson in Sunday's game. It's unclear how much time Johnson will miss. Under a best-case scenario, he would miss just two starts. Johnson said he doesn't expect to be out for a lengthy period, perhaps no more than the 15 days he'll be required to be on the DL. Manager Edwin Rodriguez said he is hopeful that Johnson comes off the DL on schedule and make a June 1 start in Arizona, the final game of the Marlins' upcoming three-city road trip.
"But you never know with these things," Johnson said. "It's going to tell me. Just got to make sure we get it out of there, that it goes away."
Said Rodriguez: "They don't think it's too serious. I think it is a mild inflammation."
Johnson said he has felt discomfort in the shoulder "pretty much the whole year," but was always able to work out the stiffness in his warmup tosses. Such wasn't the case on Thursday, though, when he threw in his normal, between-starts bullpen session. After that, he decided to go to the coaching staff and let them in on the problem for the first time.
"It took everything I had to go and say something," Johnson said. "It's just kind of the way I am, the competitor I am. But, once I did it, it almost felt better, like something lifted off my shoulders. I'm kind of at peace with it. Now I can get it right and get back to feeling good like I was at the beginning of the season."
This is not the first time Johnson's right shoulder has been an issue. He ws shut down the last three weeks of last season with shoulder and back injuries. So far this season, he is 3-1 with a major-league leading 1.64 ERA. Johnson's 15-day DL stint is retroactive to Monday.
In Monday's start against the Mets, Johnson went just five innings and threw only 85 pitches. He was struck in the right forearm with a hard one-hopper. But x-rays revealed no damage and Johnson said he was fine afterward. He said his shoulder felt fine during the outing, after he had time to loosen it up beforehand in the bullpen.
"I felt fine," he said. "Everthing was coming out the same. Once I get loose it's loose. But it's been taking forever (recently). I just knew that it didn't feel right. it was really sore. It was actually my last bulpen where i started getting really sore. i woke up the net morning and I was like, 'Man, doesn't feel great.'"
Johnson, who hasn't thrown since Thursday, said he'll remain inactive the next couple of days before being reevaluated on Tuesday.
After alerting management to the problem, Johnson had a MRI on Friday, which revealed the inflammation. The Marlins immediately sent word to the Zephyrs and had Buente scratched from his scheduled start last night. Buente, who recently switched to a starting role after serving in the bullpen, has a 3-0 record (10 games, five starts) and leads the PCL with a 1.94 ERA. To make room for Buente on the 40-man roster, the Marlins transferred Donnie Murphy on the 60-day DL.
"There's no good time (for an injury), but this is probably the best time, early in the season," Johnson said. "(We can) catch it before it carries on into other starts. It's a good time to catch it."
Here's what Rodriguez had to say about Johnson's injury in the daily pre-game chat with reporters:
JOHN BAKER SETBACK -- And the injury news doesn't stop with Josh Johnson. Catcher John Baker, who is trying to come back from Tommy John surgery, has had a setback in his rehab program and has returned to Jupiter from Triple A New Orleans.
"Not improving at a rate acceptable to continue," Baker wrote in a text message. "Doesn't make sense to push forward too fast. Sill very early. Only 8 1/2 months since surgery. Taking a week off of activity then resuming a throwing program. Really frustrating. I just want to play baseball."
CLAY HENSLEY UPDATE - The Marlins are expected to activate reliever Clay Hensley (bruised left rib) from the disabled list on Sunday. Hensley pitched in a rehab outing in an extended spring game in Jupiter on Friday, delivering an 11-pitch inning in which he struck out a pair.
Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, cf; 2. Hanley Ramirez, ss; 3. Logan Morrison, lf; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Mike Stanton, rf; 6. John Buck, c; 7. Wes Helms, 3b; 8. Omar Infante, 2b; 9. Javier Vazquez, p.
Rays: 1. Sam Fuld, cf; 2. Ben Zobrist, rf; 3. Matt Joyce, lf; 4. Evan Longoria, 3b; 5. Casey Kotchman, 1b; 6. Sean Rodriguez, 2b; 7. John Jaso, c; 8. Reid Brignac, ss; 9. David Price, p.
Umpires: HP -- Wally Bell; 1B -- Laz Diaz; 2B -- Scott Barry; 3b -- John Hirschbeck.