SAN FRANCISCO -- With Jay Buente designated for assignment, Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said Tuesday he didn't know who would start Saturday night against the Dodgers.
Johnson, who was placed on the disabled list retroactive to his last start May 17 with inflammation in his shoulder, was hopeful he would be available to pitch June 1st. But it appears the Marlins could be on the verge of now taking a more cautious approach.
"Replacing JJ is not an easy task," Rodriguez said. "[Saturday] might be a bullpen day, [the starter] might be a guy down in the minor leagues.
"I think it all depends on JJ. We’ll see if he’s able to get ready for June 1st. Right now, we don’t have a word on how JJ is doing because he hasn’t thrown yet. It all depends on how JJ recovers."
Johnson, who made the trip with the Marlins to San Francisco, said his shoulder "feels a lot better than it did before." But asked if he was still targeting June 1st, he said "I’m not really targeting anything."
"I just want to get it healthy and ready to go, ready to go for the long haul," Johnson said. "It’s not a reach [I could pitch June 1]. But we’re going to make sure it’s totally gone before we get it ramped up."
The Marlins could opt to start long reliever Burke Badenhop, who is 2-3 with a 6.95 ERA in 10 career major league starts. Or, they could dip down into their system and take right-hander Tom Koehler, who is 5-0 with a 2.92 ERA for Triple A New Orleans.
Either way, Wednesday’s starter Chris Volstad said the rest of the Marlins rotation needs to step up with Johnson out.
"Javi [Vazquez] did a great job the other night. He dominated," Volstad said. "Hopefully with JJ it will be a short term thing and he’ll only miss one other start. But until then, we have to pick up the slack and try to pitch as well he does to keep us in the race. That starts with me."