Josh Johnson threw off a bullpen mound on Monday for the first time since June, after which he revealed a possible explanation for the shoulder injury that has kept him on the disabled list since May: "tall man's syndrome."
The 6-foot-7-inch pitcher said his physical therapist told him that years of slouching and bending under doorways might have been a contributing factor in the shoulder inflammation that limited him to only nine starts this season.
"It's a matter of posture and a bunch of stuff that just kind of led up to it," Johnson said. "Years and years of being tall, you're always slouching down and bending over. You're shoulder's not in a good place. You start leaning over when you're throwing. It snowballs."
Johnson is now paying close attention to his posture, standing straighter to relieve pressure on his scapula and wearing a customized shirt that helps keep his shoulders back. As a result, he said when he walked into the clubhouse the other days, a couple of players mentioned that he looked taller to them.
Johnson was standing tall after Monday's 21-pitch bullpen session, one in which he threw only fastballs as he tries to rebuild his arm strength. While Johnson all but entirely discounted any chance of returning to pitch for the Marlins this season, he said he would like to face hitters in either a minor-league mini-camp or simulation game in October.
He said he was able to get extension on his pitches on Monday, something he was unable to do when he began throwing off a mound in June.
"Felt strong," Johnson said. "Totally different (from June). I wish I could go out there now and pitch."
Pitching coach Randy St. Claire was impressed with Johnson's session.
"I think he could step on a mound and get guys out tomorrow," St. Claire said. "But, health-wise, he's not in shape."
St. Claire said Johnson would probably throw again on Wednesday.
When Hanley Ramirez walked into the clubhouse on Monday, veteran outfielder Mike Cameron yelled out: "We can win some games now! El Nino is back!"
Ramirez smiled. But, the earliest Ramirez will be helping the Marlins win games is next season. Ramirez is awaiting the results of a CT scan on his injured left shoulder before a determination can be made on the type of surgery he'll have.
The Marlins have said the shortstop should be ready for Opening Day, but Ramirez is optimistic he can be good to go by spring training. Much depends, though, on whether he has arthroscopic surgery, as he had on the shoulder in 2007, or he undergoes a more invasive procedure, which would require a longer healing time.
"After the surgery, I've just got to work hard," Ramirez said. "I've done it before. Hopefully it won't take longer than it did before."
Ramirez said he expects to have the surgery within the next two weeks.
"It's time to get it fixed now so I don't have to deal with it next year," he said.
Mike Stanton (hamstring) took some practice swings on Monday, and manager Jack McKeon said he is hopeful the slugger can be available by Tuesday or Wednesday.
The clubhouse is becoming crowded. On Monday, the Marilns activated catcher John Baker, infielder Donnie Murphy and reliever Brian Sanches from the disabled list. They're expected to call up two minor-leaguers -- third baseman Matt Dominguez and pitcher Alex Sanabia -- on Tuesday.
The Marlins transferred lefty reliever Randy Choate to the 60-day disabled list.
Marlins: 1. Emilio Bonifacio, ss; 2. Omar Infante, 2b; 3. Jose Lopez, 3b; 4. Gaby Sanchez, 1b; 5. Logan Morrison, lf; 6. Mike Cameron, cf; 7. Bryan Petersen, rf; 8. John Buck, c; 9. Javier Vazquez, p.
Mets: 1. Jose Reyes, ss; 2. Ruben Tejada, 2b; 3. Lucas Duda, rf; 4. David Wright, 3b; 5. Angel Pagan, cf; 6. Jason Bay, lf; 7. Nick Evans, 1b; 8. Josh Thole, c; 9. Chris Capuano, p.