Florida Marlins starting pitcher Josh Johnson has some of the best stuff in baseball. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re an opposing hitter) Marlins fans haven’t seen it as often as they would like due to injuries that have plagued him throughout his career. In 2009 he threw a career high 209 innings, but other than that his innings pitched by year since 2006 are: 157, 15.2, 87.1, 183.2, and 60.1. Johnson hasn’t appeared in a game this season since May 16th against the Mets due to inflammation in his right shoulder. When speaking with Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald he offered a possible explanation for the injury.
“It’s a matter of posture and a bunch of stuff that just kind of led up to it. 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 has been working on correcting his posture, with the help of a specially designed shirt that helps keep his shoulders back. At 6’7″ he fits most people’s definition of tall and according to players on the team he looks even taller now thanks to his more upright stance. Johnson’s rehab is progressing well (he reportedly felt fine after a bullpen session yesterday) but Marlins fans might not want to get too excited at the prospects of seeing him in the majors again this season. The team will surely be cautious, making a Stephen Strasburg type comeback not likely.
Johnson is just one of a slew of things that haven’t gone right for the fish this season. Hanley Ramirez has only played in 92 games (he’s currently dealing with a shoulder problem of his own). Logan Morrison’s tweeting has been a distraction at times. The team’s manager at the start of the season is not the manager now as Edwin Rodriguez resigned earlier this summer. Florida even had to play home games in Seattle because of preparations for a U2 concert.
With both the Marlins and Johnson crossing their fingers they’re on the right track in making sure his arm troubles are a thing of the past there’s a bright spot to what has been a disappointing season in south Florida. The Marlins move into their new $500+ million stadium next season and one way to keep fans coming through the turnstiles, once the novelty wears off, is a winning team on the field. Having Josh Johnson on the mound every fifth day would go a long way to making that happen.