The latest Florida Marlins pitching woes.
MIAMI GARDENS — When the pain in Josh Johnson's right forearm never seemed to go away, everyone in the Marlins' organization prepared for the worst.Even when Johnson is healthy again to pitch, the odds are he won't ever be effective again. Tommy John came back, but that's an exception when it comes to severe arm injuries.
And on Thursday, they got the news they were expecting.
Johnson, who came into the season as the team's No. 2 starter after a strong rookie year, was expected to have ligament replacement surgery on the right elbow this morning, costing him the rest of this season and likely the next.
Johnson met with orthopedic surgeon James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., and got the news that he would need the procedure, commonly called Tommy John surgery.
The average recovery time for pitchers is nine to 18 months, Andrews has said in the past, meaning Johnson likely will aim for a return in 2009.
Last week, team owner Jeffrey Loria suggested Johnson's arm problems started on Sept. 12 when then-manager Joe Girardi brought Johnson back into a game following an 82-minute rain delay.
Johnson finished 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA as a rookie, but didn't pitch for the rest of the season after that game.
The general rule with young pitchers is their arms are fragile and if worked enough will get hurt. Earl Weaver used to say the best place for a rookie pitcher is long relief. Bill James once pointed out there were very few or any Hall of Fame pitcher who had a good rookie outing. Tom Seaver being an exception. For every Seaver, how many Don Gullets, Gary Nolans, Jim Busbys, Herb Scores etc have there been? Many, and as long as baseball continues as a sport, many more will come.
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