San Diego Padres right-hander Josh Johnson is set to go under the knife once again, as he will reportedly undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com. The procedure will be performed by Dr. James Andrews, and should sideline Johnson until mid-2015.
Johnson, who joined the Padres as a free agent this winter, suffered a strained flexor muscle in Spring Training that has prevented him from pitching this season. As part of the deal Johnson signed with San Diego in November, the Padres now hold a $4 million club option for 2015 due to a clause that would be triggered were Johnson to start fewer than seven games (he has zero) in 2014.
Johnson, 30, was atrocious for the Blue Jays last year (6.20 ERA in 81.1 innings, though his FIP was somewhat better at 4.62), but as recently as a year ago, Johnson was considered one of the game's best pitchers. From 2008-2012, Johnson posted a 3.06 ERA, 136 ERA+, 2.99 FIP, 8.3 K/9, and 21.9 for the Florida/Miami Marlins. Unfortunately, Johnson's frequent injuries have sidelined him for great periods of time (he has topped 100 innings just four times since 2006), including a prior Tommy John surgery in 2007. Johnson also underwent an operation to have a bone spur removed from his elbow in October.
The Padres' rotation has gotten along just fine without Johnson and fellow Tommy John victim Cory Luebke. The staff currently ranks 9th in baseball in rotation ERA (3.12) and 5th in FIP (3.26). The rotation has been anchored by stalwart Andrew Cashner, who has been among the best pitchers in baseball so far this season. The team has also gotten strong performances from Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, Eric Stults, and Robbie Erlin.