Josh Johnson's second day in a row of throwing on flat ground didn't go so well.
Johnson, who has had a sore right forearm since Jan. 19, won't throw today but will try to resume throwing on Saturday.
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this doesn't bode well for him being in the rotation at the start of the season. But it isn't just the start of the season that concerns me, I'm not sure that he can make it through 20-30 starts especially since, at this point, he can't even flat-ground throw consistently. And we're not talking about long toss, he can't even soft toss two days in a row. It's not looking good.
If Johnson can't go, the natural replacement would be Serigo Mitre but he still isn't ready.
His teammates are throwing live batting practice, but Mitre continues to pitch on the side to strengthen the shoulder. He is throwing every other day with the hopes of catching up to the rest of the staff.
Mitre estimates being at about 70 percent. His priority right now is rediscovering his mechanics and arm slot.
"I'm trying to be a little bit conservative so it comes to that point where, `OK, got to go,'" Mitre said. "I should be ready for the start of the season. The only thing that stinks about taking the pace I'm at is that I won't be ready for the [Grapefruit League] games as quick as I want to be."
(emphasis is mine)
With the chance that Johnson won't be able to go at the start of season, maybe, just maybe, Sergio can assume the slot in the rotation. But if he can, we do know this, and by his own admission, he will have faced live hitting less than desired. The rotation at the start of the season may not be the one we would fancy.
It also could have an effect on the bullpen. This is a bit of stretch but possible, say neither Johnson or Mitre are ready to go at the start of the season, then the starting job would fall to Pinto. Now, of course, this gives the Marlins three left-handed starters but would leave only one left-handed pitcher in the bullpen, Tankersley. And it is hard to believe the club would use their only lefty relief man as the closer, even if he won the job out of spring training.
Get well soon guys!