Our last update on Josh Johnson's injury came from GM Josh Byrnes' interview with Darren Smith on March 25th. Byrnes said that Johnson's velocity had dropped off in the 5th inning of his last Spring Training start and afterwards experienced swelling in his elbow. Byrnes said the good news was that he had felt better everyday since. He explained "Sometimes these symptoms are nothing, sometimes they're Tommy John, sometimes they're more flexor mass, more of a muscular issue."
Unfortunately Johnson's symptoms have not improved and depending on which media source you read the injury is either in his elbow or his forearm. With each article that's written it sounds more and more like Johnson might need a second UCL repair surgery.
Johnson will visit Dr. James Andrews this week for a second opinion. It would be Johnson's second Tommy John surgery as well as his second elbow surgery within the six months, after he had bone spurs removed in the offseason. While Johnson could try to rehab the injury, attempts to do so since spring training have failed, and rarely do second opinions lead to suggestions against surgery.
Does Byrnes think Johnson will pitch for the Padres this season?
"I'm not sure," he said. "We'll know more next week."
If Johnson makes seven or fewer starts, the Padres can pick him up for $4 million in 2015.
Many fans are piling on the Padres since they've had so many players who've needed Tommy John Surgery in the last few years. I was eavesdropping last night on a Twitter conversation between our own Wonko and Will Carroll about identifying risk of Tommy John.
@wonkosd Very easy to see on ultrasound— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) April 16, 2014
I'd hope that the Padres are doing all their possible research on these players, but I also understand that they are a team that will have to take some significant risks on players in order to compete.
We'll probably know more next week after Johnson gets his second opinion from Dr. Andrews.