|More arm problems for Johnson?
Josh Johnson entered Thursday's game with just six walks in 50 innings, but he threw just 39 of 80 pitches for strikes and issued five free passes while laboring through four innings against the Brewers. He was yanked after batting for himself in the fifth frame, which immediately raised red flags, and Johnson admitted after the game that he experienced "shoulder weakness" and "just doesn't feel great."
Johnson has been fantastic since returning in the middle of last season following Tommy John elbow surgery, going 10-1 with a 3.15 ERA and 120/33 K/BB ratio in 137 innings while showing increased velocity and improved control. Obviously his history of arms problems makes Thursday's events particularly alarming, but so far the Marlins are insisting that it's nothing major.
While the Marlins hope their 25-year-old ace avoids another setback, here are some other notes from around baseball …
On an afternoon when Julio Lugo went 5-for-6 and the Red Sox racked up a total of 15 hits versus the Angels, David Ortiz was 0-for-7 and left a dozen runners on base in a 12-inning loss. I've been preaching patience with Ortiz despite his lack of power, but after watching him come up empty time after time Thursday as his line fell to .208/.318/.300 it's tough to still have faith in an impending turnaround.
While still not convinced that we've seen the last of Big Papi as a very productive player, I'm in agreement with Matthew Pouliot that continuing to let him flail away as the No. 3 hitter is a mistake by manager Terry Francona. Jason Bay is killing the ball, Mike Lowell looks good, and J.D. Drew will always get on base, so even without Kevin Youkilis there's no reason to let Ortiz keep giving away RBIs.
* Felix Hernandez struggled in his first two May starts and his fastball was down 2-3 miles per hour early in Thursday's matchup with the Rangers, but his velocity picked up as the game went on and he ended shutting out the AL's second-best offense for seven innings at their hitter-friendly ballpark. Unfortunately he still got stuck with a no-decision when closer Brandon Morrow coughed up a 2-0 lead.
Matt Harrison was the beneficiary of Morrow's latest implosion when Chris Davis' walk-off bomb turned his second straight complete game from a loss to a victory. He struggled early this year after posting a 5.49 ERA in 15 starts as a rookie, but Harrison is now 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA and 18/2 K/BB ratio in his past four outings and could be emerging as a viable option in AL-only leagues.
AL Quick Hits: CC Sabathia followed up last week's complete-game shutout with eight innings of two-run ball Thursday … Vladimir Guerrero (pectoral) is slated to begin taking batting practice Friday, but manager Mike Scioscia declined to give further details about his timetable … Victor Martinez and Asdrubal Cabrera both had four hits Thursday and Martinez is now hitting an even .400 … Pat Burrell is out until at least Sunday after receiving a cortisone shot in his stiff neck … Justin Verlander struck out 12 through six shutout innings Thursday, but struggled after staying it at 109 pitches and then watched the bullpen implode … Nolan Reimold should get a shot to play in the Orioles' banged-up outfield after batting .396 with a 1.239 OPS at Triple-A … Erik Bedard (hamstring) will likely miss his scheduled Saturday start versus Boston … Chien-Ming Wang (hip, foot) could be cleared to rejoin the Yankees if his second minor-league rehab start goes well Sunday.
NL Quick Hits: General manager Omar Minaya noted Thursday that the Mets will wait until this weekend to make a decision on Carlos Delgado's hip injury … Mat Gamel made his MLB debut Thursday as a pinch-hitter and struck out … After a nearly month-long wait MLB reduced Milton Bradley's suspension to one game, so he'll serve it Friday … Chad Billingsley and Cole Hamels both looked good in their Thursday afternoon matchup, but neither starter figured in the decision after Jonathan Broxton blew a save … Michael Bourn went 4-for-5 and swiped a pair of bases Thursday … Rick Ankiel (shoulder) is hoping to return from the disabled list when eligible May 20 … Wandy Rodriguez struck out 11 in Thursday's win at Coors Field, improving to 4-2 with a 1.90 ERA … J.J. Putz will be unavailable for at least two games with a bone spur in his elbow … Not to be outdone by Jayson Werth, David Wright stole four bases Thursday after entering the game 5-for-11.