Pending free agent Josh Johnson underwent surgery Tuesday morning to remove bone spurs from his elbow believed to be at the root of his forearm troubles this past season with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Agent Matt Sosnick confirmed the news, first reported by MLB Trade Rumors, to sportsnet.ca, but deferred further comment on the procedure until the club released the news.
The surgery was performed by renowned specialist Dr. James Andrews, and Johnson is expected to need about five weeks to recover.
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The Blue Jays had hoped to see Johnson throw this month before making a decision on whether to extend the right-hander a qualifying offer, and while a bullpen session is out of the question post-surgery, Sosnick said that “any way that we could facilitate Toronto being able to answer their own questions, we will.”
“Josh now understands where the pain was coming from and realizes it was something fixable,” Sosnick added during an interview. “He would never make it out that injuries affected his performance, he takes full responsibility for his stats, good or bad. But it gives him a tremendous amount of confidence to know that the bone spurs were leading to him over-striding and all this other stuff where he was trying to move away from the pain. He has a lot of confidence moving forward.”
Johnson struggled through the worst season of his big-league career in 2013, posting a 6.20 ERA with 83 strikeouts and 30 walks over 81.1 innings. He made just 16 starts but had thrown at least 183.2 innings in three of his previous four seasons. His home run per nine innings rate of 1.7 was more than double his previous career high of 0.8 in his rookie season.
The Blue Jays haven’t publicly ruled out the possibility of making the 29-year-old a qualifying offer, but GM Alex Anthopoulos on Sunday said the team needed to do a better job of managing health risks in the players they acquire.
Qualifying offers are based on the average of the 125 top player salaries, a figure expected to come in at roughly $14 million.