Yankee designated hitter Nick Johnson could be out until August with what doctors are calling inflamed tissue in his right wrist. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the surgery could keep him out four six weeks more than the month Johnson was expected to miss.
Johnson took a cortisone shot in the wrist last week in Boston. If the treatment is not effective, surgery will be the next course of action. This will be the third time Johnson will have surgery in his career.
Cashman expressed his concern for the injury. The Yankee general manager would like to know the diagnosis as quickly as possible in order to have Johnson back in time to make a post-season run.
“It’s my intention to learn if [the shot] worked as soon as possible,” Cashman said before Saturday’s win over the Twins. “If not, then we want to go right to the surgery. When healthy, we know what this guy can do, but he can’t do anything for us right now.”
The Yankees and Johnson came to terms for a one-year, 5.5 million dollar deal in the spring. Johnson was expeted to take the place of designated hitter Johnny Damon in the lineup. However, Johnson has failed to produce.
In the first 24 games of the season Johnson has an average of .167 with two home runs, and eight RBIs. In his 73 at-bats he has struck out 23 times.
May 8 was the first time Johnson went to the disabled list after a game in Boston. It was the ninth time Johnson has gone to the DL in his nine year career.
Cashman admitted that Johnson would be a much more valuable player if not for his injuries.
“He’d be a $15 million a year player if he didn’t have this history of injuries,” Cashman said. “Instead you get what you get. When he’s healthy you get a real productive bat but at the same time you have to deal with this, too. I knew what I was getting into when I started this thing.”
The replacement for Johnson will be 27-year-old Cuban defector Juan Miranda. Miranda was added to the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre on Thursday, and is ready for an opportunity.
“Juan’s got ability and he’s been waiting for an opportunity, so he’s got it now,” Cashman said. “For now, any problems we have will have to be handled with the roster or Triple-A. Nobody’s interested in doing any business this early in the season. Before June 15, you’re basically on your own.”
Online Sportsbooks have the Yankees as the favorite to close out their series against the Twins with a victory at -150.