Padres News: Padres Josh Johnson Nearing Return


As the San Diego Padres start the month of May, they near the likely return of another powerful starting pitcher, Josh Johnson.

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Johnson was signed in the 2014 off season, but was quickly sent to the DL after requiring a second Tommy John surgery.  According to Bill Center of, he could be ready to return to the Major Leagues as soon as June.

In the young 2015 season pitching has unexpectedly been the Achilles Heel of the Padre squad, especially the bullpen.  This has been a departure from the past few years, when the Padres’ incredible bullpen basically ensured a win whenever they were given the ball with a lead.

With the additions of Shawn Kelley, Brandon Maurer, and Craig Kimbrel, the bullpen was supposed to be even more improved, but each member of the ‘pen has had their individual struggles.

Starters have had their struggles too, seemingly giving up runs in games when the NL leading scoring offense provides little support.  Andrew Cashner said it best in a post game interview:

"“You have yet to see us pitch the way we are capable of pitching”"

When the Padre pitching that we know and love comes around to combine with the one of NL’s leading scoring offenses, we should expect to see a really dangerous club.

We will see if Johnson can return to his old form after a second surgery.  It’s a challenge for any pitcher to rebound after just one.  But lets just say he did, where would he fit into this Padre pitching staff?

This season our best pitchers have surprisingly been Brandon Morrow and Odrisamer Despaigne.

Morrow has held opponents in check in all of his starts this season, earning him a 2.73 ERA and a team 5-0 record when he starts.  In the two spot starts Despaigne made for the injured Ian Kennedy, he was lights out, and looked like the ace of the pitching staff.

With Despaigne still being delegated to the bullpen after several stellar performances, I do not see Johnson cracking the rotation by replacing any of the top five pitchers.  I expect him to ease his way back to the Major Leagues alongside Despaigne in the bullpen.

Another interesting possibility is the Padres trading away Ian Kennedy.  He is in the last year of his contract, and is owed nearly $10 million this year.  If Johnson looks like he can provide more depth to this pitching staff, I would not be surprised if AJ Preller tried to package Kennedy for an upgrade at shortstop.

Where do you think JJ will fit in with the Padres when he is ready?  Or will he even be a factor after a second Tommy John surgery?

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