Highly touted acquisition Josh Johnson made his first rehab start yesterday throwing three innings allowing only one run, no walks and five strikeouts. This must bode well given that pitching line that Johnson is ready to return to the majors and become the dominant starting pitcher the Blue Jays hoped they had acquired.
However scouts who had attended the Dunedin, FL minor league game were less than impressed.
According to a story by Danny Knobler of CBS Sports:
Johnson pitched three innings Monday night in a minor-league rehab start, his first game action since an April 21 start for the Blue Jays. The numbers — three innings, one run, no walks, five strikeouts — weren’t bad.
The scouting reports were worse.
“OK, but nothing great,” said one scout who saw Johnson this spring and was in attendance Monday. “He was pitching at 91-92 [mph]. He didn’t pitch like he did in the spring. He looked healthy, free and easy, but there were a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate.
“He threw some nasty sliders, but there were others that major-league hitters would hit for home runs. And his fastball didn’t have a lot of life.
“In a big-league game, he would have gotten hit hard.”
It was only one start but for the Blue Jays to have any chance (slim as they are) to get back into the playoff hunt a healthy and dominant Josh Johnson is needed. We knew he was injury prone and this is likely costing Johnson millions as an impending free agent next year.