The Yankees now know why no one else seriously wanted Nick Johnson.
The veteran designated hitter settled for a one-year deal with the Yankees last winter. The defending champs hoped for an injury-free season filled with walks and a high on-base percentage. No dice.
Johnson’s already inconsistent year that features a .167 batting average will be reduced even further once he undergoes surgery on his sore right wrist. The procedure will likely happen today and is expected to sideline the 31-year-old until after the All-Star break.
Johnson is on the disabled for the ninth time in his career and has a serious wrist injury for the second time in three years. Two years ago with the Nationals, he had ligament surgery and appeared in just 38 games.
Johnson had three successful cortisone shots after that season and returned to full strength. He expected the same results this time after a shot on May 7 to treat what the team called tendon inflammation. After nearly a week, though, he still experienced severe pain and that convinced him to get the surgery.
“We were doing all the treatments we could do,” Johnson said before last night’s series opener against the Red Sox, which ended too late for this edition. “The same movements that were bothering me were still there.”
Johnson will not be able to pick up a bat for four to six weeks, which would take him to mid-June or the end of the month. Assuming that goes well and he appears in rehab games, his return might not occur until the second half.
“This is not a quick fix,” manager Joe Girardi said. “This is going to be a while.”
In the interim, the Yankees will continue a rotating cast at DH. Alex Rodriguez took the role last night as Ramiro Pena started at third.
“It’s been a bit of a problem area for us,” Girardi said about the DH spot.
The Yankees have produced just seven hits out of that spot since Johnson hit the disabled list May 8.