Montreal placed the first baseman on the 15-day disabled list Saturday one day after he fractured his right cheekbone. Johnson, who the Expos acquired in an offseason trade that sent Javier Vazquez to the New York Yankees, was injured Friday when a hard shot by Rockies’ shortstop Royce Clayton took a strange hop and hit him in the face.
“They are telling me four-to-six weeks and the chances of me coming back this season aren’t very good,” said Johnson, who was sidelined by a back problem in spring training and did not make his Montreal debut until May 28.
“We’re certainly going to miss him,” manager Frank Robinson said. “He’s a tremendous, tremendous defensive player at first base. He’s saved us a lot of times over there. … Offensively, he looked like he was starting to swing the bat a little better.”
Johnson was fresh off being named NL player of the week for Aug. 9-15 after he went 8-for-18 with two homers and 10 RBIs in that span to help the Expos win five of six. He has struggled with injuries in each of his five years in the majors.
“He plays hard. Those kind of players have a tendency to get hurt. I wouldn’t want him to change his style,” Robinson said. “I take what I can get from him. I just want him to heal properly. If he can get back before the end of the season, get some swings in, great. If he doesn’t, then get healthy, come to Spring Training in good shape, and have an injury-free season next year. He’s got to have one somewhere.”
The Expos fell to the Rockies 5-2 on Sunday for their fifth loss in seven games.
Todd Helton homered in his second straight game to end the Rockies three-game skid. The first baseman, who entered the series without driving in a run since Aug. 6, is batting .522 (12-for-23) over a seven-game hitting streak.