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Padres' Josh Johnson could need Tommy John surgery

Jeff Passan
Yahoo Sports
San Diego Padres starting pitcher Josh Johnson throws before an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Cleveland Indians Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Peoria, Ariz
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San Diego Padres starting pitcher Josh Johnson throws before an exhibition spring training baseball game against the Cleveland Indians Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The Year of Tommy John surgery could soon add another victim to its docket.

San Diego Padres starter Josh Johnson's injured elbow isn't getting any better, and the organization is increasingly concerned he will need Tommy John surgery, the latest blow in his injury-plagued career, club sources told Yahoo Sports.

Johnson will visit Dr. James Andrews this week for a second opinion. It would be Johnson's second Tommy John surgery as well as his second elbow surgery within the six months, after he had bone spurs removed in the offseason. While Johnson could try to rehab the injury, attempts to do so since spring training have failed, and rarely do second opinions lead to suggestions against surgery.

The Padres signed Johnson to a one-year, $8 million deal over the winter in hopes he would rediscover his dominant self from his occasional healthy years with the Marlins. Instead, Johnson hit the disabled list at the beginning of the season with a strained flexor mass and may never throw a pitch for the Padres – although the club does hold a $4 million option on the 2015 season should Johnson start fewer than seven games.

Since 2007, when Johnson had his first Tommy John surgery, he has gone on the disabled list seven times with myriad injuries, including ulnar-nerve irritation, shoulder problems, triceps inflammation and now a pair of elbow injuries.

Nevertheless, because of his potential, Johnson has made nearly $50 million in salary. He led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010 and was similarly excellent the year earlier, his only full season in the major leagues.

If Johnson does go under the knife, he would be the 22nd confirmed player this season to have Tommy John surgery, the nickname for UCL replacement. Other pitchers include teammate Cory Luebke, Atlanta's Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, Tampa Bay's Matt Moore, Oakland's Jarrod Parker and Arizona's Patrick Corbin, all front-of-the-rotation starters.

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