Johnson out until Tuesday with a stiff back


The Yankees won convincingly with their regular designated hitter and number two hitter on the bench yesterday, but they thought they would have him back in the lineup today. Turns out that Nick Johnson‘s stiff back was a little worse than he originally let on, and he’s going to be out of the lineup until Tuesday’s series opener in Baltimore. Apparently he thought a little whirlpool action would loosen things up, but alas.

Johnson isn’t concerned about this being a long-term issue, but everyone’s going to hold their breath when dealing with a guy with his injury history. He’s stuck in a little 1-for-23 slump (the hit came Friday), but NJ has also drawn nine walks and gotten hit by a pitch during that time, so he’s still getting on base.

Categories : Asides, Injuries


  1. Stryker says:

    but..but..but…according to jon heyman it doesn’t matter that NJ is getting on base!!

  2. larryf says:

    This will be good for the team and hopefully for Nick. We’ll see how that long plane trip back to the White House is on his back. Isn’t it strange for NJ and Curtis to get to go to the White House? Lucky for them.

    BTW, if Grittner has another great game how long before someone says we have Godner and Jesus is on the way?

    • pete says:

      ? Are you really comparing Brett Gardner to Jesus Montero? Really?

      • Stryker says:

        i really don’t see larryf comparing the two at all. he’s simply making a biblical connection in gardner’s name, much like the RAB commenters do for montero.

        way to make something out of nothing.

  3. crawdaddy says:

    With an offday tomorrow, it’s not surprising that NJ is getting today off.

  4. How Ya Doin says:

    I’m so glad we have him instead of Matsui (.310/.380/.563, 11 RBI 4 dingers)…

    the guy’s fouling off piped fastballs and it’s annoying. hopefully he shapes up.

    • pete says:

      By season’s end, you will be glad we have Nick Johnson and not Matsui.

      • How Ya Doin says:

        Right. One drove in 6 runs in a World Series game, and the other played a career high 147 games last year at the ripe old age of 30. Look, I hope you’re right, but Matusi rocks and NJ is mediocre.

        • Tom Zig says:

          Any player could have driven in those 6 runs. Matsui – right place, right time.

          • How Ya Doin says:

            Wow. I get you guys defending NJ b/c that’s who the Yanks went with, but marginalizing a World Series hero, that’s something else. That’s just ungrateful.

            • Zack says:

              You’re taking 1 game and somehow making it proof that Matsui “rocks” and NJ is “mediocre.”

            • pete says:

              Shane Spencer was a playoff hero. He also sucked. David Eckstein has a WS MVP as well. He also sucks. The reason: anything can fucking happen in the ridiculously tiny sample size that is a single postseason.

              Now I’m not (and nobody else is either) “marginalizing a World Series hero”. I’m very grateful for his contribution to ’09. But I think it is downright insane to think that those 6 games will have any bearing whatsoever on 2010. Matsui has throughout his career been an excellent hitter. Nick Johnson, however, has been ever so slightly better, and came at a cheaper price, and doesn’t have chronic knee problems.

              If you honestly think that, without a substantial amount of valid statistical evidence, you’re more likely to be right than Brian Cashman, you need to get your head checked out.

        • pete says:

          one is younger and a better offensive player. (Hint: it’s Nick Johnson)

          career wRC+:

          Johnson: 129
          Matsui: 127


          If you want to talk about RBIs or ONE FREAKING GAME’s worth of sample, than please do it elsewhere, because talking to people who don’t think that it’s necessary to back up their claims with any empirical evidence whatsoever is always circular, tiring, annoying, and boring.

          • dalelama says:

            Naturally I don’t think you stat proves anything because NJ got his numbers against inferior competition and in less pressure situations. Really when was the last time a Nationals at bay really meant anything. If you would really have NJ batting in a clutch situation rather Matsui I would respectfully disagree.

      • Wisdom. says:

        Yeah… no.

    • Tom Zig says:

      Better to let a guy go a year early rather than a year too late

      Oh and I think you should show some more patience. Will you be singing the same toon when Matsui hits a slump and NJ is smacking it all over the place ?

      • How Ya Doin says:

        when in his career has NJ smacked it all over the place? when he had a career high 77 RBI last year?

        • Tom Zig says:

          RBI is not very indicative of his performance. You could have pointed at his SLG% at least. But then again he was recovering from a wrist injury that sapped his power.

          NJ – 122 OPS+
          Matsui – 131 OPS+

          Was Matsui better? Yes. Is NJ an adequate replacement? Absolutely.

          NJ had a .426 OBP
          Matsui had a .367 OBP

          I’ll take the OBP with the possibility of NJ’s power coming back thanks to the lefty friendly confines of YSIII.

          • How Ya Doin says:

            Whichever numbers you want to use, Matsui has something special that NJ simply doesn’t. With a man on 2nd and 2 out, a base hit will drive in that run, a walk obviously wont, and Matsui could hit the ball just as well off of lefties as he did off righties. You resign that for $6M.

            • Zack says:

              Career RISP w/ 2 outs

              Matsui: .258 AVG
              Johnson: .256 AVG

              wait……….. what???

              • How Ya Doin says:

                I stick to my “Matsui has something about him” argument. There are some guys you want at the plate in game 7 of the WS, and there are some guys you’d rather not be up in a key moment. If you’re telling me that you’d rather have NJ up over Matsui in that situation, I simply wont ever buy it.

                • Zack says:

                  So if stats and facts dont back up your argument, just go with what you feel so no one can dispute that right?

                • 28 this year says:

                  OBP is a better indicator of a good hitter because it literally says how often a player doesn’t get out.

                  Feeling something doesn’t say anything. Based on that argument, Varitek should be in the hall of fame because I feel like he has a penchant for catching no hitters even though it is just an argument when stats and facts say he sucks.

                • pete says:

                  I would rather have Nick Johnson in that situation because he’s less likely to make an out, and Mark Teixiera and Alex Rodriguez bat after him.

                • Spaceman.Spiff says:

                  Career RISP w/ 2 outs
                  Matsui: .258 AVG
                  Johnson: .256 AVG

                  I feel like that had to be re-emphasized for How Ya Doin. You can stick to whatever you want but you would be making stuff up.

                • Steve in PDX says:

                  what he said

                • Wisdom. says:

                  I guess we’ll all forget that Johnson built his career to date facing lower quality competition in a meddling organization. Who’s the real AL NJ? .329 wOBA or .393 wOBA NJ? (Previous two seasons in NY, long time ago warning) Point being is that Johnson made a good living out of raping a weaker division, now we’re all wondering if he’s a product of the NL. No reason to jump to the fences saying that NJ is better than Matsui or vice versa. The point is that Matsui produced at a high level in a more competitive league than NJ over the same period of time; and that there are legitimate reasons to be doubting NJ from what we’ve seen this past month.

                • mike c says:

                  +tender tissue

                • pete says:

                  I think the “weaker competition” label only really applies (long term, anyways) to pitchers. In the end, hitters in both leagues are going to face pitchers from all different types of talent levels.

                  I suppose, especially considering how close the two have been in production, that one could make the argument that Johnson’s better offensive #s don’t necessitate his being a better offensive player, but one could just as easily counter that with the simple fact that Matsui is 5 years older, has a known chronic injury on both knees, and wound up costing another million nonetheless.

                  Before this season started, Nick Johnson was a younger, less injured (caveat: not necessarily less injury-prone), slightly cheaper, and slightly better DH. A hot April from Matsui and a correspondingly “cold” (25% walk rate is still studly) April from Johnson does not change that.

            • bexarama says:

              when your argument relies on “something special” and that’s about it, it’s not a very good argument

            • pete says:

              It’s really irritating when people say things like “whichever numbers you want to use”. That would imply that they are all on a level playing field. If you want to use OPS+ and I want to use wRC+, that’s one thing. But if you’re implying that you can make a legitimate argument wherein an RBI holds any weight against something like wRC+, then you’re just plain old wrong.

              Oh, and 77 RBI is downright Pujolsian if you play for the Nationals.

    • Mike HC says:

      I would rather have Matsui too, but I don’t think it is that easy. I doubt Matsui accepts the same deal from the Yanks as he did the Angels. As Damon basically did the same thing. So it is not really fair to directly compare the two as if the Yanks had an equal chance at both of them. Both Matsui and Damon would have had to come with more years and/or money then they ended up signing with the Angels and Tigers.

  5. Ansky says:

    Yet somehow, Matsui continues to play everyday.


  6. bexarama says:

    where are the clowns?
    send in the clowns
    don’t bother, they’re here

    (feel free to interpret this comment as you would like. It *is* on topic, though.)

  7. Mike Z says:

    Matsui >>> Johnson

    This is no knock on Nick Johnson, it is just plain simple fact that Matsui is BETTER then Johnson. The Yankees are playing great ball right now and their lineup is stacked. Why the constant comparing of the two? Matsui is gone,Johnson is here, lets go Yanks!!

    • 28 this year says:

      just saying it is a fact doesn’t work when evidence on the contrary is all around you.

    • pete says:

      based on what? Nick Johnson has (slightly) out-produced Matsui throughout his career. Due to better raw power, Matsui’s best years outstrip Johnson’s, but Johnson is a reliable .400 OBP guy. Matsui is a reliable .365 OBP guy. It would take a huuuuuge IsoP difference to overcome that.

  8. bonestock94 says:

    We can concede that as of April 25th Matsui is better than Nick Johnson. We can also say that the Blue Jays are better than the Red Sox, the Padres are better than the Rockies, and A’s are better than the Angels. The point is just freaking wait.

    • bexarama says:

      this, pretty much. Matsui is doing better than Nick Johnson right now, certainly. I don’t think anyone would deny that. But it’s been less than twenty games!

  9. Steve (different one) says:

    I think there are plenty of valid ways to argue that Matsui is a better hitter than NJ. How Ya Doin’ hasn’t really done that, but I’m not sure the response to his argument is that NJ is better than Matsui.

    To me, it was simply a bet on who was more likely to stay healthy. Plain and simple. The Yankees knew more about Matsui’s knees than anyone, and they made an educated decision to let him walk. If he does indeed stay healthy this year, that doesn’t mean they made a “bad” decision.

    Matsui is an excellent hitter and was a great Yankee, but we can’t pretend like that risk did not exist.

    • bexarama says:

      I’m a big NJ fan, obviously, but I don’t think anyone would go with Johnson over ANYONE for health reasons.

    • Zack says:

      Right, but his claim was that Matsui rocks and NJ is mediocre. It’s that’s his claim then he has to ya know- prove it- which he failed to do.

      They are pretty much the same level of hitter (1 has more power, 1 has more plate discpline- so it equals out). But dont come here and say NJ is mediocre and Matsui rocks because of RBIs, or because Matsui gets hits with RISP w/ 2 outs, while NJ only walks, or when all else fails- just say there’s something special about him that you cant measure.

      • Steve (different one) says:

        agreed, he didn’t really prove his point with the two pronged attack of:

        1. Matsui had 6 RBIs in one game (which was admittedly super awesome)
        2. Matsui has “something special”

        but his overarching thesis does have some merit. Matsui is probably a better overall hitter than NJ.

        you can compare their numbers all you want, but one thing no one has adjusted for is that Matsui has done it all in the big boy’s league. that does count for something.

        i say this all as a huge NJ fan who was psyched when they signed him and still has full faith that he is going to start hitting.

    • mike c says:

      You are correct sir

    • pete says:

      At their relative peaks I’d absolutely agree with you. Matsui’s best offensive years were truly excellent. Having said that, though, he’s had only a couple of those. For the most part he’s been in the slightly-below-Nick Johnson-range. I recognize that there is a league differential, but I don’t think there’s much evidence that it is significantly harder to hit in the AL. There are plenty o’ shitty pitchers in our league too. The big difference is in the lineups.

      The two have certainly produced at very similar levels throughout their careers, but Johnson’s #s are better, if only slightly. The biggest difference, though, is that Matsui is significantly older and has chronic knee problems, and is therefore very unlikely to produce anything close to what he did last year.

  10. Coach6423 says:

    No one seems to remember how the average “fan” wanted Matsui DFA’d, or traded for a bag of baseballs last May…

    • Steve (different one) says:

      lol. this is true. i remember after Sheffield was DFA’ed, there were many fans wondering why the Yankees wouldn’t eat a similar sum of money and do the same thing.

  11. Drew says:

    He is who we thought he was.

  12. I’m disappointed. all this NJ/Matsui bickering has taken the focus off of what’s really important. We have a headline with “stiff” and “Johnson” in it and still no jokes?!?!?!?

    I guess i have to do it.

    You know if Johnson still feels stiff after 4 hours, he really should consult a physician.


    forget johnson stun the baseball world and sign barry bonds for a million lol just a thought

  14. Hughesus Christo says:

    I’m glad we spend so much time discussing the 8th or 9th most important spot in our lineup.

  15. mustang says:

    I’m just happy he is only sign for a year.

  16. mike c says:

    Prediction, matsui plays more games than stiff johnson this year

  17. gxpanos says:

    I can’t wait for when The Johnson ends the season with a near 900 ops.

    Critics: WAIT.

  18. Joseph M says:

    Nick Johnson is already in the process of breaking down, the only question is when he will arrive on the DL.

    Nick is a young player with old player skills. I think Johnson’s career will end before Matsui’s. Let’s see what happens.

  19. dalelama says:

    I guess having to play that one game at first was just a little too taxing for the “dainty” one.

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