Blue Jays scratch Josh Johnson from tonight’s start


The Blue Jays have scratched right-hander Josh Johnson from tonight’s start with right triceps tightness. They say it’s precautionary and he will make his next start in five days. Former Yankee Aaron Laffey will be on the bump instead.

Even though the Yankees have positively stunk against southpaws this year (61 wRC+), I’d much rather see them face the soft-tossing Laffey instead of a potential dominator like Johnson. My only real concern is Travis Hafner, who has started just two of the last six and three of the last nine games because of all the left-handers the team has seen of late. With J.A. Happ scheduled to pitch tomorrow it could be three starts in the last eleven games if Joe Girardi sticks to his platoon guns. That’s an awful lot of time off and Hafner has been way too productive (191 wRC+) for the team to risk him losing any rhythm and timing at the plate.

Categories : Asides


  1. Zanath says:

    I think they need to just start Hafner, platoons be damned. He has a better chance of doing something positive against a lefty than Francisco has.

    • The Real Me says:

      I generally agree with you. Hafner is just better. However, I could see Girardi sticking with Ban Francisco (I like that one) for this game if he truely is just trying to get him going. A soft-tossing lefty might help him, if only for a game.

      Personally, I’d prefer to see thim bring David Adams up and dump Francisco now. It’s not like they’re using Francisco in the outfield on any sort of regular basis.

      • Monty says:

        As I agree with the Adams move for Francisco, someone mentioned something about him having to wait until May 15th to rejoin the 40man roster after being release and resigned prior to the season beginning. Can anyone confirm this?

        • Mike Axisa says:

          I think it’s 30 days from the date of the release, which would be April 28th. Not sure if the rule applies to guys with no MLB time though.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

            I think because he was released before opening day, it may be May 15.
            Any player who has been unconditionally released between midnight, August 31 of any championship season and the opening day of the following championship season, may not be re-signed to a Major League Uniform Player’s Contract by the releasing Major League Club until May 15 of that following championship season.

            I’m not sure if being called up while on a minor league deal constitutes being re-signed to a MLB contract or not, but I would think it does.

    • jjyank says:

      I agree as well. I totally understand and support not playing Hafner every day to try to keep him healthy. And if you’re gonna do that, you may as well have him sit against lefties. But the Yanks have faced a bunch of lefties lately, and Hafner is just a better hitter than Francisco. I’d much rather see Hafner in there tonight, lefty or not.

      • hogsmog says:

        I sort of agree, but I really do think keeping Hafner healthy needs to be a priority, at least through the ASB. I would throw him in against lefties as-needed, say if Nova/Hughes is pitching, or if it’s Cervelli’s off day (I know, I know, but he’s hot and I’m willing to roll with that for now).

        • jjyank says:

          In a vacuum I agree, but the Yanks have been facing a lot of lefties recently, and Hafner has had plenty of rest. They’re facing a lefty tonight and tomorrow, and I think Hafner needs to absolutely play in one of those games. In a stretch with so many lefties, there needs to be a balance between keeping him healthy, and keeping him in a groove.

    • Tom says:

      He doesn’t even have to give up platoons.

      just platoon Ichiro…Francisco is supposed to be a 5th “outfielder” – put him in the damn OF. He has played 3 innings in the field; if you are not comfortable with him in the OF, why is he on the roster?

      Girardi has transformed the roster into 2 platoon DH’s and a lefty pinch hitter (Boesch). With Youkilis day to day, there are pretty much no backup position players on the bench right now except for the catcher…

  2. Eddard says:

    Yeah, he was “scratched” all right. With “triceps tightness.” It’s really called “Ben Francisco will hit 2nd tonight because Girardi is an idiot”-itis.

    • Steve (different one) says:

      65% of the time, it works all the time.

      That makes no sense.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I think it’d be kind of hilarious if other teams devised a strategy of starting all lefties just to force Joe to bat Francisco second.

  3. LK says:

    I’ve been beating this drum for a while, and I’ve seen several others mention it as well. Get Hafner rest to try to keep him healthy, but blindly sitting him against every single lefty is just asinine.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Right, he has to sit once in a while to stay healthy. But three starts in nine games (potentially three starts in eleven games), most against division rivals, is way overboard.

      • LK says:

        Even if Girardi is desperately trying to get Francisco going, just throw him in the OF and give Ichiro a day off. Hafner’s probably the second best hitter on the team. I don’t normally have much of an issue with Girardi, but if he keeps Pronk on the bench the next two days that’s a big issue.

  4. Craig says:

    The last you want to do is mess with Hafner’s timing by having him sit out too frequently, as well.

  5. Eddard says:

    Folks, Girardi isn’t going to play Hafner tonight or tomorrow because there’s a lefty on the mound! And Francisy had some good swings last night is what he’ll say in the pregame. I would hope even Girardi could realize that opponents are now inventing injuries just to face Ben Francisco, that’s how bad he is.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Ben Francisco had had a shit ton of loud outs this season. That and $3 will buy you a Starbucks.

      That either means he’ll break out in a major way next week and go on a massive 10 home run tear, or he will have the loudest 8/60 tenure in Yankees history.

      • Mouse says:

        Um, what have you been watching? I’ve seen maybe two “loud” outs. Even Chris Stewart has had them.

        Most of his outs are either K’s, pop fouls or flyouts.

        • MannyGeee says:

          In fairness, I have “watched” two games with Francisco in as DH and in those games he hit two balls to the track and 3 foul home runs. one of each of those last night. I would consider those loud outs.

    • gageagainstthemachine says:

      Francisy…with the pronunciation emphasis on “sissy“!

  6. mitch says:

    The most frustrating thing about Francisco is that he’s the DH. They could pluck anyone from the system or off the street and stick him in that position. There’s not a more replaceable position in sports.

  7. Steve (different one) says:

    There is no way Josh Johnson could be hurt. I was assured during the offseason he would immediately slip into the AL East, stay healthy and dominate.

    • Havok9120 says:

      Just like ‘ole Mark Mark’s soft-tossing finesse game would play up perfectly.

      • jjyank says:

        Don’t forget about Reyes and his history of durability.

        • Jonathan says:

          Melky was guaranteed to hit like last years Melky and Bautista’s wrist was never a concern.

          • LK says:

            We might want to wait until we’re a little further into the season before we start gloating, guys.

            • jjyank says:

              Sure. I just find it mildly amusing after hearing so much about the Jays all offseason.

            • Havok9120 says:

              No. I refuse. I so rarely do anything even approaching gloating that I will take this opportunity.

              They could very well turn it all around (I expect them to to a certain extent) but we were told by a very large proportion of people on here that the Jays’ question marks were hardly even worth considering. That these guys not only would be very good this season but that they’d almost certainly need no time to adjust to the AL and that their massive injury concerns were nothing compared to what the Yanks had. No logic could turn that argument around, and peddling any counter-arguments was enough to be labeled a lemming or Pollyanna.

              So I will gloat. Not at the Blue Jays fans (everyone does this when their team makes a splash and the media rallies to a team’s cause) but against the people here who insisted on insulting the intelligence of anyone who insisted that the Jays were a colossus of baseball awesomeness when compared to the geriatric Yankees.

    • MannyGeee says:

      Also, moving all these guys with no chemistry from Miami to Toronto would help them gel together. Because nothing speaks builds camaraderie like a road trip, AmiRite?

  8. BeanTooth says:

    And couldn’t Francisco’s parents have had the decency to at least name him Sam. He’s just a nonentity now. At least make it fun for the kids watching on TV.

  9. Mark says:

    When has Girardi EVER managed against his book? The book says, sit a lefty platoon player against a lefty pitcher……so, that’s what Girardi does. Its simple.

  10. Steve (different one) says:

    Seems to me that during ST, the Yanks figured out that Jeter was going to be primarily a DH for at least the first half of the season. When Jeter missed opening day, Francisco made the team. He was going away for Jeter and Boesch was going down for Granderson. After they found another crack in Jeter’s ankle, they now face this hole in the lineup for 2 more months. Francisco will get another few weeks to hit, and if he doesn’t, the next guy will get a chance. He’s been terrible, but it’s still only been 30-ish ABs.

    • Mouse says:

      And 30 AB’s will turn to 60. The Yanks can’t afford to give away that many outs. The line up isn’t very strong as it is already.

      BF is your prototypical dead weight right now.

      • Jim Is Bored says:

        Everyone win with Francisco in the lineup is in the books though; we only have to worry about moving forward. It might not give us the best chance to win, but stranger things have happened.

        In other words, we can win in spite of Girardi too.

      • Steve (different one) says:

        And his next 30 ABs are guaranteed to be the same as the first 30.

        I don’t want to be a Ben Francisco advocate, I really have no opinion on the guy. But the point is that we as baseball fans understand 30 ABs is a tiny sample….until its a guy we don’t like. Same with batting order. All the data says it doesn’t matter much, until we disagree with a lineup.

        • The Real Me says:

          But we’re the fans. We know better than the experts with all the data we don’t have access to. Of course these 30 ABs matter as will whatever number of additional ABs he gets going forward.

        • LK says:

          Sample size only matters when the numbers disagree with my opinion, Steve. It’s the first rule of statistics.

    • mitch says:

      Francisco isn’t Ichiro or even Vernon wells. I don’t know why they need to give him an extended chance to prove himself. He hasn’t hit lefties well since 2010, and even then he wasn’t great.

  11. mitch says:

    Too soon to throw out trade candidates? Chris Denorfia?

  12. mt says:

    I agree on keeping Hafner healthy but Joe should also adjust a little given the circumstances – we also need to keep Hafner’s bat productive and his timing on.

    Given lefty pitcher parade, 2/3 Rays, now 3/4 Blue Jays, and (according the post yesterday from Mike) 1/3 Astros, 2/3 A’s and 2/3 Rockies, he should start some (not all) games against lefties – maybe ensuring he tries to avoid 2 straight days off. The lineup as currently constituted struggles against lefties so that could be one change – the change would be the upgarde from Francisco to Hafner. Now Hafner does not mash lefties but he probably is better than Ben.

    Also if he wants Francisco to play to finally determine whether he gets DFA’d in May, why can’t he sub for Ichiro a game or two or have Ichiro play center and sit Gardner for one game?

    • Eddard says:

      They should play him tonight and against one of the As lefties. He won’t even play in Colorado except as PH since it’s on the road. They’re keeping one of their best hitters on the bench. He doesn’t play the field and only plays 3 days a week, surely he can play 4.

  13. Roadgeeek Adam says:

    It’s Aaron Laffey. If he can’t hit off Laffey, then DFA him. I mean hell, look at Laffey’s production with the Mets this year. ;)

  14. Jonathan says:

    Even if you could somehow convince me to hit Francisco over Hafner…besides the odd day for rest…why does he have to hit 2nd? Ichiro looks f’ing DEAD and I’d rather have him or Nunez hit 2nd so at least they could bunt/hit and run and have speed on the bases ahead of the big bats in the odd chance they get on base.

    • MannyGeee says:

      In fairness, Ichiro is starting to hit. And Ichiro’s body of work is fer FAR better than Francisco’s…

      • Jonathan says:

        In fairness, I just said I’d rather have Ichiro or Nunez hit 2 hole over Francisco…so not sure where you’re coming from?

  15. Vern Sneaker says:

    Chance that Hafner runs into one off Laffey vs. chance that Francisco
    does? Give me Hafner any day or night.

  16. Robinson Tilapia says:


    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I hate and greatly regret that you all can’t see the infinity Ben Francisco bomb I just threw. Damn you, Axisa.

  17. Commenter From The Future says:

    Now I understand why Commissioner Francisco had all the bloggers killed in 2022!


    • MannyGeee says:

      Huh… I was almost positive that they would have had Commissioner Torre’s head in a jar in 2022, like President Nixon in Futurama.

  18. Vern Sneaker says:

    “No, you must be Don Francisco’s sister.”

  19. SeventhAce says:

    You can’t continue to march Ben Fuckin’ Francisco out there.

    Let’s just say Joe “Baseball Tactician” Girardi really wanted to give him his chances against LHP to “warm” up. But how many do you keep giving him till you fucking realize that it just isn’t going to work?!

    Give him 60? 90? 120? more ABs?

    Watching him hit is infuriating. It doesn’t seem to be a power problem considering the amount of fly ball hook shots into foul territory. He just doesn’t make good contact or he isn’t picking up the pitches at all.

    If they’re going to continue using him against LHP, at least have him bunt if there are men on base. OR lean into some pitches so he can draw a fucking walk.

    Girardi is crazy for mindlessly marching a weak RH DH out there just because a LHP is starting and no I will not apologize even if all of sudden he is raking it. It’s the equivalent of someone saying “the world is ending” every day until it really does and then he runs around gloating about how his prediction was right.

    TL;DR Joe Girardi needs to wake up and stop platooning like a fucking idiotic.

  20. Tom says:

    Francisco is the DH tonight… at least he’s hitting 9th.

    The professional baseball player is hitting 2nd.

    Well at least Girardi is reducing the amount of damage his platoon stupidity is doing.

  21. forensic says:

    I can certainly understand preferring to see Laffey over Johnson, but I don’t think it’s quite that simple. Johnson seemed far from dominant last week and that’s much more recently than they’ve seen Laffey. In addition, you’ll see a parade of lefties out of the bullpen after Laffey leaves, giving more potential frustration to this lineup, especially Cecil who was schooling them last week (if I remember correctly). .

    In other news, tonight’s lineup against a somewhat similar soft-throwing lefty as last night suddenly has Francisco batting 9th instead of second, as Girardi basically screams to the public “I have no idea what I’m doing with my lineups!”. I can certainly come up with better options for batting 2nd than Nix, but just about anything is better than Francisco at least.

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