Red Sox pitcher Brian Johnson working way back to Boston to help AL East title fight

Brian Johnson, who has been a spot starter and middle reliever for the last three years with the Boston Red Sox, made his second rehab start Tuesday in Trenton,  on the way back from an elbow injury.

The 28-year-old pitcher started for the Portland Sea Dogs, in the 9-8 win over the Trenton Thunder. He threw 52 pitches, and allowed three hits, three unearned runs, one walk, and struck out four.

After his outing, Johnson spoke about his outing.

“I feel good,” Johnson said.  “Physically I feel great. Mechanically I’ve got some things to figure out. I wanted to throw more splits. I threw a couple, but not as many as I wanted. My last outing, I didn’t throw many sliders, but today, I threw a bunch of sliders.

“So it is kind of working on things. Like I said, mechanically, I just need to figure it out right now.”

Johnson was not worried about his velocity at all.

“I am not worried about it,” Johnson said. “It is kind of the last thing I’m worried about.”

The Red Sox are the defending World Series champions, after they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1. Right now, though, the Red Sox (25-23)  trail the New York Yankees (30-17) by 5.5 games in the AL East, and are 3.5 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays (27-18).

Johnson wants to get back as soon as possible to help the team in the race, but will not rush back.

“That is honestly what I was talking about to Paul Abbott, the pitching coach here,”Johnson said. “I was with him when I was younger. He said it perfectly: there is no need to rush. If I rush, and I get back and I am not where I want to be, I am only going to hurt the team, when I can help the team.

“That is part of the problem for me. I want to hurry up and get back. But ultimately, after missing five or six weeks, that is almost like spring training for me. I know I have one more outing, and I will probably have one more after that. Then we will reevaluate after that.”

Johnson will next throw a side bullpen session, to see how he feels.

“I am going to throw a day two side, and try to work on it” Johnson said. “My arm felt great. When I reach back and I wanted to, I knew my velocity was going to be fine, especially in the second start. The side is where you can kind of work on things, and kind of get back to where  you want.

“I need to just take it one day at a time.”

Boston is currently +275 to win the Al East, behind the Yankees (+100) and Rays (+225) on BetStars NJ. The Red Sox are listed at +400 to repeat at American League champions, and +900 to win their second straight World Series title.

Photo by Forest Simon

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