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Yankees' Nick Johnson to Have Surgery


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NEW YORK -- In what may be the least surprising injury news of the year in baseball, Yankees DH Nick Johnson will have surgery on his injured right wrist and will be out much longer than the Yankees initially believed. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Johnson wouldn't be able to pick up a bat for 4-to-6 weeks after the surgery (which is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday), so the earliest imaginable timetable for a return is a date sometime in July.

"This is not a quick fix," Girardi said before the Yankees' Monday night game against the Red Sox. "This is going to be awhile."

Johnson has been out since May 7 with the injury, which the team tried to treat with cortisone injections. But Johnson said the cortisone wasn't working and that he and the team came to the decision Monday to have the surgery and get the wrist fixed.

"It's frustrating," said Johnson, who has just one 500-at-bat season in a nine-year major-league career that has seemed to be defined by his propensity for getting hurt. "But we'll just get it fixed and be able to swing pain-free."

Johnson is batting .167 in 24 games for the Yankees, who signed him last winter to be their full-time DH after letting World Series MVP Hideki Matsui leave via free agency. His on-base percentage -- his traditional trademark stat -- is .388 thanks to 24 walks in those 24 games, but he struggled to get hits. The Yankees hope he'll be able to return at some time this season.

"I believe we're going to get him back," Girardi said. "Having surgery doesn't really change anything for me, though it is disappointing that he's going to be out longer than we anticipated."

Johnson is the most severe of several injuries the Yankees are dealing with as they begin a week that will see them play two against Boston, two against first-place Tampa Bay and three at Citi Field against the Mets.

Catcher Jorge Posada fouled a ball off his right foot in Sunday's game and was unavailable to play Monday, Girardi said. And outfielder Nick Swisher, who's been dealing with a left biceps strain that affects him when he bats left-handed, was also out of the lineup against right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka. Girardi said the switch-hitting Swisher would be available as a pinch-hitter against a lefty reliever.


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