November 19, 2009 in Sports

M’s catcher Johnson has had it with knives

Kirby Arnold Everett Herald
 

Johnson
(Full-size photo)

The surgeons have had their hacks at Rob Johnson the past month.

Now the Seattle Mariners’ catcher is eager to spend the rest of this offseason getting his body back in shape for the 2010 season.

Johnson had his third surgery in a 32-day period when he had ligament damage in his left (non-throwing) wrist repaired Tuesday in Seattle. Since Oct. 16, he has had operations on both hips and the wrist.

He has avoided a fourth surgery when a magnetic resonance imaging exam Friday on his right elbow showed only bone spurs and no ligament problem.

“I’m exhausted from the surgeries,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I don’t have to worry about going into surgery anymore, because any time you do that you’re a little bit nervous and stressed. I am ready to relax for a little bit and just concentrate on my rehab.”

Tuesday’s surgery on his wrist was a breeze compared with the two on his hips, because Johnson stayed awake for it. He was able to watch a video monitor as Dr. Carleton Keck, a Bellevue hand and wrist specialist, performed the surgery.

“I was sick of getting put under. That was a request of mine,” Johnson said. “They did a block in my arm and I watched the whole surgery, and it was incredible.”

Obviously, he isn’t squeamish.

“You can’t be if you’re a catcher or a hunter, and I’m both,” Johnson said.

Before Keck repaired the damage, he showed Johnson the good side of the wrist, then the bad side.

“It looked kind of like spaghetti, lots of loose ligament. At least I think it was ligament,” he said. “They repaired it and when he was finished he showed me the good side and the bad side again, and they both looked the same to me.”

Johnson said the wrist injury was the product of wear and tear over time and not a specific injury.

“You’ll jam the wrist a little bit and continue to play on it,” he said. “It could be a collision at home plate or jamming it into the dirt when you’re sliding. It could have been any given thing.”

He will return today to his home near the Mariners’ training complex in Peoria, Ariz., and continue his recovery with six-day-a-week workouts. Doctors continue to say he should be ready when spring training begins in mid-February.

Spring slate set

The Mariners will begin their 33-game spring training exhibition season March 3 in Peoria against the San Francisco Giants.

They also will play exhibitions April 2-3 against the Colorado Rockies in Albuquerque, N.M., and April 4 against the Giants in San Francisco before opening the regular season April 5 at Oakland.

The Mariners will play 17 games in Peoria, including one March 26 against the Cincinnati Reds, who are moving from Florida to a complex in nearby Goodyear, Ariz. The Reds will become the 15th team to train in Arizona and the ninth located in the West Valley area of the metropolitan Phoenix, where the Mariners’ complex is located. The Mariners will play only five of their Arizona exhibitions next year outside the West Valley area.

The Mariners haven’t announced reporting dates for their players, although the earliest any team can open camp is Feb. 17 for physical exams and Feb. 18 for the first workout by pitchers and catchers. The earliest that full-squad workouts can begin is Feb. 23.

Single-game spring training tickets will go on sale in January.


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