— Buffalo Bisons (@BuffaloBisons) May 23, 2013
Johnson, who has been on the disabled list since May 2nd with right triceps tightness, made his initial rehab start for Advanced-A Dunedin on May 20th and the results looked good on paper, with Johnson throwing 3 innings while allowing 1 run and striking out five in the outing. However, he pure “stuff” was not great, as he topped out at 92 MPH in the game and didn’t show a lot of movement, according to Danny Knobler at CBSSports.
According to Fangraphs, Johnson was living with an average fastball around 93-94 MPH and topping out at 98 prior to his injury. As he builds up arm strength, that should start to return a bit toward that line.
That said, the Blue Jays and Johnson are still targeting a return in early June. That should give Johnson time to make at least two starts at Buffalo before the team evaluates if he is ready to return to the rotation.
When he does come back, Johnson will be looking to improve upon a season that has been rocky to say the least. The 29-year-old has an 0-1 record with a 6.86 ERA, a 4.1 BB/9 ratio, and a 8.7 K/9 ratio in four starts thus far in 2013.
Of course, Johnson has more than just the Blue Jays to consider in regards to his season performance. He is also due to become a free agent at the end of this season, and could become a prime trade candidate if the Blue Jays cannot get themselves back into the race for a playoff spot.