A week ago, Nick Johnson appeared ready to make a final push toward the All-Star Game. But after suffering a deep bone bruise of his right heel, the Washington Nationals first baseman missed a week's worth of games. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday.
Johnson played catch in the outfield prior to Sunday's 5-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs, but General Manager Jim Bowden said it was unrealistic to think that Johnson would be ready this week.
"He wasn't able to put weight on it yet," Bowden said. "He's not hitting yet. He can't even hit in the cage yet. So baseball-wise, even if he was better by the middle or the end of the week, he's not going to be ready. Now, we'll get a healthy Nick Johnson the first day after the all-star break."
The move is retroactive to June 27, the day after Johnson hurt the heel. The Nationals will call up Matt Cepicky from Class AAA New Orleans on Monday. Through Saturday, Cepicky was hitting .274 with 14 homers and 58 RBI.
The loss of Johnson is significant for the Nationals, but it is devastating for Johnson. Hitting .320 with eight homers and 42 RBI in 74 games, Johnson hoped this would be the season he put behind a history of injuries. This is now the sixth consecutive season Johnson will spend time on the disabled list. "I have to get it to where I'm walking without pain," he said, "and make sure I feel 100 percent."