NEW YORK — Reed Johnson underwent minor surgery on Saturday to repair a damaged tendon in his left foot, according to a person familiar with the situation. Johnson landed on the disabled list on Wednesday, a day after he felt “a big pop” in his foot running out of the batter’s box on a pinch-hit double in the Nationals’ dramatic eight-run comeback.
Johnson, 38, was removed from the game. He underwent an MRI exam and visited a foot specialist. The damaged tendon was repaired in a procedure this weekend. The timetable for Johnson’s return is unclear but he is expected to be out for an extended period. He is expected to return later this season, perhaps as soon as this summer.
The Nationals hoped Johnson — a veteran pinch hitter, backup outfielder and professional clubhouse figure — would be a key part of their bench this season. They signed him in the final week of spring training the day the Marlins released him. Johnson, who has hurt his left foot in the past, was 4 for 18 with two RBI so far this season, including 1 for 7 as a pinch hitter.
Johnson was placed on the DL with what was listed as a calf strain. But Manager Matt Williams admitted late last week that it wasn’t technically a calf strain, and instead an issue with his foot and ankle area.
The Nationals called up outfielder Michael A. Taylor to fill a backup outfielder role and take Johnson’s spot on the roster. The Nationals bench is currently made up of Taylor, catcher Jose Lobaton, first baseman-outfielder Clint Robinson and Tyler Moore. Dan Uggla and Danny Espinosa have split playing time at second base, although Espinosa has played more recently. Nationals pinch hitters are 5 for 28 with a .531 OPS, ninth in the NL.