Johnson has surgery; Glaus to DL
Closer Ryan now expected to miss four to six weeks
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays clubhouse has rapidly become an infirmary. On Monday, Toronto received a handful of medical updates involving its three walking wounded: All-Star closer B.J. Ryan, left fielder Reed Johnson, and third baseman Troy Glaus.
Ryan is expected to miss four to six weeks with a strained ligament in his left elbow, while Johnson will be out at least two months after deciding to undergo back surgery. Glaus joined those two on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left heel and a tight hamstring.
Ryan, who has been bothered by pain in his throwing elbow since the beginning of the season, met with renowned arm specialist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday. Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said that Andrews indicated that the Jays closer would not require surgery on the joint.
"It's serious enough, but not as serious as it could've been," Ricciardi said. "Hopefully, we'll get him back in time to help us out."
Ryan's injury is similar to the elbow ailments that sidelined Toronto starters A.J. Burnett and Gustavo Chacin last season. Being a reliever, Ryan might not require as much as recovery time as Burnett and Chacin, who each needed at least two months to get back on the mound.
The Blue Jays inked the 31-year-old Ryan, who landed on the 15-day DL on Sunday, to a five-year deal worth $47 million in November 2005. Last season, the southpaw posted a 1.37 ERA, recorded 38 saves and was named to the American League All-Star team for a second straight year. This is Ryan's first trip to the disabled list in nine big-league seasons.
On Monday, Toronto also announced that Johnson elected to have surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back -- an operation that will sideline the left fielder until at least July, but possibly longer. Dr. Thomas Tolli, a spine specialist, will perform Johnson's surgery on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Blue Jays placed Johnson on the 15-day disabled list last week after the outfielder complained of pain in his lower back. An MRI exam revealed the problem stemmed from a herniated disc. It's a similar issue to one Johnson dealt with during Spring Training, when he sat out for more than two weeks.
During the spring, Johnson indicated that he felt the most discomfort when running out of the batter's box. That issue also led to mild pain in his right oblique muscle. After resting the injury, Johnson was able to make his first spring appearance in a game on March 8.
The 30-year-old outfielder then played in seven games this season, posting a .265 average with one home run and seven RBIs before the back pain flared up again. With Johnson on the DL, Toronto lost its everyday left fielder and leadoff hitter.
"Reed's our spark plug," Toronto manager John Gibbons said on Friday. "He's our leadoff guy. He makes things happen. When he's rolling, we're good. He's one of the better outfielders in baseball. Naturally, no matter who you put out there, you're going to have a drop off."
Johnson led the Blue Jays with a career-best .319 batting average last season and ranked first among American League leadoff hitters with a .390 on-base percentage. He also set career highs in home runs (12), doubles (34), runs (86), hits (147) and walks (33). Johnson was also hit by 21 pitches to lead the Majors.
Toronto recalled top prospect Adam Lind to fill in for Johnson in left field. In 2006, Lind hit .367 in 18 games with the Jays in September. He's gone 4-for-8 at the plate with one double in his first two games with Toronto this year.
Making matters worse, the Blue Jays were forced to place Glaus on the DL on Monday, too.
Glaus' last appearance came against Detroit on Thursday, when he exited in the third inning with a tight hamstring. Glaus also has been bothered by a bone spur in his left heel, which forced him to leave the April 7 game against Tampa Bay prematurely as well. He'll be eligible to return during Toronto's April 27-30 home series against the Rangers.
Gibbons said last week that Glaus also dealt with the heel problem at times last season. Still, the third baseman was able to appear in 153 games and recorded 38 home runs and 104 RBIs. This season, Glaus is hitting .333 with two home runs and five RBIs in eight games.
Losing Glaus creates a big hole in the lineup for the Jays, who lack a true backup at third base. In Glaus' absence, infielders Jason Smith and John McDonald will split time at third, and Toronto also recalled infielder Ryan Roberts from Triple-A Syracuse. In seven games with the Chiefs, Roberts was hitting .269 with two home runs and six RBIs.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.