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Josh Johnson blames “tall man’s syndrome” for arm injuries

Sep 6, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

Josh Johnson AP

After months of false starts and setbacks Josh Johnson was finally shut down for the season a few days ago, meaning he ended up missing the final 120 games of the year with a shoulder injury that is still described as merely “inflammation.”

Johnson has a long history of arm problems, limiting one of the most dominant starters in baseball to an average of just 119 innings per season since his brilliant debut in 2006.

And yesterday the 27-year-old Marlins ace told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that “tall man’s syndrome” may be to blame for all the injuries:

It’s a matter of posture and a bunch of stuff that just kind of led up to it. Years and years of being tall, you’re always slouching down and bending over. You’re shoulder’s not in a good place. You start leaning over when you’re throwing. It snowballs.

Johnson apparently got that theory from a therapist and Spencer reports that the 6-foot-7 right-hander is “now paying close attention to his posture, standing straighter to relieve pressure on his scapula and wearing a customized shirt that helps keep his shoulders back.”

My initial reaction is to note that plenty of short pitchers have similarly lengthy injury histories and plenty of tall pitchers are injury free, but at this point Johnson and the Marlins are probably pretty open to ideas about how to keep him off the disabled list.

  1. Old Gator - Sep 6, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    Oh, brother – I can’t wait to hear what Randy Johnson has to say to this particular bit of faux-medical sophistry. Well, let’s see – in the noir film classics starring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake, both of whom were so short that they had to wear elevator shoes and work on sets all of whose tables and chairs had had their legs sawn down to make the stars look taller. Perhaps what the Feesh need to do is to lower the mound by a foot or so, move it back from the plate by eighteen inches, and expand the outfield fences by a few yards to make Josh look smaller by comparison.

    Or maybe he could just work with a pitching coach who knows what the hell he’s doing and correct the flaws in his motion whereby he keeps crippling himself.

    Otherwise, I guess what I’m curious about is whether “tall man syndrome” means the dreaded “no structural damage” or not.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Sep 6, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Roy Halladay is 6-foot-6. He doesn’t seem to have tall man’s syndrome.

    • President Miraflores - Sep 6, 2011 at 8:31 PM

      Right, Doc’s has been the poster boy of durability during his career.

      • President Miraflores - Sep 6, 2011 at 8:31 PM

        Make that “Doc’s been” or “Doc has been,” whichever you prefer.

  3. vintage1496 - Sep 6, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Christ Almighty, stop commenting about the Phillies on non-Phillie posts. You’re even more of a troll than… well I actually enjoy Craig’s trolling, but still, more of a troll than him.

    • thefalcon123 - Sep 6, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      You sound as bitter as Scott Rolen was toward Phillies management!

  4. philsgamer - Sep 6, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Don’t bring Christ into a non-Christ related post!

  5. SOBEIT - Sep 6, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Sounds like they are getting desperate to identify the cause of all his injuries. To me, this is just guess-work by the physician and team. Sometimes, you just have to blame bad genes. He had the skills to get to the bigs, just not the physical attributes to compete year after year and stay healthy. I don’t think there is a test for that, just like not being able to forecast who will be a healthy and productive player in their late 30s to early 40s…some people are just built stronger to handle the daily and yearly physical challenges of sports in general.

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