Johnson sidelined with elbow irritation

Red Sox don't believe lefty prospect's injury is serious

Johnson sidelined with elbow irritation

NEW YORK -- The Red Sox had hoped to get a more extensive look at prospect Brian Johnson down the stretch, but those plans are on hold after the lefty exited his last start for Triple-A Pawtucket with some irritation in his left elbow.

"It's in the ulnar nerve area," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I don't know how long of a shutdown he'll go through. Obviously the elbow situation flared up on him and he's on the DL with Pawtucket."

The good news is that Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington doesn't believe that Johnson's UCL is damaged, and the club will treat the injury conservatively.

Johnson made his Major League debut for the Red Sox on July 21 in Houston and gave up three hits and four runs over 4 1/3 innings. In that start, Johnson's velocity was lower than he displayed in Spring Training, and perhaps the elbow issue was starting to develop then.

Perhaps Johnson -- ranked as Boston's No. 4 prospect by MLB.com -- will recover in time to get another start or two in the Majors before the season ends.

Johnson has made 18 starts for Pawtucket this season, going 9-6 with a 2.53 ERA.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.