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Johnson's tests inconclusive

Johnson's tests inconclusive

JUPITER, Fla. -- A series of tests taken on Friday still didn't pinpoint exactly what is wrong with Josh Johnson's throwing arm.

The belief remains that it is a nerve-related issue in his elbow/biceps area. It's likely that the 23-year-old Marlins right-hander will undergo specific tests to see if there is nerve irritation.

"I guess they have tests for that -- I don't know too much about it," Johnson said of how nerve issues are discovered.

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Johnson said on Saturday that MRIs were taken on his elbow and shoulder, along with a bone scan. All of those results came back favorably.

"The waiting game ... again," Johnson said. "They ruled out a stress fracture and they checked the ligament again. My shoulder looks better than it did a couple of years ago."

Once again, ligament damage has been ruled out.

Odds are, Johnson could miss a significant portion of the 2007 season. If surgery is required, he would likely be out the entire year.

"I'm trying to get back [this] season, trying to get back to the team as soon as possible," Johnson said. "Whatever I can help out, if I get stuck in a certain role, that's fine. Whatever I can do."

Johnson threw twice off flat ground in Spring Training, but he felt discomfort after his second session. He remains in a "no-throw" period.

Johnson has said that his ailment could be similar to what Dodgers right-hander Brad Penny experienced in 2004. He has a nerve-related problem that caused him to miss more than two months.

As a rookie in 2006, Johnson finished 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA, making 24 starts and appearing in 31 games.

If Johnson is cleared to pitch this season, chances are, he may not automatically be inserted into the starting rotation. As Johnson noted, he will accept any role. So he could be possibly be used in relief.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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