MIAMI -- A reason the Marlins are optimistic about their playoff chances in 2009 is because of their talented young rotation.
One of the best in the group is 6-foot-7 right-hander Josh Johnson, the 24-year-old who has made a remarkable recovery from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.
On Wednesday, the Marlins avoided going through the arbitration process with Johnson, as they reached agreement on a one-year, $1.4 million contract, MLB.com confirmed. The deal includes another $50,000 in incentives.
Bouncing back from surgery, Johnson joined Florida's rotation this past July, and in 14 starts, he went 7-1 with a 3.61 ERA. In 87 1/3 innings, he struck out 77 and walked 27. He also recorded his first career complete game, going the distance on Aug. 27 at Atlanta.
This is Johnson's first season being eligible for arbitration.
A fourth-round pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Johnson enjoyed a strong rookie season in 2006, posting a 12-7 record with a 3.10 ERA. But in a start in September of that season, he experienced right forearm tightness in his throwing arm. On Aug. 3, 2007, he underwent the surgery, which was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
The normal recovery time for such surgery is 12-18 months, but Johnson was back in the Marlins' rotation on July 10.
Johnson has a career record of 19-11 with a 3.54 ERA.
With the right-hander now locked up, the Marlins have eight remaining arbitration-eligible players -- Jorge Cantu, Ricky Nolasco, Dan Uggla, Jeremy Hermida, Alfredo Amezaga, Cody Ross, Dallas McPherson and Logan Kensing.
While Johnson has agreed, the Marlins have not moved closer to finalizing a deal with Nolasco.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.