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Johnson prepares for multiple surgeries

Johnson prepares for multiple surgeries

Mariners catcher Rob Johnson, who was right-hander Felix Hernandez's personal catcher for most of the season, will have surgery on Friday to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, the first of several surgeries he faces in the next several weeks.

In approximately three weeks, Johnson will return to Colorado for an identical operation on his right hip.

After three to four weeks of rehabilitation, Johnson will return to Seattle, where he will undergo an operation on his left wrist. That procedure will be performed by wrist specialist Dr. Carlton Keck.

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The hip ailments, which were detected during an MRI exam on Oct. 5 in Seattle, are similar to the injury Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez had earlier this year. Marc Philippon, the doctor who operated on A-Rod, will also perform the surgeries on Johnson in Vail, Colo.

"From what [the doctor] says," Johnson said, "I'll be fine and ready for Spring Training."

Johnson's injuries were first reported on Monday morning by KIRO radio reporter Shannon Drayer on her blog.

Johnson, who played in 80 games, batted .213 with two home runs and 27 RBIs.

The 27-year-old rookie became Hernandez's personal catcher on May 24 and was on the receiving end of Hernandez's 15-2 finish, a run that catapulted the staff ace into an All-Star and an American League Cy Young Award candidate.

Although the hip problems bothered Johnson for most of the second half of the season, he continued to catch Hernandez's starts. The catcher was hobbled at the end of the season when he sprained his left ankle while celebrating Ichiro Suzuki's walk-off home run against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

Johnson twisted his ankle when his foot landed in one of the holes in the right-handed hitters' side of the batter's box.

"The ankle actually feels pretty good," Johnson said from Butte, Mont., where he grew up and on Sunday hosted a fundraising event for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Ronald McDonald House charities.

"I don't have to ice my ankle anymore," he said, laughing. "I just step outside. It's really cold up here."

Johnson said his wife, Kristen, and their family would leave for Vail on Tuesday, and he would have the surgery on Friday, spend a couple of days there recuperating, and then go to Peoria, Ariz., for a rehab program before returning to Vail for a second surgery.

Jim Street 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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