Scary diagnosis for ex-Tiger

Those of you who remember Jason Johnson’s two seasons in Detroit know about his dealings with diabetes. Now he has another serious health concern — melanoma of the right retina. It apparently was discovered during a routine eye exam when he went to the optometrist for a new contact lens prescription because his vision was blurred in his right eye.

From the story:

Johnson was sent to the renowned Wills Eye Institute in
Philadelphia, where a certain amount of fear began to set in. His first
meeting with the staff featured a particularly memorable exchange with
a doctor.

“There are three things we do here — the first thing is to save your life,” she said.

Johnson gulped, thinking. Johnson said he thought, “I’m worried
about making a baseball team this year, and now I’m worried about my

The next two things they would do at Wills, she told him, were
to save Johnson’s eye and his vision, in that order. Another doctor
asked Johnson how financially stable he was, and Johnson felt shock —
was his baseball career over?

“What are you talking about?” Johnson recalls thinking. “That’s kind of a bad thing to start off with.”

Johnson was a non-roster invitee in Yankees camp trying to win a bullpen job. Now he has much bigger concerns. Needless to say, here’s hoping everything turns out as well as can be expected for Jason. The story goes on to say there’s a 98 percent recovery rate for people with his condition. But I thinks it also brings home the importance of scheduled eye exams. You just never think about something like cancer involving your eyes.


Here’s hoping for the best of outcomes for Jason Johnson.
Couple of thoughts about the club and management:
DD has made some questionable moves the last few years but I think you have to give him credit for a lot of the subtle moves he has made through attrition. Maroth, Ledezma, Young, Pudge, Casey, Stairs, Monroe, Logan, Miller, Walker etc. Many of these guys were figured by some to be keepers but DD (to his credit) employed pretty smooth exit strategy for most of those names. Thus opening up the roster for some exciting players with potential.
Granted, there was the Renteria trade in there but I think he feels worse about that than anyone. How could you know that this guy would change leagues again and show up in the worst condition of his career?
There are still a few moves that I think DD could have pursued this off-season. I think the fruit was ripe on the tree for Magglio. Hessman or Thames or Raburn had RHB value that seemed to go unregarded. A lead-pipe-cinch closer would have been a coup but the new austerity budget program nipped that in the bud.
This year does look promising. Granted we are in the “High Season” so to speak with all the glowing reports and the ‘hope & dream” mindset in full bloom. But this is a better team. Last year was indeed the “imperfect storm” with all the key injuries and positional changes. But the one factor that I don’t think we wil see this year is the total lack of momentum that we seemed to deal with all last year. The guys just could not ever get it going, even when they did string a few together. They had a horrible collective negativity complex that is unlikely to be duplicated.
A few things have to change for sure. The emphasis buy players, management and media on how “happy” a particular player may be is one of them. Stubborness in in-game managment is another. That also goes for a fixation on repeating mistakes in lineup selection with and idea that things will self correct. If a guy is stinking the joint up, you gotta get him out of the lineup. This team has capable reinforcements. Get this club running the bases properly and tell Curtis you want to see him challenge the league leaders in stolen bases. Tell Magglio that he has to cut down on first pitch swinging if there is a runner on first and less than 2 out.
As to the new faces I hope the give Fien a shot. The kid simply throws strikes. He didn’t walk a single hitter in Winter ball and I wonder if he even got to a 3 ball count on anyone. This is the one huge area of failure for Tiger pitchers last year and at least they have done something to address this problem with the acquistion of Rick Knapp.
I don’t hold out much optimism for Wiliimson and Rincon. I think they substitutes for Farnsworth and Glover. I’d much rather see them move up a kid.
I hope Nate can trasition to the bullpen effectively. I say that because that would mean that Dontrelle (who wouldn’t transition to the pen), has regained his game and solidified the rotation with a much needed southpaw. ( Yeah, I read the article about the 84 Tigers and the 54 Indians but this IS 2009.) I hope Bondo can master a 3rd pitch (I can’t believe a MLB starter has lasted this long without one.)
As much as I thoroughly enjoy watching Brandon Inge play 3B, I do hope he is not able to charm management into playing him everyday if he continues to show no improvement or willingness to adapt offensively. Both he and Sheffield can be very demotivational if they become self absorbed with their struggles at the plate. Again–there are reinforcements on this team.
Here’s hoping also for a good guy like Carlos to find a home on the ball diamond. “There will be blood” for a while but he is capable of making the switch-no question about it.
One of the keys this season will be getting off to a good start. JL will need to shake things up right away to make sure these guys don’t sit back and wait for a 3-run bomb. He also (as mentioned already) has to get Curtis going. I hope this most impressive individual and player can start off with a bang. He has a tendency to get in a pretty deep rut sometimes. The end of the year last year when he dropped from about .310 to .280 in a matter of weeks is a prime example. It was painful to watch.
Even with a twinge of bitterness left from the 06 Series and the debacle that was 2008, I am looking forward to another Tiger season and my first road trip to Seattle in April.
I hope you all enjoy the season.

Mr. Beck

I truly hope and pray for the best for Mr. Johnson.
Good luck also to Justin Verlander as he is reportedly staring the Spring schedule.

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