According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, the Yankees are not confident that 1B/DH Nick Johnson will return at all this season and that they may look to trade for a replacement.
Johnson went on the DL almost a month ago with an inflamed wrist. The initial diagnosis was that Johnson would miss at least a month and then possibly need surgery to remove inflammation that would be another four to six weeks out. That would put him at an August return if surgery was necessary. It sounds like it may be necessary.
If Johnson did miss the entire season the Yankees would likely look for a bat to replace him, but it doesn’t seem completely necessary. Right now Jorge Posada is their everyday DH and they could just let him do that with Francisco Cervelli taking care of the catching duties. The Yankees might be worried that Posada will be upset about remaining the full-time DH and might not want to rely on Chad Moeller on days where Cervelli inevitably needs a day off.
It is also a shame that Jesus Montero is struggling so much offensively in Triple-A Scranton this season. Brian Cashman and the rest of the front office insisted that they would not call him up to the majors this season, but it would be a lot cheaper for the organization to simply call him up than to be forced to deal some prospects and expand payroll (David DeJesus is one name that keeps getting mentioned and he won’t come cheap).
Keep an eye on Montero though because once Posada is healthy enough to handle catching duties again if Baby Jesus starts hitting and Cervelli’s numbers slip a little the Yankees will be tempted to call him up. The biggest reason for keeping him down this season were defensive and from what we hear he is doing well defensively this season so if that bat shows signs of life it is legitimate to think he could get called up.
That bat will have to heat up though otherwise we won’t see this kid until September at the earliest.