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Johnson done for year

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Well, Nick Johnson’s worst fears were confirmed today. The Nationals’ first baseman had surgery to repair a small ligament tear in his right wrist, a procedure that will knock him out for the rest of the season.

The arthroscopic surgery performed by specialist Richard Berger at the Mayo Clinic found a “small split tear in a ligament on the ulnar side of the wrist,” according to a team press release. The club says Johnson will be 100 percent for the start of spring training.

What a blow to both the Nats and to Nick, who has to feel like the most cursed player in baseball. He spent more than a year coming back from his broken leg, had tears in his eyes when his name was announced on Opening Night at Nationals Park and was starting to find a groove at the plate when he got hurt once again.

As a beat writer, you can’t play favorites, but I don’t think it’s stepping too far away from my objectivity to say that I admire Nick a lot, think he’s a heck of a ballplayer when he’s healthy and truly feel bad for him that he must now watch another season from the sideline.

If you’re wondering about Johnson’s contract status, he’s making $5.5 million this season and has one more year left on the 3-year extension he signed in 2006. He’ll once again make $5.5 million in 2009, then become a free agent at the end of that season. Dmitri Young also is signed through next season. He’s making $5 million a piece in 2008 and 2009.

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Mark Zuckerman

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