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Pasco pitcher on mend after surgeries

Pasco senior right-hander Henry Johnson, the top returning pitcher from last season's 26-7 Pirates team, was recovering Wednesday from a second surgery following a freak accident at Monday's practice.

Doctors at Tampa General Hospital successfully repaired a pinched artery in Johnson's neck Tuesday, said Terry Schrader, father of Pirates shortstop and 2008 North Suncoast player of the year Jake Schrader. A ruptured disc was surgically repaired Wednesday afternoon, Schrader reported.

"The doctor said there's no reason he shouldn't fully recover," said Schrader, one of dozens of friends and relatives who joined Johnson's parents at the hospital. "He's doing quite well and I think he's going to be in the hospital through the weekend."

Schrader said he was told the timetable for Johnson's recovery is 12 weeks. It's unclear whether he'll be able to pitch this season.

According to Pirates coach Ricky Giles, Johnson was horsing around with another player at the end of Monday's practice when he took a hard fall that produced a burning sensation in his neck. Giles said Johnson experienced no paralysis.

"He slipped down and, you know, just a freak thing happened," Giles said Tuesday.

Schrader said Johnson was taken to a Dade City hospital for X-rays before being moved to TGH. The initial fear was the pinched artery might produce clotting.

Johnson finished 8-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 49 innings last season for Pasco, which fell to Palatka in three games in the Class 3A region finals.

Pasco pitcher on mend after surgeries 01/21/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 9:11pm]
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