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Johnson remains upbeat after latest setback

Right-hander hopes to return to throwing program next week

SAN DIEGO -- Pitcher Josh Johnson sounded upbeat on Saturday that his latest setback following a simulated game won't keep him too long from resuming his throwing program.

Johnson, working his way back from Tommy John surgery a year ago, had to stop a simulated game on June 15 after feeling tingling in the fingers of his right hand.

Johnson had an MRI five days ago, that, because of the revision last year on his ulnar collateral ligament, proved inconclusive.

Why was it inconclusive?

"It looks like a big mess in there [elbow] with the scar tissue, a big blob," he said. "You always want to know where you stand, but either way, I'm still going to put the work in."

After a period of rest, Johnson is to return to his throwing program sometime in the next week, said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy.

"I don't think it's too far off," Murphy said.

Johnson is encouraged about the state of his elbow because he felt fine a day after he felt the tingling sensation in his fingers. It may have something to do with his first simulated game on April 28, when he had nerve issues in his neck afterward that halted his program.

"I feel pretty good. I'm glad we gave it some rest," Johnson said. "As soon as it happened we said, 'Let's take a little breather while the team is on the road.' Let it calm down and relax."

Johnson started strengthening exercises on Saturday. He's excited to resume throwing, even if it's just catch at first.

"Whatever it is, hopefully it calms down," Johnson said. "That's all you can do."

Johnson, who had his first Tommy John surgery in 2007, worked all the way through the early stages of his rehabilitation and throwing program without so much as a hiccup before he was sidelined after his simulated game in April.

Corey Brock is a reporter for Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
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