"He felt some increasing stiffness, and the inability to get loose with each successive inning here tonight until in the third inning. he had to come out," Farrell said. "Hopefully we caught it early enough so it isn't a severe situation."
Johnson said he initially felt something was off during his warmup in the bullpen, but it was not until after 2 2/3 innings and 44 pitches that he needed to come out. It's an issue he said he has not dealt with previously.
"I was in the bullpen and started to feel some tightness, and the more and more I threw, it did get a little bit more uncomfortable," Johnson said.
Johnson did not allow a hit until the third, when the Phillies scored three runs on four hits, including a two-run homer by Aaron Altherr.
A Red Sox trainer came out to look at Johnson after he allowed a double to Tommy Joseph and walked off the field with Johnson, who didn't try to throw another pitch. Right-hander Hector Velazquez, who was recalled Wednesday from Triple-A Pawtucket, took over for Johnson and tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings for his first Major League win.
In three previous starts, Johnson had a 3.44 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.
Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Red Sox on Wednesday.