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Johnson's spot in rotation under evaluation

Johnson's spot in rotation under evaluation

Johnson's spot in rotation under evaluation

ANAHEIM -- Josh Johnson might be pitching to keep his job in the Blue Jays' starting rotation when he takes the mound on Tuesday night in Seattle.

Johnson is struggling more than he ever has in his career, and there is a realistic possibility that his time in the rotation could be coming to an end.

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One positive outing could change that outlook, but there will be plenty of pressure on Johnson when he faces the Mariners. It will be an unfamiliar situation for the former National League ERA leader, but it appears the Blue Jays will have only so much patience with the soon-to-be free agent.

"Right now he's scheduled to make his next start, but there's no question it's been about six starts where he has been getting hit," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "I know he's working hard and he's not making any excuses at all, he continues to battle. But it's something we continue to talk about.

"We have to look at alternatives at some point if this continues, it's really start-to-start at this point, it's really the only way to characterize it. Right now, he's going to make one more start and we'll see how he does but we'll continue to evaluate it each time."

Johnson has posted an 0-6 record with a 9.48 ERA since June 28. He has allowed 21 runs during the first two innings of his past six outings and continues to search for answers on the mound. He's desperately looking for a change in fortune, but even though his job appears to be in jeopardy, it wouldn't take much to change the organization's stance.

If the Blue Jays do seek alternatives, they have several options at their disposal. Top prospects Marcus Stroman and Sean Nolin appear ready for the next level, while right-handers Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison aren't too far behind in their return from last year's Tommy John surgeries.

"We've talked about it, and that's definitely something that could happen," Anthopoulos said when asked if Toronto would give Stroman or Nolin an opportunity this season. "We could take a look at one of those guys or both of those guys. Same with Kyle and Drew, we're not committed that they're going to be up, but they are guys that could be up as well and have a look at them."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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