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Johjima scheduled for back surgery next week

Kyodo

Hanshin Tigers catcher Kenji Johjima, who has been sidelined with pain in his sciatic nerve, said Wednesday he will have back surgery sometime next week.

The 35-year-old, who aims to return to action this season, will require a month of recovery before he can resume practice after having his hernia removed.

He has numbness in his left buttocks and down his left leg.

“I can’t even tell when my left foot is planted on the ground,” said Johjima. “If I have the surgery, I have a better chance of returning this season. I’ll also be able to start rehab to make a comeback as catcher.”

The former Seattle Mariner has not appeared in the catcher’s role this season, partly due to an injured right elbow. Instead he has entered 16 games as a pinch hitter and played eight games at first base.

Johjima is batting just .179 with no home runs in 24 games.