General manager Mike Hill said the Marlins remain hopeful that Josh Johnson, who hasn't pitched since May, will return to the mound before the end of the season — even if it's for only one or two games.

"Still the plan," Hill said.

Johnson, who has been on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, continues to throw off flat ground but is progressing and building arm strength. Even though the minor-league seasons will be ending Sept. 5, Hill said Johnson still could face batters in simulation games.

"You can create whatever you need to create," Hill said. "We have ways to have him face hitters. We know that he can face major-league hitters. So as long as you're giving him what he needs to build up [he can return this season]."