Erik Johnson’s first career victory on Monday night was enhanced by the presence of his former prep baseball coach.
Sandy Withol, a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, coached the varsity program at Los Altos (Calif.) High for 16 seasons until he retired last November.
Withol had a 3.75 ERA in 28 career appearances for the Indians, who selected him in the second round of the 1974 amateur draft.
He played professionally from 1975-83.
“It was special,” Johnson said. “He taught me a lot about the way to go about your business and work ethic. But the majority he taught me about was the mental game and going right at guys.”
Johnson made his third start and cruised to a victory after a challenging first inning. He struck out eight over six shutout innings in a 12-1 White Sox win over the Minnesota Twins.
Drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft, Johnson still lives in Los Altos and works out at his former high school in the offseason.
“I usually hang around and work with the high school team and stuff like that,” Johnson said. “I always see people in neighborhood. It’s nice to work with the younger kids.”