He wanted to put the final touches on what was a fantastic 2013, but Micah Johnson’s elbow wouldn’t allow it.
The White Sox minor-leaguer, who MLB.com ranks as the No. 9 second baseman among prospects, was enjoying his time in the Arizona Fall League in October.
Months after a regular season in which he soared from low-A ball to Double-A, Johnson played in one of baseball’s biggest showcases. Several of his close friends were among the Sox farmhands on the team. And his performance was top-notch, as Johnson was 8-for-25 with six RBIs and three steals after six games.
Then the elbow, the same one that hurt his status in the 2012 amateur draft, began to bother him and Johnson’s season abruptly ended.
“I wish I could have finished the Fall League healthy,” Johnson said at SoxFest last month. “Felt good out there, I was hitting well. Defense was really well out there. But I got hurt … I had to get it taken care of. I’d rather get it taken care of for the future.”
Johnson had the surgery to reposition the nerve in his right elbow on Oct. 29.
It was the second elbow procedure for Johnson, who had arthroscopic surgery on it after he suffered an injury in the Cape Cod League in 2011. That operation and the time he missed the following year played a role in Johnson -- an outstanding athlete who is among the fastest players in all of baseball -- slipping to the ninth round in the 2012 draft.
This time, however, Johnson knew he wasn’t expected to miss as much time and he’s already back at work. Johnson -- who had a .312/.373/.451 slash line with 46 extra base-hits, 106 runs, 58 RBIs and 84 steals in 110 tries last season and might have been even better in the playoffs for Double-A Birmingham -- participated in the team’s mini-hitter camp in Glendale, Ariz. last month. He has continued to workout in Arizona since and is expected to be a full participant in spring training.
Johnson said he tries not to worry about what he accomplishes in terms of numbers; he prefers to focus on staying on the field.
“(The surgery) went flawless,” Johnson said. “Everything is good. I’m down in Phoenix right now getting some work in with the trainers and hitting and everything. Lifting upper body now. I should be good to go. I feel good. … Last season was awesome. I really don’t go into a season with too many lofty goals or expectations because I know its baseball. I just want to play hard every day and stay healthy.”