Johnson not focused on numbers
Second baseman regains confidence, thrives for Braves
LOS ANGELES -- When Kelly Johnson has struggled in the past, he's found his psyche to be his greatest enemy. But since spending a portion of July attempting to regain his swing and confidence at the Minor League level, the Braves' second baseman has returned to the Majors intent on focusing less on his results.
"I think most people will agree that if you feel good and confident about what you're doing, regardless of results, that's a pretty important thing," Johnson said before getting the start at second base during Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers.
Johnson certainly came away with plenty of reasons to feel good about himself on Saturday night, when he entered a scoreless affair in the eighth inning and then provided the difference in a 2-1 win with a two-run, 10th-inning homer. One night earlier, he helped the Braves overcome a three-run deficit with a two-run homer.
"Kelly, he can get hot," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He's one of those guys. He's got power. He's always had power. It's good to see him do that."
Throughout his career, Johnson has always proven to be even streakier than the common Major League hitter. When he's hot, he has the capability to hit .404, like he did during the final 24 games of last season. But when he's cold, he also possesses the capability to hit .191 like he did in the 39 games that preceded his trip to the Minors last month.
"We all come here to accomplish something every day, and I wasn't accomplishing it at all," Johnson said. "So just to have that feeling that I can accomplish it again and do what I want to do every day is a good feeling."
With Chipper Jones uncertain when his strained left oblique might allow him to return, Martin Prado may continue to play third base during this week's series against the Nationals. That would open the door for Johnson to continue to take advantage of the opportunity to play the second-base position that he'd solely manned at the beginning of this season.
In other injury-related news, Nate McLouth tweaked his right hamstring while chasing down a fly ball in right-center field during the 10th inning of Saturday night's victory. McLouth was unable to play on Sunday, and Cox remained hopeful that his center fielder will be out of the lineup for only a few days.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.