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Erik Johnson’s woes a head-scratcher to Ventura
When Erik Johnson was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on April 26, the White Sox didn’t expect the 24-year-old starter to stay down in the minors for long.
Unfortunately for them, Johnson’s struggles have continued.
With the White Sox, Johnson went 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA and allowed 27 hits and 15 walks over 23 2/3 innings pitched. In Charlotte, Johnson is 1-4 with a 6.70 ERA in nine starts. He’s walked 29 batters in 47 innings, and has allowed 11 earned runs over his last two starts.
And those struggles are confusing for Robin Ventura.
“I don’t see the games; you see the numbers. You have people that are watching and you get reports on him, but when you just see the numbers, it does make you scratch your head because you know he has talent. We’ve seen it,” Ventura said. “We’ve seen it up here, so to get that combination back where he has the confidence, the location, the ability to do it, that’s when you get that call back up.”
That call to the White Sox rotation isn’t guaranteed.
“With guys stepping in and doing what (Hector Noesi’s) done, it’s tough to crack,” Ventura said. “You don’t just bring him up just to bring him up.”
Before Johnson comes back up he’ll have to fix the command issues that plagued him in Chicago and have followed him to Charlotte. And part of that will just be getting his confidence back, which might have left Johnson as his struggles have increased.
“Everybody goes through that at some point,” Ventura said. “How long it happens and how you deal with it, everybody’s different.”