By Bruce Levine–
GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — When you’re playing well and helping your team win, the fans and media love you. The other side of the coin isn’t so much fun.READ MORE: Mother Has Questions After Police Shoot, Kill Man They Say Was Wielding Knife In Englewood
That was a lesson learned by White Sox second baseman Micah Johnson on Sunday. One error, a bad throw that allowed a run to score and shying away from a hot grounder that was ruled a base hit helped contribute to an altogether bad day for the rookie infielder.
“Overall, it’s been a good spring,” Johnson said Monday. “Yesterday was not good. I understand that you will have days like that, and hopefully I will learn from it.”
Johnson has had an impressive camp, winning the position with solid hitting and better defense than was predicted as spring training began in February. Sunday was the exception, not the rule, as Johnson had that day compounded with multiple physical and mental mistakes.
“The error was one thing,” Johnson said. “Not getting in front of the other ball, that bothered me, as did the throw to home plate.”
A 24-year-old Indiana native, Johnson hopes to add many dimensions to Chicago’s revamped ball club in 2015. After hitting over .300 at two different levels of the minor leagues, Johnson is primed to add much-needed speed and left-handed pop to an offense that had to little of each last year.
“Offensively, I was fine,” Johnson said about Sunday’s game against the Brewers. “(Matt) Garza made some good pitches, and I was able to get on base and score a run. The rest I wasn’t happy about.”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Rain Coming As Work Week Begins
A four-run Milwaukee fifth inning was set up by the ball Johnson failed to get a body in front of. Chicago right-hander Jeff Samardzija eventually gave up back-to-back home runs to Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun that forced him from the mound after 70 pitches.
“When you impact a pitcher’s game or stats by not getting the job done, that bothers me,” Johnson said. “Even when they fail to give me an error, that affects Jeff’s numbers and more than that, our chance of winning. You learn from that and stay positive.”
The maturity that Johnson has shown is a part of the reason White Sox management feels he’s ready to help the major league club now. Accepting blame for a poor game and feeling good about other accomplishments all have to be couched and filed away in the experience file.
“I have worked hard every day, and yesterday was a building day,” Johnson said. “Offensively, I feel very confident. It’s been a good camp, and if they feel I am ready (or not), that is not my decision. I certainly can’t have days like yesterday.”
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said that Johnson and Carlos Sanchez have both impressed in their battle for the second base job. Ventura also said he won’t name the starting second baseman until the end of Cactus League play on April 2.
“Sometimes those days like he had happen,” Ventura said of Johnson’s poor Sunday. “Some of the best defensive players have those days. You have to be able to put it behind you, work on your game here the next day. You must figure out what happened and what took place. The game is a little faster, and he is getting a taste of that.”MORE NEWS: Farmers Market Vendors Pleased As Open Boulevards Program Kicks Off In Logan Square
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.