White Sox's Johnson Earns High Praise

Righty garners comparisons to former all-star





CHICAGO—Moments after Erik Johnson was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft, the former California standout started drawing comparisons to Curt Schilling from the White Sox's scouting department.

Aside from a bout of tendinitis that delayed his 2012 debut by two months, Johnson has started to live up to those comparisons.

"I heard a little bit about it, but I enjoyed watching Curt Schilling pitch," the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Johnson said. "And I would compare myself to him. We have the same kind of build and are power pitchers with the same kind of stuff."

White Sox scouting director Doug Laumann saw Johnson pitch for low Class A Kannapolis during a July 10 game at Lexington and was pleased to see that Johnson was fully recovered from his arm troubles this spring, as evidenced by a fastball that topped out at 95 mph to go with a "plus breaking ball."

Johnson, 22, is trying to pick up where he left off late last summer at Rookie-level Great Falls, where he worked with pitching coach and former Sox reliever Brian Drahman.

Johnson pitched in just two games last season at Great Falls, as Drahman spent a lot of time with Johnson on the sidelines following a long junior season at Cal that concluded with a College World Series berth. This season, he was 3-4, 2.67 in 57 innings between Kannapolis and high Class A Winston-Salem.

"They took me aside for two months and worked on my mechanics and refining them," he said. "That did wonders for me. My command is better, my walks are down and my velocity is up."

Chi-lites

• Rookie-level Bristol first baseman Keon Barnum, a supplemental first-round pick, missed four weeks with a shoulder injury. Barnum hit three homers in his first five games.

• Continuing their commitment to strengthen their presence in Latin America, the Sox signed third baseman Luis Castillo and outfielder Hanlet Otano, a pair of 16-year-old power hitters from the Dominican Republic.