They weren’t drafted together, and they went their separate ways in 2010, but Johnson and McCann have seen a lot of one another. And McCann said that he’s starting to see something familiar in his long-time teammate.
“Kelly’s one of those guys, when he gets hot he’s as good as they come,” McCann said. “He’s got such a short swing, and when he gets going it’s fun to watch. … He’s looking very comfortable in the box. He’s on every pitch it looks like.”
Last night, Johnson homered for the first time since May 3. It was one of those Yankee Stadium homers that the team envisioned when giving him a $3-million deal this offseason, and it continued a burst of production from a guy who’s starting to become a lineup regular again. In the month of June, Johnson is hitting .263/.356/.421. He drew a walk last night, and it was his sixth free pass in his past 11 games.
“Very good sign, sure,” Johnson said. “Being a little more under control. Smooth, calm, things like that. It’s a great sign.”
Ever since Yangervis Solarte went cold around the middle of May, the Yankees have struggled to get significant offensive production from their infielders. Sure, Mark Teixeira has been driving the ball, but the offense has occasionally come and gone with Solarte, Brian Roberts and Derek Jeter. If there’s a non-Teixeira infielder who profiles as a true offensive threat, though, it’s probably Johnson, who has a history of hitting for power and taking enough walks to somewhat make up for his typically low batting average.
“I feel good. That’s all I can really do,” Johnson said. “I feel good with everything I’m doing before the game. I feel good approach-wise. I roll with that. I’m trying to just focus on what I can control, and whether the ball’s flying out of the yard or whatever, I’ve got to deal with that. I’m worried more about just what happens in front of me, contact, and everything I can do before that.”
Getting regular at-bats, it seems, has helped Johnson. And with those at-bats, Johnson has done a better job of helping the Yankees.
“It’s a rhythm and timing kind of thing,” he said. “(That’s) kind of our game anyway. To get good feel and feel good, it’s definitely going to make it a lot easier to go out there much more frequently. That being said, we always prepare, whatever our role is, to play. I’m not going to make any excuses about not playing vs. playing, but happy to be in there a lot more.”
Associated Press photo