LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Chris Johnson has been pleased with the quick comfort he has gained since adjusting the pre-swing placement of his hands. But while taking some extra batting practice on Friday, the Braves' third baseman developed some left wrist discomfort that prevented him from playing in Saturday's split-squad game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
"[The wrist] got a little sore, so [manager Fredi Gonzalez] texted me and said, 'Hey, stay back today and get some treatment on it,'" Johnson said. "I treated it a couple times this morning, but it's not a big deal. I'm hoping to be back in [the lineup on Sunday]."
While the Braves will likely take the cautious approach by keeping Johnson out of action for at least one more day, Gonzalez will attempt to give his third baseman as many opportunities as possible to continue gaining comfort with the new batting stance that he adopted just two weeks ago.
Per the suggestion of Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, Johnson dropped the pre-swing placement of his hands from above eye-level to shoulder level. While Johnson admits he still habitually places his hands higher than desired, he has been pleased with the feel of this new stance and the early results it has produced. Instead of being consistently late on pitches, he has found himself to be more patient and capable of pulling line drives more often than he did in the past.
"I've made a lot of contact out front, and I think it's because I have a lot more time to react when my hands are already down here, ready to go," Johnson said. "So, I think I need to let the ball get a little deeper or trust that I'm a lot quicker where I've got my hands."
Johnson is coming off a frustrating season in which he batted .263 and produced a .653 OPS -- the lowest mark of all qualified National League third baseman. During the 2013 season, he ranked second among all NL players with a .321 batting average.
Mark Bowman is the Braves beat reporter for MLB.com. He has been covering the club since 2001.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.