Johnson sharpening skills at Triple-A

White Sox confident second baseman will earn trip back to Majors

Johnson sharpening skills at Triple-A

CHICAGO -- Nick Capra has not spoken to Micah Johnson since the White Sox Opening Day second baseman was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte before last weekend.

But the White Sox director of player development doesn't need to hear the words directly from Johnson to know the hard work he'll put in to get back to the Majors.

"I'm sure he'll do the same thing Carlos [Sanchez] did: go down and work his tail off and get back to the big leagues as soon as he's able and there's a spot and role for him," said Capra. "I'm sure that's what his goal is.

"Offensively, there are things he needs to work on. Defense, obviously, was kind of a question going in. He proved he could play defense in Spring Training. He had a heck of a spring. He came here and probably didn't play up to his expectations.

"I know we've had him out early defensively," Capra said. "And baserunning, get him back in the aggressive mode, where he's aggressive and intelligent in stealing bases, not only when to steal them, picking counts, knowing the pitchers. I think it's a bit of each part of his game."

Johnson homered in his first game with the Knights and drove in the game-winning run against Syracuse but tweaked his right ankle and has been day to day since that contest on May 16. Carlos Sanchez, who lost the job to Johnson during Spring Training, has been a solid force up the middle both defensively and offensively since his return in Oakland.

Having Sanchez and Johnson becomes a good problem for the White Sox, with the organization continuing to keep Johnson's positional focus at second base.

"He's so athletic, he probably could do a lot of other things," said Capra of Johnson. "I think second base is a great position for him. Talking to a couple of coaches here, they are very positive about things that happened with him and the direction he's headed.

"Time will tell. But we are fortunate. We've had a pretty good group of kids, and those guys are at the top of the list."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.