Johnson hit by liner, but OK to play

Johnson hit by liner, but OK to play Friday

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Almost as soon as the liner came off his bat at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex on Friday morning, Pete Orr was screaming "Kelly!"

Unfortunately for Kelly Johnson, he didn't see Orr's batting practice liner until it hit him squarely in the chest, just below his throat. Fortunately, the incident provided just an immediate scare and likely bruise.

"I might be a little bit sore tomorrow," Johnson said, "but I'll just take a couple of Advil and I'll be fine."

After evaluating Johnson, the Braves determined that he was healthy enough to remain in the starting lineup for Friday afternoon's game against the Pirates.

"It just missed the Adam's apple," a relieved manager Bobby Cox said. "Two inches higher and he's dead."

Johnson, who is preparing to serve in his new role as the club's starting second baseman, was practicing his double-play flips when Orr hit the line drive. He indicated that he initially saw the baseball, but had thought it went into the outfield.

"I think everybody, but Kelly, saw it going at him," said Orr, who is battling to keep his roster spot as a utility infielder.

Johnson began his professional career as a shortstop and was converted into an outfielder in 2004. This is his first season as a second baseman.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.