Johnson to debut for White Sox vs. Yankees
The White Sox couldn't hold a 4-1 lead in the eighth inning Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium and wound up losing 6-4.
But don't blame starting pitcher Erik Johnson, infielder Marcus Semien, reliever Daniel Webb or catcher Miguel Gonzalez.
Earlier Tuesday, the Sox purchased the contracts of all four players from Class AAA Charlotte, and none of them were on the field against New York.
But that's about to change. Johnson is going to be on the mound Wednesday night against the Yankees when he tries to help the White Sox snap a five-game losing streak.
The Sox' prized pitching prospect makes his first major-league start after combining to go 12-3 with a 1.96 ERA, 3 complete games and 131 strikeouts in 142 innings with Charlotte and AA Birmingham.
"If you ever wanted to start somewhere in your major-league debut, this would be it," Johnson told reporters. "I won't know the feeling until I get out there, so I'm just looking forward to it."
With left-handers Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks and Hector Santiago in the current rotation, the right-handed Johnson is positioned to make the first of many starts for the White Sox.
"It would be a great opportunity, but you just have to take it start to start and make sure you're preparing each day before you go out there," he said. "What I try to accomplish is get better each day, whether you're playing catch, (throwing a) bullpen or taking the mound for a game."
Semien will be interesting to watch.
A college teammate of Johnson's at Cal-Berkeley, Semien combined to hit .284 with 32 doubles, 6 triples, 19 home runs, 66 RBI, 110 runs scored and 24 stolen bases in 137 games between Charlotte and Birmingham. He played 73 games at shortstop, 41 at second base and 23 at third base.
With Gordon Beckham entrenched at second base and shortstop Alexei Ramirez signed through 2015, Semien figures to get a long look at third base, where Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger have combined for only 15 home runs and 69 RBI.
"Now I feel comfortable at all of them," Semien told reporters of playing three infield positions in the minors. "I'm going to be excited whenever I do go in there.
"Nerves are going to be flowing obviously, but once I get in there, just try to relax and do what I've been doing the whole year."
Webb is coming off an impressive season at A Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Charlotte, going 2-1 with a 1.87 ERA, 10 saves and 78 strikeouts in 622⁄3 innings.
Gonzalez, a defensive specialist, batted a combined .254 with 2 home runs and 20 RBI in 53 games between Birmingham and Charlotte. He threw out 37 percent (20 of 54) of attempted basestealers.
•Follow Scot's White Sox and baseball reports on Twitter@scotgregor, and check out his Chicago's Inside Pitch blog at dailyherald.com.
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