Find the Minor Leaguer: J.J. Johnson
A while back, someone posted a comment asking about a pair of former Cubs farmhands. One was Adam Greenberg and my colleague Lisa Winston was kind enough to point out he’s back in organized ball playing for Arkansas (Double-A, Angels) in the Texas League.
The other was J.J. Johnson and as the commenter said, “Last I heard J.J. was with the Phillies and then released,” asking where he might be now. Johnson, for the uninformed, is an outfielder taken by the Cubs out of a Georgia high school in the sixth round of the 2000 draft. He made it as high as Daytona (Class A Advanced) in 2004. He didn’t play in 2005, but then signed on with the Phillies in 2006, starting in Clearwater and making it up to Double-A Reading for nine games. But then he was out of affiliated baseball.
He signed with the Reno Silver Sox in the independent Golden League (managed now, by the way, by former big leaguer Jeffrey Leonard). But he played in just seven games, suffering an eye injury when a foul ball he hit struck him in the face. The Silver Sox site had the following description of the incident:
Johnson was batting on a 0-1 count and swung on a high fastball.
The ball caught the end of Johnson’s bat and redirected the ball
hitting Johnson in the face. Johnson was escorted off the field by
paramedics, but walked off under his own power. Johnson received a
broken nose and a broken sinus bone in his face.
He had surgery on the bone under his eye (the injury occurred on June 15, 2007) and he never returned to the lineup. He’s no longer on Reno’s roster and he doesn’t appear to be playing anywhere at the moment. If I find more information, I will pass it along.