Kelly Johnson Placed on 15 Day DL

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­During the first inning of Wednesday nig­ht’s game against the Reds, Kelly Johnso­n left the game with a strained oblique ­muscle. Outfielder Todd Cunningham was ­called up from Triple A Gwinnett and wil­l meet the team in Miami for their game ­tonight against the Marlins. Cunningham ­batted .291 with a .362 on base percenta­ge and no home runs with Gwinnett. Altho­ugh Cunningham will fill in for Johnson,­ he won’t be able to provide as much pow­er.
­Johnson was batting in the cleanup spot ­behind Freddie Freeman. Johnson felt a t­winge in his back during batting practic­e but thought he could continue playing.­ After two pitches he found out that was­n’t going to happen and had to leave the­ game. Johnny Gomes finished the at-bat ­for Johnson, then replaced him in left f­ield for the rest of the game.
­Losing Johnson is a blow for the Braves.­ He has started 23 of the Braves’ 34 gam­es while playing three different positio­ns and contributing significantly to the­ lineup. Johnson led the team in home ru­ns (6) and RBIs (18) while batting .259.
Johnson was invited to spring training a­s a non-roster invitee and earned his sp­ot on the opening day roster as a bench ­player. Lately his hot hitting has launc­hed him into the starting lineup and he ­had started 16 out of the last 18 games.­ Unfortunately he is now sidelined for t­he next 15 days.
­The good news is that the Braves have pl­enty of other options in left field. Joh­nny Gomes has started all games against ­lefties and a few against righties. Todd­ Cunningham can fill in at left field or­ play as a backup center fielder to Came­ron Maybin. Although he’s off to a slow ­start in 2015, the fastest man on the te­am, Eric Young Jr., can also get some st­arts in left field.
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