Spring Training is here, so we’re getting lots of updates about all of your favorite Cubs players. Obviously we’re all concerned about the health of our pitchers and the progress they made during the off-season, but here’s a story about one of our outfielders – Reed Johnson. Johnson watched what he ate more during the off-season and he dropped right around 14 pounds because of the new diet. Johnson says he feels a lot better both physically and mentally. It should also help him avoid certain back issues that he has had to deal with on and off during his major league career.
Johnson was a kinesiology major at Cal State Fullerton and he says he has retrained his body to eat better and eat less, and not feel hungry after the meal. He has also worked hard at being ready to play all 3 outfield positions. Johnson understands that Manger Lou Pinella will continue to give players more and more time off this season in the hopes of keeping everyone fresh throughout the long MLB season. Giving Pinella the option of putting Johnson in 3 positions as opposed to 1 or 2, will make life easier on Pinella and Johnson. He’ll get his days off for sure, but he’ll also be helping the team by allowing some of the other guys – Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley Kosuke Fukodome – an extra day off that they might not have otherwise received.
During the 2008 MLB season, the 32-year old Johnson played in 109 games and recorded 333 at-bats. He hit .303 with a .358 on-base percentage, while scoring 52 runs and driving in 50 runs. Great numbers for a guy they picked up at the end of Spring Training after he was released by the Toronto Blue Jays. The Cubs expect similar production from Johnson in 2009 and look forward to his relaxed laid-back style ensuring another good clubhouse during the upcoming campaign.