Omaha, NE, USA; Florida Gators pitcher Brian Johnson (35) pitches against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the first inning of game four of the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Matt Ryerson-US PRESSWIRE
Red Sox prospect Brian Johnson might have already had his first season as a pro ended for him. On the second pitch of Saturday's Lowell Spinners game, taking place at Fenway Park as part of the annual "Futures at Fenway" double-header, Johnson was hit in the cheekbone by a liner that fractured multiple orbital bones. It came off of the bat of Hudson Valley Renegade Joey Rickard.
It took 10 minutes for Johnson to be removed from the field, but he was conscious when he was taken off in a stretcher, and is reported as not having a concussion. It was only his fourth start of the year after he was selected with the #31 pick in the 2012 draft. Johnson signed for a slot-recommended bonus of $1.575 million following the conclusion of University of Florida's participation in the College World Series.
Johnson had thrown 5-1/3 innings with Lowell prior to the injury, striking out four and walking just one without allowing a run to score. It was expected he would begin the 2013 campaign with Low-A Greenville following a short stint with Lowell in 2012, and while this injury cuts short his first season, that's likely still the plan going forward for the first-round draft pick.