Atlanta Braves third baseman Chris Johnson had to be removed from Friday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. Not because he was injured, but because he went into the tunnel after a strikeout and threw a tantrum, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Johnson struck out against Rockies starter Jordan Lyles to lead off the second inning, and then walked back into the tunnel and had an incredibly emotional outburst. It forced manager Fredi Gonzalez to pull Johnson from the lineup and replace him with Ramiro Pena during the next inning.
After the game, Johnson made the following statement:
“I let my emotions get the best of me tonight in the tunnel and blew up a little bit, and it’s dangerous to do it. There were some people down there that weren’t too happy about it…Up top (in the tunnel). That’s how somebody could get hurt, and I think that was the point of it, is to kind of teach me a lesson, that that could hurt somebody or myself. And I agree with them 100 percent. I let me emotions get the best of me tonight..I apologized to the team about that after the game and to Pena for having to pick me up. I’m sorry to the fans, people who came out to watch me play today.”
This isn’t a first-time occurrence for Johnson, which may have been what prompted Gonzalez to pull him in the first place. He was benched for two games in April because of a tantrum he threw after a four-strikeout game, and he was also involved in a confrontation with coach Terry Pendleton after a game in April of last season
Johnson apologized to teammates and fans, calling the outburst “one of my demons,” and admitted that further instances would make any apologies seem hollow.
The Braves signed Johnson to a three-year $23.5 million extension three weeks ago after the former Diamondback had a career season in 2013, coming just 10 points shy of winning the National League batting title. But if this pattern of behavior continues, it will put the team in an awkward position.