No hard feelings for Johnson
'Future third baseman' prepared to work back to Astros
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Dressed in his travel clothes -- dressy pants, button-down shirt, tie -- Chris Johnson packed up his belongings and departed Kissimmee with the rest of his Astros teammates Thursday morning.
Johnson is going to Houston, but only for a few days. After the final exhibition game of the spring season on Saturday at Minute Maid Park, Johnson will head to Round Rock to prepare for his season with the Triple-A Express.
He was informed Wednesday that he was reassigned to Minor League camp -- the technical term for cutting a player who is not on the 40-man roster. While disappointed, Johnson realizes he shouldn't take the decision too hard. He proved a lot this spring, and he left a tremendous impression on his higher-ups, including manager Cecil Cooper, who called Johnson "a big leaguer."
Johnson hit .245 over 29 spring games and displayed a defensive ability at third base that showed he'll soon be ready for the next step. He moved up the depth chart when Aaron Boone left the team, but in the end, the Astros opted to trade for veteran infielder Jeff Keppinger.
With no ill feelings about that decision, Johnson will continue to hone his skills in Round Rock while waiting for the phone to ring.
"Before coming into Spring Training, I just wanted to come in and show everybody what I could do," he said. "I think I did a pretty good job of that, and I understand the business aspect of the game and how things work a little bit. I'm not too disappointed. I'll go to Round Rock and get ready. When they call me, I'll be ready."
Johnson will also take with him the encouraging words he received from his skipper and general manager Ed Wade.
"They were telling me yesterday that they see me as a future third baseman," Johnson said. "It's pretty awesome to hear that. That kind of cheered me up."
Cooper and Wade felt it was important to tell Johnson where he was headed to start the season before the team played the two games in Houston. Now, Johnson can relax, take in the experience and not wonder what was in store for him after the exhibition series with the Indians.
"I know I'm going to Round Rock," said Johnson, who participated in two Elite Camps at Minute Maid Park in past years. "This weekend, I'm just going to have fun, soak it all up and hopefully I won't be as nervous -- but I'm sure I will."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.