Spring Camp Q&A: Grant Johnson

<B>MESA, Ariz.</B>—The Cubs' first overall pick in last years draft hasn't been too busy throwing strikes or working on his mechanics this spring. Instead, he's been injured.

Inside The Ivy: What are some of the things you are currently working on?

Grant Johnson: Well, I strained my hamstring in mid to late February, so I've been trying to get back into shape and become more active with the other pitchers. Before the injury, I was working on my mechanics and getting my shoulder in top-notch condition to start the season.

Inside The Ivy: Tell us how the injury occurred.

Grant Johnson: I guess it happened about three weeks ago. We were just doing our regular conditioning and sprints, and I felt a kind of pop as I was running. Dr. Michael Schafer examined me, and an MRI revealed it was a mild, level 2 strain. They had me shut down for a couple of weeks while I was undergoing treatment, and it will be almost another four before I can do any real sort of baseball activities like jogging or throwing from a mound.

Inside The Ivy: So who are you working with at the moment?

Grant Johnson: I'm working with (Minor League Medical Coordinator) Greg Keuter a lot right now. Before the injury, I was spending a lot of time with Lester Strode and Tom Pratt, but ever since then I've had to work more closely with the trainers than the pitching instructors.

Inside The Ivy: Who are some of the other players you've gotten to know since you've been injured?

Grant Johnson: Mostly just the rehab guys; Chadd Blasko and Jason Wylie are two people I've worked with. Other than that, I've been on my own.

Inside The Ivy: How are they, and yourself, in terms of spirit?

Grant Johnson: I think we have a pretty good attitude. You have to be patient when coming back from an injury. You take it slow and you take your time with it. Aside from that, they've all been working pretty hard to get back to where they were before.

Inside The Ivy: What are some of the things you did in the offseason to stay in shape and prepare for your first pro season?

Grant Johnson: I went back to school (Notre Dame) and got a semester out of the way, so I now have only one remaining before I can get my degree. I mostly stuck with the workout program the Cubs gave me and did lots of lower and upper body lifts, plus some running, conditioning and shoulder-strengthening exercises.

Inside The Ivy: We understand you recently worked with Michael Barrett in one of the mini-camps this spring. What were your impressions of him, and what are some of the things you learned?

Grant Johnson: He's an extremely nice guy. He prepared me for what‘s ahead and gave me lots of insight.

Inside The Ivy: Thanks very much for your time. We hope to see you pitching again shortly.

Grant Johnson: Thanks a lot.

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