Johnson's Struggles Continue

Second baseman Elliot Johnson, who had a strong season in 2006 with the Montgomery Biscuits (.281 15 home runs 50 RBIs), is off to a terrible start at the plate with the Durham Bulls. Through the first 34 games of the year, Johnson has only 23 hits in 132 at bats (.194). Filling in as a DH, the infield prospect was hitless again in Durham's loss to the Richmond Braves tonight.

Jason Hammel turned in another strong pitching performance, but had nothing to show for it in the Durham Bulls' 3-0 loss to the Richmond Braves on Friday night. Hammel (1-4), who allowed three earned runs over seven sharp innings to lower his ERA to 2.76, scattered only six hits with five strikeouts. But a severe lack of run support caused him to suffer his fourth loss of the season.

Elliot Johnson's offensive struggles continued for the Bulls. Johnson, who is in his first full season at the Triple-A level, finished the night 0-for-3 with a walk as Durham's designated hitter. Through the first 34 games of the year, Johnson has only 23 hits in 132 at bats (.194). This is a crucial year for Johnson, which is why he needs to turn his performance around fast. The Bulls are still waiting on him to show the potential that helped him post strong numbers at Double-A last season. For Montgomery, Johnson finished with a .281 batting average, 15 home runs, and 50 RBIs to help the Biscuits to the Southern League Championship.

In baseball, hitting is contagious. The opposite was true, a lack of hitting was contagious, for the Bulls against Braves starter Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle (5-1) only allowed two hits in 5 1/3 shutout innings to earn his fifth win of the year. The right-hander, who lowered his ERA to 2.37 in the win, also had a season high nine strikeouts in an overall dominant performance.

Dustan Mohr was the only Bulls player with more than one hit. Mohr finished the night 2-for-4 with a double. Outfielder Justin Ruggiano and catcher Shawn Riggans also had doubles in the loss. Riggans finished the night 1-for-4 and is now hitting .270.

Durham notes:

Ben Zobrist, who was recently optioned to Durham, didn't appear in the game, but is expected to start at shortstop for the Bulls on Saturday. Jorge Velandia went 0-for-3 as Durham's shortstop in Friday's game.


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