Brian Johnson ‘Excited,’ ‘Confident’ In First Call-Up To Boston Red Sox

BOSTON — Brian Johnson’s first major league call-up is bittersweet for the Red Sox, as it coincides with Clay Buchholz landing on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow strain.

But that’s life. And Johnson, who was promoted from Triple-A Pawtucket before Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park, sounded eager to work upon joining the big league club.

“I’m excited and honored,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately (Buchholz) went down, but he’ll be back, for sure. I’m just excited to be here with the opportunity.”

Johnson made noise last season, when he was named the Red Sox’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The success has carried over into 2015, as Johnson recently was named to the International League All-Star team. The 24-year-old went 8-6 with a 2.73 ERA in 16 starts for the PawSox before Saturday’s promotion.

“The one thing right in spring training is a willingness to attack the strike zone with three pitches,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said Saturday of Johnson. “He’s got a couple of breaking balls that he can get some swing and miss to. The experience at the higher levels (of the minors) has allowed him to face older hitters, more experienced hitters, that might sit on given pitches.

“But I think it’s his overall competitiveness, in addition to the repertoire mentioned, that brings him here equipped.”

Johnson is the second of Boston’s three highly touted left-handed pitching prospects to reach the majors this season. Eduardo Rodriguez debuted in late May and made his ninth major league start Saturday. Henry Owens could find his way to The Show before long.

Rodriguez already has flashed his potential in Boston. Perhaps Johnson will follow suit.

“Ever since I was 5 years old, this is your goal to get here,” Johnson said. “Watching Eduardo go up there and have such success, it’s awesome. It gives you confidence.”

Johnson is available out of the bullpen this weekend for the Red Sox’s final two games before the All-Star break. He’s then a candidate to join Boston’s rotation after the break. Either way, Johnson is looking to make the most of his first opportunity in the majors — an opportunity he said came as a surprise late Friday night.

“I think every emotion you can have,” Johnson said of his call-up. “Calling my parents (Friday night) was awesome. I woke both of them up (at about 12:30 a.m.), but they were both very, very excited. (I’m) excited and confident.”

The Red Sox obviously wish Johnson’s arrival came under a different set of circumstances. Losing Buchholz is a huge blow to the rotation. Sometimes, you have to roll with the punches, though.

Johnson finally is in Boston. And he’s ready to contribute.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@BostonGlobe

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