GLENDALE, Ariz. — Micah Johnson continued to build his case for the White Sox Opening Day job at second base, going 4-for-4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored in a 6-2 victory against the Kansas City Royals Tuesday.
Johnson has a streak of six straight hits, including a home run.
“You know how it goes. I think I was 1-for-8 before that 4-for-4,” Johnson said Wednesday morning. “It’s baseball. You’ve got to wash the 4-for-4 like you wash the 0-for-4 or you’re going to get arrogant and you’re going to lose that edge. Just like if you don’t wash the 0-for-4 you’re going to get down on yourself and not have the confidence. Every at-bat is completely unrelated to the first at-bat or the second at-bat. Every at-bat is new and every day is especially new – new pitcher, new game plan. Yesterday was a good day, but now it’s today, and it’s like, what can I do today?”
The Sox (3-3) cranked out 15 hits against a Royals pitching contingent that included Jeremy Guthrie, Greg Holland, Jason Frasor and Brandon Finnegan. The Royals hadn’t lost in their first six games.
In the field, Johnson displayed range by making a backhand grab behind the bag, making a glove flip to shortstop for a force out. He almost topped that play going airborne on an attempted diving catch to his right on a Mike Moustakas liner in short right (against a shift) that popped out of his glove when he hit the ground. Johnson, who hasn’t played in the majors, is hitting .500.
“He feels likes he’s ready,’’ manager Robin Ventura said. “We continue to monitor that and see him throughout camp and as it progresses.’’
Johnson and Carlos Sanchez are getting the most starts at second base in the early days of Cactus League play. Veterans Gordon Beckham and Emilio Bonifacio provide protection if neither of the starters wins the job, the two of them capable of serving in multipurpose backup roles.
Johnson — who has six consecutive hits — has been impressive so far. He’s getting on base, he’s showing his speed and he has been fine defensively. But he doesn’t view himself as the one to beat.
“Not at all,” he said.
“We help each other out, too. It’s not competition where we don’t like each other. [Gordon] Beckham and I turn a lot of double plays together, and he’s helped me a lot. He’s done it defensively for a long time, and that’s something I’ve always struggled with. So having him out there helping me is awesome. And Carlos and I always have fun together too, when we work out together. You guys think it’s a competition, but really we just feed off each other.”
Johnson speaks fluent Spanish, which has eased his fitting in alongside veteran shortstop Alexei Ramirez.
“I’ve been watching him and I think he’s good,” Ramirez said. “We already have a good connection because he speaks Spanish. It’s easier for me to communicate with him.
“He has to prove it. His ability is ready. Like Sanchez also. You have to play and prove it.”
On deck: Lefthander Carlos Rodon gets his second start, against the Rangers in Glendale (3:05 p.m., whitesox.com) on Wednesday. Yovani Gallardo starts for Texas.
Here is the Sox lineup: Bonifacio CF, Cabrera LF, LaRoche 1B, Garcia RF, Gillaspie 3B, Saladino SS, Brantly C, Soto DH, Sanchez 2B. Rodon P
Michael Ynoa (who came along with Jeff Samardzija in A’s trade) was scheduled to pitch in a B game Wednesday morning.