C. Johnson’s wrist sore after extra work on new swing

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Braves third baseman Chris Johnson has been doing extra work on his revamped swing at spring training, so much work that it probably contributed to a sore left wrist.

He was scratched from the lineup Saturday against the Mets and told by manager Fredi Gonzalez to stay back at camp rather than bus to Port St. Lucie, Fla., for the split-squad game.

“Just a little sore wrist,” Johnson said early Saturday. “I was taking some swings yesterday — took a lot of swings — and my wrist got a little sore. So Skip (Gonzalez) just texted me and said, ‘Hey, stay back today, get some treatment on it.’ So I’ve treated it a couple times this morning. It’s not a big deal. Hoping to be back in there tomorrow.”

At the suggestion of new hitting coach Kevin Seitzer, Johnson made a significant change in his stance by starting with the bat in his hands at shoulder level. He previously held his hands slightly above eye level.

He worked with Seitzer several times at Turner Field in January and February, then made the adjustment at the beginning of spring training.

“We worked on some stuff in Atlanta,” Johnson said, “and then when we got down here he ran the idea by me and his logic behind it, and I said let’s do it.”

Johnson said he used a hands-high stance since college. But after seeing his average drop from .321 in 2013 to .263 in 2014, and his OPS plummet from .816 to .653, he was willing to make the change.

“I’ll do anything to hit .300 again,” said Johnson, who hit .308 as an Astros rookie in 2010, .251 in 2011, and .281 with the Astros and Diamondbacks in 2012. “I trust (Seitzer), and if he thinks that’s the move that’ll get me to the next level and make me a better player, I’ll do it. I don’t care.”

Johnson is 1-for-5 with a single in five plate appearances in two games, and hit a couple of balls hard that he pulled to the left side. When he’s going well, he hits a lot of balls up the middle and to the opposite (right) field.

The reasoning for keeping his hands lower is to be in a hitting position quicker, and he’s still getting used to it. It’s good that he’s able to reach pitches quicker, he just needs to adjust.

“I tell you what, I’ve made a lot of contact out front,” he said. “I think it’s because I’ve got a lot more time to react when my hands are already down here ready to go. So I think I need to just let the ball get a little deeper, and trust that I’m a lot quicker where they’ve got my hands. So yeah, I’m excited about it.”