Despite blowup, Johnson a fan of Fernandez
Braves third baseman admits mistakes in confrontation with Miami ace
ATLANTA -- As Braves third baseman Chris Johnson and some of his teammates were preparing for Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Marlins, they watched MLB Network highlights of the dominant pitching performances from Alex Wood and Jose Fernandez in Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat. The clip began with a look back to last September, when Fernandez gazed at his first career home run, and then found himself in the midst of a benches-clearing incident, sparked when he was scolded by former Atlanta catcher Brian McCann.
One of the most incensed combatants in this verbal spat was Johnson, who rushed toward the plate to yell at Fernandez. As Wednesday morning's highlights showed him doing a whole lot of yelling and doing his best Ultimate Warrior imitation as he returned to his position, Johnson smiled as his some of his teammates were ribbing him.
"People think I hate [Fernandez], but I love the guy," Johnson said. "I wear my heart on my sleeve, and that is probably why things got so out of hand. I learned a lot. Last year, I apologized to him and some of their guys the next day. People think it was one-sided with him doing all of the apologizing. I did a lot of things wrong last year with that experience."
Johnson's hot temper led to him being benched for two games last week after he unleashed his emotions during a dugout tantrum while going 0-for-5 during an April 12 win over the Nationals. Johnson entered Wednesday having hit .310 (9-for-29) in the seven games he had played since his benching. He recorded one of the three hits -- an eighth-inning single -- Fernandez surrendered while notching 14 strikeouts in eight innings on Tuesday.
"To an extent, I enjoy facing [Fernandez]," Johnson said. "He's the best you're going to get. So you put yourself up against the best and see how you stack up."