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Johnson adds to NL-best average with pinch-hit

ATLANTA -- When Braves third baseman Chris Johnson was out of the starting lineup on Sunday vs. the Marlins with what he described as sore and fatigued legs, one of his teammates playfully told him that he was simply attempting to sit on his lead in the National League batting title chase.

Johnson lost his lead in this chase last week and then regained it with Saturday's four-hit performance. He improved his NL-leading batting average to .333 with a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning of Sunday's 7-0 loss to Miami.

"A month is a long time," Johnson said. "I'm trying not to worry about it just yet. If we get a week or a week and a half out and we're still up, maybe we can start looking at it and talking about it. But I'm just going to keep working on my at-bats and make sure I'm ready to go for the postseason. I'm just going to try to keep my mind off it. I think that is the best way to go about it."

Johnson expects to return to Atlanta's lineup for Monday afternoon's game against the Mets. This marked the second consecutive Sunday that he was given a chance to rest a minor ailment. He also missed just one game after developing turf toe during last weekend's series against St. Louis.

"The toe is really not much of an issue right now," Johnson said. "It's just turf toe, a jammed toe. It's just soreness -- one of those things that will probably be here until the end of the season. It doesn't really do anything. It doesn't affect my speed, really."

Johnson's humorous explanation should provide some comfort to those fantasy owners who are still hoping to receive at least one stolen base from him this season.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for Eric Single is an associate reporter for
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