Pirates return No. 2 prospect to Minors camp after injury

February 24th, 2023

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates announced on Friday that they sent Termarr Johnson, the Bucs' No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, to Minor League camp, ending the young star’s Major League Spring Training experience before it had even really started.

At fault was a balky right hamstring that Johnson aggravated during infield work on Tuesday, when he walked off the field and left practice altogether soon after. On Wednesday, Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said Johnson would be shut down for 10-14 days. Two days later, the club decided to err on the side of caution with its prized infielder, who is the No. 26 overall prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline.

“I’m not the most happy about it, but I know God has a plan for me, so I’m not too worried about it,” Johnson told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I’m just going to work my butt off in the rehab and make sure I’m ready when my 10 days are up.”

Johnson, MLB’s No. 1 second-base prospect per MLB Pipeline, was poised to enjoy his first big league camp after a standout season with Class A Bradenton. After nine games of Rookie ball to get his feet wet, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft slashed .275/.396/.450/ with four doubles, a homer and 10 walks in 14 games with the Marauders.

It created quite a buzz around the talented slugger, whom Pipeline said “emerged as one of the best pure prep hitters scouts had seen in years” before inking with Pittsburgh at a slightly over-slot bonus of $7.2 million.

Johnson’s rising star is now on hold for a bit as the club works to ensure his optimal health for the season. Hamstrings are tricky and take time to heal properly, and while taking a step back is the last thing either Johnson or the Bucs wanted, they’ve got the future to think about.

Despite the disappointment, it’s better to rest and treat now than risk being shelved when it counts.