ST. PETERSBURG -- Erik Johnson was placed on the disabled list with a right groin strain after leaving his start from Triple-A Charlotte on July 3. The 23-year-old Johnson, rated as the No. 3 White Sox prospect by MLB.com, is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 16 innings and three starts since being promoted from Double-A Birmingham to Charlotte.
"It's real, but I don't think it's serious. You have to be careful," said White Sox assistant general manager Buddy Bell of Johnson's injury. "We would do the same with anybody, but especially with him. We have to make sure he's good. He may not pitch until after the All-Star break."
Pitching in his second full Minor League season, Johnson could benefit from working the full 2013 campaign for the Knights. Bell also believes that the talented right-hander could compete for the White Sox at the big league level.
"He could pitch up here, and I think he can win," Bell said. "How consistent he can be, your guess is as good as mine. If you have fastball command, you have a chance, and he has that. He'll waver at times.
"The first couple of starts at Charlotte, he had a real hard time getting a feel for his breaking ball. He was able to get to his fastball and by the time the game was over, [Josh] Phegley got him into a good routine with his fastball and his breaking ball, which he'll have to do when he gets up here. If he gets up here and has a couple [rough] innings early, in the big leagues you can't make that mistake. But he continues to get better."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.