The list of recent honors for Charlotte Knights starting pitcher Erik Johnson grew on Wednesday.
After earning International League Pitcher of the Week honors for the week of June 15-21 and being named to the IL All-Star team on July 2, Johnson has been tabbed as the IL’s starting pitcher for next Wednesday’s Triple-A All-Star Game in Omaha, Neb.
“It’s a huge honor being selected to start the game, and it’s a huge honor just to be a part of the game,” said Johnson, who is the fourth pitcher in franchise history to be named a starting pitcher for the Triple-A All-Star Game.
“I get to represent the entire International League as their starter, and that’s a great honor.”
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Johnson, who entered Wednesday’s game leading the IL in strikeouts with 96, is 7-5 with a 2.86 ERA this season. He’s surrendered only two runs (one earned) over his past 32 innings of work.
The Chicago White Sox selected Johnson in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, and he entered the 2014 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in the White Sox organization.
Johnson is one of four Knights on the IL All-Star roster, along with outfielder Trayce Thompson, third baseman Matt Davidson and relief pitcher Zach Phillips.
Thompson and Davidson will also start for the IL. Davidson also will participate in Monday’s Triple-A Home Run Derby.
The Knights will play a doubleheader in Norfolk, Va., on Friday, and Johnson is expected to make his last start before the All-Star Game in one of the two games.
“It’s my fifth day I go out there and start the game, so it’s really just another start,” he said. “I get to face some guys that I haven’t seen all year and you might get to see a little later on in your career.”
Knights’ Javy Guerra suspended after drug test
Charlotte Knights right-hander Javy Guerra received a 50-game drug suspension by Major League Baseball.
Guerra, who appeared in three games this season for the Chicago White Sox, was penalized Wednesday by the commissioner’s office after a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
Guerra, 29, has pitched in parts of five major league seasons. He had 21 saves as a rookie with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011.