White Sox

Micah Johnson: MLB has platform to reach African American youth

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Micah Johnson: MLB has platform to reach African American youth

CLEVELAND -- Micah Johnson thinks Major League Baseball has an audience with young African Americans, it just needs to reach them.

The White Sox second baseman is excited for the opportunity to start Wednesday on Jackie Robinson Day and to pay tribute to the legendary Brooklyn Dodger. But Johnson, who will bat ninth when the White Sox play the Cleveland Indians, is saddened by the decline in African American players, who only represent 7.8 percent of the players on Opening Day rosters. He hopes MLB takes advantage and better markets players like Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen and San Diego’s Tyson Ross, Justin Upton and Melvin Upton.

“It’s not like what it used to be,” Johnson said. “Basketball is kind of huge. … “Everybody knows who Steph Curry is and Kyrie Irving. Everybody knows who those guys are because they’re on TV all the time.

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“That’s what it really takes is to kind of put it in the face of the kids so they can see. You’ve got a guy like McCutchen, an MVP who has dreads … you can be yourself and still play baseball.”

Even though the day is intended to honor Robinson, as players throughout the league wear No. 42 jerseys, Johnson also believes it honors the late White Sox great Minnie Minoso. Same as Robinson, Minoso endured hardships because of his skin color and race. Johnson sees Minoso, who passed away in February, as a trailblazer for many of his Spanish-speaking teammates.

“He’s equally important,” Johnson said. “He set the stage for (Jose) Abreu and all these guys, the international game.”

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Johnson doesn’t expect baseball’s African American population to continue to decline. But he also thinks MLB, which has worked to create opportunities in the inner-city in several major markets across the United States, needs to continue its proactive efforts to draw more fans.

“Everything always has those phases,” Johnson said. “It’s going to take baseball to put the players to the forefront. Market the McCutchens, the Uptons, the Brantleys, Tyson Ross, Taijuan Walker, Dee Gordon, all these young faces to really put them out there so that kids can see them.”

Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

Tim Anderson helped off field with ankle sprain, will be reevaluated Wednesday

White Sox fans saw a sight they hoped they'd never see Tuesday night.

Tim Anderson was helped off the field with an ankle injury in the fifth inning of Tuesday night's game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, hurt while making a play on a ground ball on a wet night in Massachusetts.

The White Sox announced later in the evening that Anderson has a sprained ankle and that X-rays were negative. The team added that Anderson will be reevaluated Wednesday.

Anderson made an on-the-run throw to nab J.D. Martinez at first base, but a play that Anderson has made look fairly routine over the past couple seasons this time included a slip on the rain-soaked infield. The White Sox star shortstop fell to the ground in pain immediately. After having his ankle briefly checked by the trainer, Anderson was helped off the field, into the dugout and into the clubhouse.

The rain poured down on Fenway Park on Tuesday night. The start of the game was delayed a half hour, but the teams played through steady rains throughout, worsening playing conditions, something the White Sox and every team across baseball have had to deal with quite often this season.

The degree of Anderson's ankle sprain is unknown, but the sight of him coming off the field was a nightmarish one for the White Sox and their fans. A sigh of relief came with the team's update, which did not include the words "Achilles" or "tear."

Anderson has emerged as one of the faces of the franchise this season, earning AL Player of the Month honors after a sensational April and earning national attention for flipping his bat after home runs and his mission to make what he calls a "boring" game more fun. He's got a .317/.342/.491 slash line on the season.

Anderson is undoubtedly a core piece for the rebuilding White Sox, who can pen him in as their shortstop of the future as well as the present.

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Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Will the White Sox get a win in Boston against the former World Series Champs?

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USA TODAY

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: Will the White Sox get a win in Boston against the former World Series Champs?

Scott Podsednik and Doug Glanville join Leila Rahimi to talk all things Chicago baseball as the Cubs take on game two against the Braves and the Sox look to get a win in Boston.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: