Johnson optimistic about right knee

Johnson optimistic about right knee

ATLANTA -- Kelly Johnson's strained right knee kept him out of Wednesday night's lineup against the Pirates. But the Braves second baseman believes he could return within the next two days.

Johnson was forced to exit Monday night's home opener in the fourth inning. He has been battling discomfort in his knee over the course of the past year and believes that he aggravated it while running the bases, or possibly when sliding to catch a grounder.

"We'll give him a day off and see if we can get it to calm down," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "The good thing is we can use him anytime we want as a pinch-hitter."

In Johnson's absence on Wednesday, Martin Prado served as the leadoff hitter and second baseman.

Johnson described the discomfort by saying that it felt like somebody had stabbed his knee with a knife. Last year, when he felt similar pain, he was always able to bounce back quickly.

But over the past few weeks, Johnson has been bothered by the discomfort for longer stretches. An MRI taken in January revealed no structural damage.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.