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Where the !@*&$ is Reed Johnson?

It's the question that should be on every Cubs fan's mind, especially after the recent controversy between Lou and Milton Bradley at the Cell over the weekend and Alfonso Soriano's legendary slumping season (most recently going 0-15): where is Reed Johnson?

The first and obvious answer is the 15-game DL since Saturday. But hear me out.

Here's a guy who was batting over 300 for you last season, who was your most consistent outfield alternative (especially with the aged and inconsistent Jimmy Edmonds on your squad). Obviously the Cubs organization are resigned to the fact that they're stuck with Bradley for at least next season, you don't sign a guy to a 3-year, $30 million contract and send him to the pasture the second things get rough, and that they're probably stuck with Soriano until the end of his contract, you don't sign a guy to a 8-year, $136 million contract and send him to the pasture the second things get rough, but we need to see less of Bradley and Soriano and more of Reed.

Johnson this season has been playing with a higher average (.268 to Bradley's .238 and Soriano's .232), higher slugging percentage (.446 to Soriano's .427 and Bradley's .376), and fewer strikeouts (16 to Bradley's 42 and Soriano's dismal 76). Obviously the numbers are slightly skewered, based on a variety of factors, but in a sport dominated by the numbers game Johnson trumps all.

Look for Johnson to get more starts and at-bats off the bench when he comes back from injury early in July. This will be around the same time Ramirez gets back into the lineup and hopefully contributions from these two will be the spark the Cubs need to make the push after the All-Star break. The Central Division is still within grasp, the Cubs just need to pick up their offense.

Jake Boyle
Jakefboyle@gmail.com

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