Atlanta Braves first-base coach Terry Pendleton made sure that Chris Johnson knew how he felt after a big mistake.
In the Braves' 4-5 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night, Chris Johnson slid headfirst to first base after hitting a 1-2 grounder, but was out quickly after shortstop Jimmy Rollins made a dive and throw. Johnson lay facedown on the ground then picked himself up and walked back to the dugout.
Clearly losing his temper, Johnson flipped his helmet towards the bench to consolation pats from teammates. Suddenly, Terry Pendleton grabbed and shoved him.
It was expected that tensions would run high in the Braves camp, as they are neck-and-neck with the St Louis Cardinals for the NL number 1 seed. But at first glance, a coach should not have gone the route of physically attacking his player. But as Pendleton's flippant display showed, there was little respect for the game or its coaches.
Johnson clearly tried to go for a hustle play with his headfirst dive, but clearily, Pendleton did not see it that way. It also seemed that Johnson's helmet bounced and hit the first-base coach, who was by then fuming at Johnson's lapse in judgment.
Both Johnson and Pendleton appear to have mended fences after manager Fredi Gonzalez convened a meeting.
"It's all good. I talked to TP. We're all good," Johnson said on Monday.
Defending his coach, Johnson told media that his coach only gets confrontational when bad decisions are made.
"He's one of those guys when it happens, he's going to confront you as soon as it happens ... It's good for me to learn from that and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Incidentally, Johnson did not start in Atlanta's final regular-season game against the Phillies. Gonzalez denied that it was a result of the altercation, telling media that the no-start was meant to preserve his star slugger for the playoffs.
Johnson carries a .321 batting average -- good for second in the NL -- and 12 homers and 68 RBIs. He was acquired by the Braves in an offseason trade that also snagged Justin Upton from Arizona, and flourished after Juan Francisco was traded to Milwaukee.
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