Jan. 9, 2003
Notre Dame sophomore righthanded pitcher Grant Johnson (Burr Ridge, Ill.) underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in late December and is slated to miss the entire 2003 season. Johnson – a preseason All-American who was tabbed by Collegiate Baseball magazine as the preseason BIG EAST Conference pitcher of the year – enjoyed a stellar 2002 season in which he earned Freshman All-America honors and was selected to pitch with Team USA during the summer of ’02.
“This is a very tough break for Grant but we expect him to make a full recovery and be back pitching for the Irish in the 2004 season,” said ninth-year Notre Dame head coach Paul Mainieri.
“Historically, we have been a team that has rallied when faced with injuries and other challenges, and I fully expect our team to respond in the same fashion this season. Grant’s prognosis is good for a full recovery and he will have the support of his teammates and coaches while undergoing the rehabilitation process under the expert care of our athletic trainer Mike Bean.”
Johnson posted a 3.46 ERA in 18 appearances as a freshman, ranking second among BIG EAST pitchers in overall wins (9-5), third in starts (14, with nine “game-one” starts) and sixth in strikeouts (86). The 6-6, 220-pounder’s other 2002 stats included 44 walks, 94 hits allowed, a .249 opponent batting average, five wild pitches and nine hit batters.
Collegiate Baseball magazine named Johnson the national pitcher of the week after his one-hit, one-walk masterpiece in the 25-1 NCAA win over South Alabama – becoming just the 13th pitcher (fourth since ’81) ever to toss a no-hitter or one-hitter in NCAA tournament action. He then posted an opening-game victory in the NCAA Super Regional round at top-ranked Florida State and started the opening-game matchup versus Stanford at the College World Series.
Johnson logged 20 innings with Team USA during the summer of 2002, helping the staff post a team-record 1.48 ERA – with his personal stats including a 1.80 ERA and 2-1 record in five appearances (three starts), plus 25 strikeouts, 13 walks and 11 hits allowed.
Notre Dame’s other 11 returning pitchers combined to log 77 percent of the team’s innings last season (449 of 584), in addition to posting 39 of the 50 victories and making 54 of the 68 starts in 2002.