FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Life is back to normal for Red Sox first-base coach Ron Johnson.
He spent some time Friday night reflecting on the fact that he was returning to his day job Saturday afternoon at City of Palms Park.
Johnson missed the final two months of last season to return home after his 11-year-old daughter was involved in an accident and nearly lost her life last August. Her left leg was severed when a car hit the horse she was riding near the family’s farm in Morrison, Tenn. Bridget Johnson is doing well and she was recently fitted for a prosthetic leg.
For the first time in a long time on Saturday, Johnson was able to concentrate on baseball.
“To see the lineup posed, it was like, ‘Yeah, we’ve got a game today.’ It was fun. I’m in a good spot right now," he said. “It was fantastic. It really was. It was great. It was the final thing before normal. I really enjoyed it, and I got my fat-man jog down by the third inning.”
Ever since the accident, he’s always been by his daughter’s side. His family spent the first portion of spring training here before returning home. They’re scheduled to return next week.
“I’m a baseball coach for the best organization in the world, and I’m really excited about this ball club, as everybody else is,” Johnson said. “It has a chance to be special and I have a chance to be a part of it. I miss my family, I love my girls, but do I want to be here? Yes.”
Red Sox manager Terry Francona enjoyed having Johnson back on the field and in the dugout.
“It’s good to have him back,” Francona said. “He looks happy, and he should be.”