Originally Published: Jan 25, 2010 9:48 AM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Reporter
TULSA, Oklahoma -- There's often silence except for that rhythmic thud.
One of baseball’s rising stars in perfecting his pitches in Tulsa as he prepares for another season in Major League Baseball.
"I don't have eyes staring at me or people asking questions - it's nice to have that sometimes, but sometimes you want to come in here and get your work done quick and get out of here," said Josh Johnson.
The Jenks native and Florida Marlins ace has been training at Oral Roberts the past two off-seasons, taking advantage of the Golden Eagles' brand-new indoor facility that opened late last year.
"He can stay focused on what they're doing and not a whole lot of distraction," said ORU baseball coach Rob Walton. "I think it's a great deal for Josh and it probably happened at the right time for him."
Said Johnson, “Tulsa's just a comfortable place for me to come back to. It's a very slow pace of life for me, which is perfect for me, coming from Miami - it gets a little hectic and a little crazy."
Johnson can expect more of the same this season, especially after signing a new deal that will pay him $39 million over the next four years.
"He may be a little bit of a throwback - he's a very quiet, humble guy and he's not a guy that's going to blow his own horn or is trying to create attention," Walton said.
"You can only put pressure on yourself," Johnson said. "That's kind of the way I look at it and it works for me that way," Johnson said. "I break it down like, 'you don't have to do this today. Just go out there and pitch your game and get deep into the game - that's the only way I can break it down, easier for myself. It's worked for me the last year and a half."
Johnson will be the featured speaker at the Golden Eagles’ annual Diamond Dinner on Friday evening, which serves as a kick-off to the ORU baseball season.
“I’ve worked out here the last two years and they’ve been absolutely tremendous to me,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely time to give back to them and help out a little bit. It’s definitely good to get into the Tulsa community to help out and do whatever I can to get out there.”
ORU Diamond Dinner
When: Friday, January 29 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills
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