Fenway homer hero Dan Johnson signed
UPDATE, 11:35: Johnson said it wasn't a hard decision to come back to Tampa Bay: “When the Rays showed interest, it was easy for me. Obviously I have good memories with them. I was really interested in coming back.’’
Also, he has a split contract, meaning his pay at Triple-A is for less than when/if he's in the major leagues. If Johnson doesn't make the big-league roster, he would have to approve an assignment to Triple-A since he is out of options, and it sounds like he is open to that if he doesn't have a big-league opportunity elsewhere.
DEVELOPING: 1B Dan Johnson, who hit the dramatic home run at Fenway Park during the 2008 stretch run, signed a 1-year major-league deal.
Johnson, who will make $500,000, provides depth and insurance for the Rays, and could spend time at Triple-A Durham. He played in Japan last season for Yokohoma, where he hit .215 (70-for-325) with 24 home runs and 57 RBIs.
Johnson, 30, has a .248 average with 44 home runs, 161 RBIs, 165 walks and a .343 on-base percentage in 328 games over parts of four seasons with the A's and Rays.
He spent most of 2008 at Durham, where he earned player of the year honors hitting .307 with 25 homer, 83 RBI, 23 doubles, 84 walks, .424 on-base percentage and a .556 slugging percentage.
He played in 10 games for the Rays after a September call-up, hitting .200 with two homers and four RBI, but his most memorable moment was his first - a Sept. 9 ninth-inning, game-tying, pinch-hit homer off Jonathan Papelbon that led to a dramatic Rays win and propelled them to the AL East title.