Dan Johnson is back with Rays - as a knuckleball pitcher
Dan Johnson - yes, that Dan Johnson, the one who hit two of the most dramatic homers in Rays history - is back with the team, but as a knuckleball pitcher.
"This is something I really wanted to try out,'' he said in Port Charlotte this afternoon.
Johnson, who spent his career primarily as a first baseman and DH, has agreed to a minor-league deal and, assuming he passes his physical, will work with Rays pitching coordinator Charlie Haeger.
Johnson, 36, has played 15 pro seasons, including parts of 10 in the majors, inlcuding part of last season with the Cardinals.
He said he was been throwing a knuckleball since he was a kid and experimented with in before in pro ball but is now making a legit bid.
"It's not the first time I've tried this out but this is the first time I feel like I can take it seriously,'' he said. ""This is the time. I'm 36 and ready to go on this.''
The chance to do so with the Rays made it even more appealing, he said,"What better place is there.''
He hit one of his dramatic homers in a key September 2008 game off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, and the other with two outs in the ninth of the wild Game 162 comeback in 2011.