Rays legend Dan Johnson not giving up on knuckleball pitching
Though it didn't work with the Rays, Dan Johnson is not giving up on becoming a knuckleball pitcher.
Johnson, who tried unsuccessfully to start his new career with the Rays in spring training, signed with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League, where he will work as a pitcher and also play the field.
Johnson, whose place in Rays lore is secure based on hitting two of the most dramatic homers in franchise history, was released at the end of spring training by mutual agreement as a sore arm limited his work.
With Bridgeport, working under the tutelage of former big-leaguer Jesse Litsch, he will be able to work on a longer-term schedule.
"I am going to give it another try,'' Johnson said via text message to the Tampa Bay Times. "I never really gave it a try with the Rays. I got hurt so early it was just going to put me further behind. By doing this, I can control the pitching side of it and still get at-bats.''
Plus this way, Johnson said, he can also be available to a big-league team as a hitter.
"If my arm doesn't work out, I stillo want to play,'' he said. "I'm playing (with Bridgeport) for the freedom to do both.''
The Bluefish also have signed RHP David Carpenter, who was released by the Rays during spring training, and two other pitchers from their organization, Jake Thompson and Jimmy Patterson.