Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Ex-Ray Dan Johnson to take knuckleball to independent league

BALTIMORE — Though it didn't work with the Rays, Dan Johnson is not giving up on becoming a knuckleball pitcher.

Johnson, 36, released from Rays minor-league camp after being limited by a sore arm, has signed with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League, where he will work as a pitcher and also play first base and DH.

"I am going to give it another try," Johnson said via text message Sunday 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. … Signing with (an independent league team) gave me the freedom to do both."

Johnson's place in Rays lore is secure based on hitting two of the most dramatic homers in franchise history. With Bridgeport, he will work under the tutelage of former big-leaguer Jesse Litsch, a Pinellas Park native.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

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