Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Notebook

Tampa Bay Rays' Dan Johnson hoping to take advantage of opportunity for starting first base job

PORT CHARLOTTE — As he has spent the past seven years bouncing between Triple-A teams in Sacramento and Durham and a season in Japan, Dan Johnson has hoped for one thing: the opportunity to be an everyday player in the big leagues.

Tuesday, he walked into the Rays clubhouse with that chance finally in front of him with the first base job seemingly his to lose.

"It's one of those things where I have the opportunity to go out and prove something this year," Johnson said. "I'm going to take every bit of opportunity I get and try to capitalize on it. This is it."

Johnson, 31, has seen chances evaporate before with the A's, but he is confident he can take advantage of this one, created when the Rays chose to sign Johnny Damon to play leftfield and Manny Ramirez to DH. They did hedge their bets somewhat, bringing in former Angels 1B Casey Kotchman on a minor-league contract (amid reports he has been impressive in workouts), and they have the option of using Ben Zobrist at first.

"I have a chance," Johnson said. "But you cannot take it for granted."

For all his success in Triple A — a .307 average and .980 OPS with 100 homers and 377 RBIs in 477 games — Johnson has yet to produce consistently in the majors. While notching some of the Rays' biggest hits during their 2008 and 2010 postseason runs, he has hit just .199 (with a .752 OPS) in 50 games for them and has a career big-league average of .243 and a .762 OPS.

"I know I can do it," Johnson said.

PITCHING IN: LHP J.P. Howell is excited about his recovery from shoulder surgery, but the Rays are going to be cautious. So while the other seven pitchers in his group throw their bullpen sessions today, he will be on a slightly restricted schedule, held back at least until Thursday.

MISSING CC: The players accept most of the offseason changes as part of the business of baseball, but veteran starter James Shields acknowledged it was especially odd to no longer have Carl Crawford — who signed with the Red Sox — in their clubhouse.

"That kind of got me a little bit," Shields said. "I think Crawford more than anybody. He got drafted in '99, I got drafted in 2000 by the Rays — we've been in this organization for a long time together.

"It's definitely sad to see him go. As far as my opinion, he's the best outfielder in the big leagues overall. And unfortunately he's in the same division still as me. So I have to work on my pickoff move and try to be quicker to home plate."

MISCELLANY: Thirty-seven of the 38 pitchers and catchers are expected for today's 10 a.m. opening workout, with the possibility that RHP Juan Cruz will be delayed due to visa issues. … There's talk that another player or two could be added to the 61-man spring roster. … Position players who joined the early reporters in advance of Monday's first full-squad session included SS Reid Brignac; OFs Sam Fuld, Justin Ruggiano and Matt Joyce; and Johnson. … The Rays are expecting new DH Manny Ramirez in camp by Monday.

Tampa Bay Rays' Dan Johnson hoping to take advantage of opportunity for starting first base job 02/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 10:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule

    Tennis

    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  2. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blogs

    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  3. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?

    Blogs

    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  4. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  5. State baseball: Unbeaten Calvary Christian makes it 29 straight wins, reaches final

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian is one game from season-long perfection. And its first state championship.

     Calvary Christian players celebrate their win after the FHSAA class 4A semi-final against American Heritage on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary defeated American Heritage 7 to 1. Calvary takes on Pensacola Catholic in the championship tomorrow night, at Hammond Stadium.