Rob Johnson happy about landing in San Diego
For Rob Johnson, a new start in San Diego sounds perfect after the uncertainty of what might happen in the wake of being designated for assignment last week by the Mariners.
Johnson didn’t perform well last year and leaves Seattle on a low note, but those who worked with the 28-year-old catcher have nothing but positive hopes for a player who gave everything he could to the Mariners last year while pushing to come back as quickly as possible from a pair of offseason hip surgeries.
I spoke with Johnson shortly after his trade for a player to be named later or cash considerations was announced by the Mariners, who went looking a new direction after signing veteran Miguel Olivo.
No sour grapes from Johnson, just appreciation for getting his initial Major League shot with Seattle and a little wistfulness over not being 100-percent healthy last season when he and Adam Moore shared most of the catching duties.
“I couldn’t move the way I wanted to move,” he said. “But that’s the way it goes. I came off the surgeries, was asked to play, wanted to play and believed I could play. That’s where it ended up.”
The Butte, Mont., native is one of those throw-back guys who just sucks it up and does what he can. In this case, it wasn’t enough as he hit just .191 and struggled behind the plate with a league-high nine passed balls.
“I went out and gave everything I had at every moment,” he said. “I didn’t try to favor it. the end results were the end results. Now I get to turn the page and start new and look forward.”
In this case, that means heading to the Padres training complex — which just happens to be next door to the Mariners’ facility in Peoria, Ariz., about 15 minutes from where he lives with his wife and son.
In other words, his new start has a familiar feel.
“LIke my dad said, I just need to park in a different lot,” he said.
And take advantage of his new chance with the Padres, who are looking to replace Yorvit Torrealba, who signed with Texas last week. Nick Hundley split duties with Torrealba last year and is expected to get the bulk of work this coming year, but the Padres are definitely looking for someone to help out there and Johnson figures to get a good shot.
As for the Mariners’ return, at this point the player to be named later is unknown. But in these deals, if an agreement can’t be made within a certain time on who that PTBNL is, then it turns into a cash payment instead.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)