Dan Johnson, the former Blaine High School standout and 10-year MLB first baseman trying to make it back to the big leagues as a knuckleball pitcher with the St. Paul Saints, was signed Monday by the Dodgers and assigned to Class AA Tulsa.
With the Saints, Johnson went 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA — with that last number taking a big hit after a rough recent outing. In his three previous starts, Johnson had allowed only one earned run combined in 18 ⅔ innings. He's also clubbed six homers in 18 games of fill-in duty as a hitter for the Saints.
When I interviewed Johnson for a recent story, he said several organizations were tracking his progress, and that he hoped his sudden versatility as a guy who could pinch hit or work in long relief while also making a spot start at first base or on the mound would make him attractive to teams.
"I wouldn't just do this to do it," Johnson said. "I know what it takes, and I know what I have to do."
Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. firstname.lastname@example.org