Johnson returns to Blue Jays' lineup with a bang

Johnson returns to Blue Jays' lineup with a bang

Johnson returns to Blue Jays' lineup with a bang
TORONTO -- Second baseman Kelly Johnson tested his sore hamstring before Monday's series opener with the Orioles and was pronounced ready to go.

Was he ever.

Johnson wasted no time making an impact, legging out a double in the first inning and scoring on Colby Rasmus' single. With the double, he extended his string of reaching base safely to 20 games.

Johnson ended with two doubles, a two-run homer and three RBIs in the 6-2 win after missing the two previous games.

"He swung the bat very well," manager John Farrell said. "His gait is still a little bit guarded. He has to manage that situation a little bit, as we all know. The two games down gave him a little bit of some fresh legs, and the way he swung the bat was just outstanding."

Johnson was removed for pinch-hitter Omar Vizquel in the eighth inning of Friday's 14-3 loss to the Rangers, and afterward received an injection to reduce the inflammation, which has been bothering him for a while.

"You know one thing we're finding out about Kelly, he's got an extremely high pain threshold," Farrell said. "He's dealing with some discomfort, he's not 100 percent. But he's able to play to the capability that he is right now. It's something that we monitor every day."

"If it is going to hurt while I'm running bases, then I hope it hurts all game long," Johnson said. "We're done trying to be 100 percent. Everybody's playing with something. At 88 or 85 percent, that's good enough."