Johnson returns to The Trop with Blue Jays

Johnson returns to The Trop with Blue Jays

ST. PETERSBURG -- With Adam Lind on the disabled list, the Blue Jays recalled first baseman Dan Johnson from Triple-A Buffalo. Johnson started at designated hitter and was in the eighth spot for Friday's series opener against the Rays, with whom Johnson spent three seasons of his career.

Johnson walked a career-high four times in Toronto's 8-5 win, the last of which led off the ninth inning in a tie game, starting a three-run Blue Jays rally.

"Well, you know, they resulted in runs, which is huge, especially in a tight game like this," Johnson said. "We were fortunate to get big hits in the right times there, and just being on base for them obviously helped the team win."

The last time Johnson played at Tropicana Field, he hit the game-tying pinch-hit home run with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 162 in 2011 -- when the Rays dramatically beat the Yankees in extra innings to make the playoffs on the season's final day.

"It was a memorable one, I'll tell you that," Johnson said. "The most I remember about that home run was when it stayed fair. It was an offspeed pitch away that I hooked down the line, and nine times out of 10, that ball's gonna hook foul. And it stayed fair, and there was this disbelief that it just happened."

The seat at The Trop where Johnson's home run ball landed is now painted white to commemorate the moment.

Rays manager Joe Maddon had a hard time spotting the seat before Friday's game -- he thought the home run had gone farther.

"That's all it went?" Maddon said, laughing, when he eventually spied it. "That's all that mattered. DJ's a big part of Rays lore."

In the Minors this season, Johnson was hitting .248 with a .402 on-base percentage and 17 homers for the Bisons.

Johnson played in Buffalo's game Thursday, which he said threw him off -- he had thought he might get the call when he learned Lind would be going on the DL, but he thought something might have changed when he saw his name in the Bisons' lineup.

Nothing had, though, and on Friday, it was Johnson taking the new spot in the clubhouse of his old stadium.

David Adler is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.