Kelly Johnson has played almost everywhere in the Yankees infield, but his primary position is third base. In fact, he played 118 games at third base. Today, he’ll get the start at first base, a position he’s only played 18 times in his career. Despite that, Johnson is being considered as the Yankees backup first basemen, even with Alfonso Soriano taking drills at that position.
“I tried to sneak in there a few times (during drills),” Johnson said. “I did early work (Friday). I did it with Tex not too long ago last week which was huge because he’s awesome about teaching the stuff. I’ll try to get some ground balls. Probably the most important thing for me at first is footwork around the bag, being ready to make the right move to the ball if it’s a bad throw or a throw that’s off the bag, making sure you gain as much ground as you can and still stay on the bag.”
Johnson is a versatile player; he can play first, second, third, shortstop or the outfield. As a matter of fact, he’s a manager’s dream defensively. None of that matters to Johnson, as he says he still has a job to do and will do whatever the team asks of him.
“Either way you show up to play the game,” Johnson said. “Whatever the lineup card says. It’d be kind of like saying, are you going to be OK, usually you hit second but today you’re hitting eighth. It’s the same thing. You’re showing up to play so you’ve still got the job to do.”
– Brendan Ryan feels his oblique is a non issue and he expects he can do full activities on Wednesday.