Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

February 15, 2013

MLB: Lots of fresh faces, new hope for Royals

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Elliott Johnson brought four gloves with him on the official reporting date for Kansas City Royals position players.

After 11 years in the Tampa Bay Rays organization, Johnson was dealt to the Royals on Tuesday to complete the Dec. 9 trade that brought pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City.

He was issued No. 80 - his high school football number as a wide receiver - in his first day with his new team.

"It's a little bit different,'' Johnson said Thursday. "It's kind of like the first day of kindergarten, not school. I'm going to use kindergarten because I don't know anybody. The guys I do know, you could say I knew from day care. There are a lot of new faces. Everybody has been really nice. Everything has been squared away. I've just got to get used to everybody.''

Johnson hit .242 with six home runs, 33 RBIs, 32 runs and 18 stolen bases in 24 attempts in 123 games last season. He started 68 games at shortstop, but also played second, third and the outfield.

"In the minor leagues, (is) when they started making me a Super U (utility) guy,'' Johnson said. "I'm comfortable in the outfield. I've got plenty of arm for any of the positions out there and plenty of legs for any of them, too.''

Manager Ned Yost likes Johnson's versatility.

"He can play all different positions, a switch hitter that can handle the bat from both sides, (swings) a little better left-handed,'' he said. "He's a solid defender in the infield and a serviceable defender in the outfield.''

Johnson said he prefers playing shortstop.

"It starts at shortstop,'' Johnson said. "Shortstop is the toughest position on the field other than catcher, but it requires more of a skilled set with the legs. The longer you can stay at shortstop, the more you can prove you can play everywhere else. I feel like I fit that role pretty well. I've got all my gloves to go along with it.''

Johnson also has played a lot at second base

"I like my name in the lineup more than anything,'' Johnson said. "I've got a first baseman's glove, too, if they need to put me over there. I'm probably not the best option there. If you need me to play anywhere, I'm not going to tell them no.''

Yost said Johnson could be plugged in at shortstop for several games if Alcides Escobar would be out.

Another position Johnson could play, but not with the Royals, is shooting guard. He was a star high school basketball player with a 42-inch vertical leap.

"I can dunk,'' Johnson said. "I can do a windmill with one hand or two hands. I can do off the alley-oop. I can go backward. I can do a 360. If you threw it close to the rim, I would catch it and I could dunk it. I used to be able to jump really high. I haven't really played basketball a whole lot because it could potentially hurt my day job. I decided to move away from that and focus more on baseball because I felt that was a better idea for me.''

Escobar was experiencing visa issues in Venezuela, but is expected to arrive Friday night and workout Saturday.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0292web.jpg ‘All-State Sluggers’

    When Claremore’s Matt Whatley takes his place behind the plate tonight in the Oklahoma Coaches Association Large School East-West All-State baseball game, the former Zebra catcher will be right at home.
    Whatley, who started four years as the catcher for the Zebras, finds his final high school baseball game taking place in his future college ballpark.
    Last November, Whatley and his long-time friend, Bryce Howe, signed NCAA Division I baseball scholarships to play for the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles.
    Tonight, those dreams come true for Whatley and Jenks outfielder Cadon Owens, who will be joining his former Bearcats teammate on the East squad. Also, Verdigris' Ryan Skalnik will start at third base for the Large East All-State team.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NCAA proposed settlement raises medical questions

    A key feature of a proposed settlement of a head-injury lawsuit against the NCAA is the creation of a $70 million fund to pay for medical evaluations of current and former college players in several sports. The provision raises some sticky medical questions.

    July 30, 2014

  • NFL: Cowboys QB Romo skips full-pad session

    The Dallas Cowboys are taking it easy with Tony Romo's back.

    Romo sat out a competitive practice for the first time at training camp Tuesday, although coach Jason Garrett said it wasn't because of any setbacks from surgery for a herniated disk in late December.

    July 30, 2014

  • OSU alum Barry Sanders helping to work with Heads Up Football

    Barry Sanders and Randy Gradishar have joined the growing list of former NFL players who want to promote USA Football's safety program, Heads Up Football.

    July 30, 2014

  • ESPN suspends Stephen Smith for comments on abuse

    ESPN has suspended outspoken sportscaster Stephen A. Smith for a week because of his comments about domestic abuse suggesting women should make sure that they don't do anything to provoke an attack.

    July 30, 2014

  • NFL: Ray Guy's long wait to HOF comes to an end

    Ray Guy built a Hall of Fame career of making other people wait.

    Those anxious seconds for punt returners awaiting his booming kicks were nothing compared to the more than two decades Guy had to endure before finally getting the call that he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    July 30, 2014

  • MLB: Cubs drop Rockies in 16 innings

    Both the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies ran out of relief pitchers in a marathon game. The Rockies then turned to a starter. The Cubs used a catcher - and won.

    John Baker scored the winning run in the bottom of the 16th inning after pitching a scoreless top half, and the Cubs overcame a three-run deficit to beat Colorado 4-3 on Tuesday night.

    July 30, 2014

  • NFL: Sam factor prepares Rams for sensitivity session

    To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp.

    Such guidance could be valuable for the St. Louis Rams, even if by all accounts they have welcomed Michael Sam into the fold.

    July 30, 2014

  • MLB: Vin Scully returns for 66th season as Dodgers announcer

    Vin Scully is staying in the booth for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    The 86-year-old Hall of Fame announcer will return for his record 66th season with the team in 2015. The announcement was made by in Korean, Spanish and English by players Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner on the Dodger Stadium video board in the second inning of Tuesday night's game against Atlanta.

    July 30, 2014