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Johnson willing to embrace utility role

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Utility player Elliot Johnson, obtained by the Royals after 11 years in the Tampa Bay organization, arrived on Thursday and admitted it felt different.

"It's like the first day of kindergarten because I don't know anybody and the few guys I do know, I guess you could say I know from daycare," Johnson said. "A lot of new faces but everybody's been real nice, everything's been squared away."

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Johnson turned out to be the player to be named by the Rays, joining pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis in the trade to the Royals. He's listed as an infielder-outfielder.

"I like short, I like second, but I like my name in the lineup card more than anything," he said.

Johnson says he can play anywhere in the field even though he's played just seven games in the outfield during his 200-game Major League career.

"I played out there plenty, even when I was younger and in the Minor Leagues when they started making me a super-U guy," he said. "I'm comfortable out there and I've got plenty of arm for any of the positions out there and plenty of legs for any of them, too."

Johnson also brought a first baseman's mitt.

"If you need me to play anywhere, I'm not going to tell them no," he said.

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