Johnson motivated in start against former team

Johnson motivated in start against former team

KANSAS CITY -- Pitcher James Shields wasn't the only ex-Tampa Bay player to start against the Rays on Tuesday night.

Elliot Johnson, who joined the Royals in the same offseason trade, came off the bench to make his fifth start at second base.

Manager Ned Yost said his primary motivation was to get Johnson some at-bats and possibly improve his .118 batting average. But the fact that the Royals were playing the Rays figured into it as well.

"That's part of it, too," Yost said. "You know, when I got traded from Milwaukee to Texas, and we went in there the first game and I wasn't playing, I was mad. They want to play. And I'm trying to get Elliot going a little bit, too. He was a .270 hitter last year left-handed."

Johnson was pleased by the development.

"He saw me in the food room last night and let me know I was playing," Johnson said. "I appreciated the opportunity to try to get something going against these guys. You want to play every day, to be honest with you, but with them coming to town and Shields pitching, there's something to be said for that. I'm happy to get out there and play against these guys."

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.