Q & A with Brent Johnson

Few Mariners 2004 draftees have had as impressive of a start to their pro career as Everett third baseman/outfielder and 14th round pick Brent Johnson. InsidethePark talked with the former UNLV star recently to learn a little bit more about his versatile approach to the game.

InsidethePark.com: You've been used in a couple different roles with the team, namely right field and third base. Have you enjoyed being used in that manner?

Brent Johnson: I'm one of those fortunate guys that is a utility-type player that can play anywhere in the field, which is a good thing because it's a little bit more of an advantage for myself. If one guy is hurt or a backup is needed, wherever it may be, they can turn to me.

ITP.com: How has your first month and a half of professional baseball gone?

Johnson: I've been hitting leadoff most of the year. That's been a change for me from college, where I was 3-4-5. It's a little different because I'm aggressive but at the same time I'm trying to help the team out as far as giving the nine guys in the lineup a chance to see what the guy pitches. Try to make them work and find a way to get on.

ITP.com: When you're batting leadoff, does that change your thinking during an at bat?

Johnson: It makes me think a little bit more on my approach. In 1-0 counts I might be a little aggressive, but at the same time it's got to be right there. It's been a little change for me. I can't really swing out of my shoes at some or swing at some pitches just because it's a hitters count.

ITP.com: Now, we've seen you in both the infield and outfield so far this year with Everett. Where'd you play in college at UNLV?

Johnson: I was back and forth. This past year I was mainly in the outfield. I only played about five games at third and outfield the rest of the year. My freshman and sophomore years I started in the outfield but 10-to-15 games in I moved to third base for the rest of the year.

ITP.com: What's the toughest part about being a pro?

Johnson: The biggest thing is adjusting to the wood bat if you come out of college or high school. But you've got to have the same approach and be just as comfortable and not gunshy.

ITP.com: We know you have a strong arm and great athleticism that allows you to play numerous positions. Do you have a favorite position?

Johnson: Growing up in little league I was always the shortstop and pitcher. I'm open to any position. I just look at it like if I'm out there I'm fortunate enough to have a chance to play and show them what I've got.

If there was any position I would like to play in the infield it would be third base because I'm more of a reaction type guy. A ball smashed to you, you can knock it down get back up and throw out the runner. At shortstop, if you boot it just a little bit, it's pretty much an error. If there was any position, it'd be the corners.

ITP.com: What are your goals for the final month of the season?

Johnson: I'd like to master my positions as far as looking at your errors throughout the course of the season. How many did you make? How many attempts did you have?

InsidethePark.com would like to thank Johnson for sitting down and talking to us about his first summer as a pro.

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