He's Here! So now what with Rays' Dan Johnson

Dan Johnson is finally in a Rays' uniform, just in time for the Jays and Rays series in Central Florida. So where will he fit in? How will he fit in? Ted Fleming of Rays Digest reports from Champions Field in Lake Buena Vista.

LAKE BUENA VISTA - First-baseman Dan Johnson joined the Rays and was in uniform for the first game of the three game series at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

He is wearing uniform #26.

"It was one of those things where I didn't have much choice in the matter," he said about being waived by the Athletics. "It was a long trip over."

The 28-year old is not sure what his role will be but for now it appears he will be Carlos Pena's backup as well as doing some pinch-hitting and seeing spot duty in the DH spot. According to Joe Maddon he had been working out on his own.

"He's been doing that for the last ten days to two weeks," the skipper said. "I want him to get some batting practice today and take some grounders and see what it all looks like. Then we'll try to establish things a little more clearly."

Pena did not start the series opener as the team is taking all due caution with their slugger and with Johnson still a relative unknown, Eric Hinske got the nod Tuesday evening.

Maybe tomorrow," he said. "He might have gone today but he wasn't convincing enough."


ROSTER DOIN'S: In addition the Rays activated catcher Dioner Navarro from the 15-day disabled list and to make room on the 25 and 40 man roster, former original Ray Mike DiFelice was designated for assignment.

"Navvy is ready to go," said Maddon. "He was throwing a lot and doing that well. He was hitting a lot, got his walks. Jamie Nelson, our minor league catching instructor thought he looked pretty good. Seems like it's all systems go right now. You got to check out his hand. All that glue seems to help."

The "glue" Maddon talked about is something along the lines of what bowlers use to help in closing up blisters or small cuts. In Navarro's case it was on more than one finger.

"Mike did a nice job," he said. "He made quite an impression on the whole group, the pitchers, the coaching staff and had some pretty big hits for us. He did a pretty nice job."

The Rays have ten days to ask waivers on, trade or release him. Should he clear waivers, DiFelice could return to the organization, whom he signed with on a minor league deal prior to spring training.

ONE MORE TIME: Lefty Scott Kazmir will make his second rehab start for Vero Beach Wednesday against Palm Beach Cardinals). If all goes well he will make one more start, this time with AAA Durham against the Richmond Braves before being activated early in May. Kazmir has been out since spring training with a left elbow strain.

DUCAT DOPE: Tickets to the Jays-Rays final two games are still available at the Tropicana Field box office (no service charge), phone 727-898-7297, 813-288-8844 or 407-839-3900, Ticketmaster, and on raysbaseball.com. They can also be purchased at the Champion Stadium box office. In addition, all fans attending the games in Orlando will receive a voucher for a ticket to a designated weekend game at Tropicana Field this season. Parking is free.

TUBE TIME FOR "HOME" GAMES: The Thursday game from Lake Buena Vista will be carried on FSN Florida while Wednesday is on ION-TV (Channel 66 in Tampa Bay and 56 in Orlando). All will be broadcast over the Rays radio network including WHNZ 1250-AM locally, WHOO 1080-AM in Orlando and for Spanish language listeners, on WGES 680-AM.

ARMS RACE: Pitching probables for games two and three of the Disney Series are as follows (Rays pitchers listed first): Jason Hammel (1-1, 4.26) vs Roy Halladay (2-2, 3.27) Wednesday; Jeff Niemann (1-0, 5.79) vs Dustin McGowan (0-1, 3.71) Thursday. The Rays will return to Tropicana Field Friday for a weekend set against Boston.

GOOSE EGG UNDER L: The Rays have undefeated records in just two parks entering Tuesday's second trip to the House of Mouse. They swept an Interleague series at Petco park against the Padres and did the same at Champions Park taking all three from the Rangers last year.

MINOR MATTERS (Organizational Record: 30-38, .441)
DURHAM (7-10): The Bulls were rained out Sunday at Norfolk. The scheduled makeup doubleheader was also washed away.

MONTGOMERY (7-11): The Biscuits dropped their third straight Monday in a 5-4 loss to Jacksonville. James Houser went 6.2 scoreless innings giving up just two hits and striking out five.

VERO BEACH (9-9): Dioner Navarro made his final rehab start and was 0-3 as the DH. The Devil Rays were also blanked by a 2-0 count to Brevard County. Jeremy Hellickson had five scoreless innings of four-hit ball as he fanned seven.

COLUMBUS (8-10): The RiverDogs downed the Catfish 7-2 Monday. Glenn Gibson allowed three runs and five hits over five innings. Mike McCormick was 2-4 with a two-run homer. Cody Cipriano had a 2-4 night with a double.

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