Former San Diego Padres’ catcher Rob Johnson, who spent a single season with the team in 2011, was attempting to make a comeback in baseball as a pitcher. After seven seasons, four teams, and an elbow that will now require Tommy John surgery, Johnson has pulled the plug on his comeback attempt. Corey Brock of MLB.com spoke to Johnson by telephone earlier today from Johnson’s home in Texas:
“I really felt there were three things that could happen…I would do really well and get back to the big leagues. I wouldn’t do well and get released or I’d get injured.” ~Former Padres’ catcher Rob Johnson
Johnson had signed a minor league deal with the Padres earlier this season, with the hopes of returning as a 31-year-old pitcher and continuing his big league career. Johnson went on to tell Brock that he was “…at complete peace with it.”, referring to his decision to end his career rather than having surgery, and attempting another comeback. Johnson said he’s excited to be home with his three children, 7, 5, and 2 in age.
Johnson had previously spent time with the Seattle Mariners, the Padres, the New York Mets, and the St. Louis Cardinals. He had injured his throwing elbow during spring training, and had hoped that rest and rehab would allow him to try and continue his baseball journey. After feeling pain in the elbow once he resumed throwing, he had a decision to make. He chose family and retirement rather than a grueling rehab to play minor league baseball.
When Brock asked Johnson what he would miss the most about playing professional baseball, Johnson replied:
“I’ll miss the camaraderie of the guys. It’s such a very small world in baseball…As a player, you go through a lot of pressures, pressures of the game, leaving your family to go play…But when you’re playing in front of 30,000 or 40,000, and it’s you against the other guy, each trying to put your best foot forward, that’s a lot of fun.”
You can never blame a guy for making the decision to call it a career, and spend time with family, especially small children, who are only little once. Johnson had a nice career–almost a decade in length at the big league level, and now can concentrate on being a father and husband. Perhaps he will return to the game in some capacity once his children get older. We at Friars On Base wish Rob and his family the very best of luck in their future endeavors!