Padres pitcher Erik Johnson will make his first start for the team Saturday night at Coors Field in Colorado. He was recently acquired for James Shields and hoping to make a good debut.
The Padres were not getting what they wanted out of Shields so were happy to trade him to Chicago for Johnson and a minor league prospect and even pay a portion of his remaining salary to get him out of San Diego.
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Johnson has bounced around between AAA and the Majors for the White Sox since the end of 2013, but the Padres are certainly giving him the chance to be a mainstay in their own injury-ravaged rotation without a lot of pressure.
Johnson is still just 26 and eager for the new opportunity: “I’ve had a couple Septembers; I’ve had a lot of spot starts, helping out the rotation when needed,” Johnson said. “I’ve been kind of waiting for my time, for my card to be pulled. I think the Padres are giving me an opportunity to go out and pitch.”
His last start was June 2 in AAA Charlotte where he pitched 7 innings and allowed just one run. He struck out 5 and walked 2 in the start.
While Coors Field is not the ideal place to make your debut for a new team, the Padres are excited to see what he can do for them this season and at least he should get some run support before coming home where the Padres have struggled this year to score runs.
While the Padres mishandled how they discarded James Shields, Johnson only had good things to say about he has been treated since his trade to the team last week:
“The whole transition, the whole trade has been very welcoming here. The experience as a whole – it’s been exciting for me to get this opportunity to come over here and help this club out the best I can.”
The Padres hope to get Tyson Ross back after the All Star Break, but with the team well out of contention it will be interesting to see if they trade Andrew Cashner who will be a free agent at years end or hang on to him through the end of the season. The tryout for the 2017 rotation begins tonight for Erik Johnson.