TORONTO -- Elliot Johnson, penciled in as the No. 9 hitter Monday against the Blue Jays, has done a lot of things that have impressed Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Johnson is coming off his best game of the season, where he went 3-for-4 with a homer against the Orioles on Sunday. Maddon said Johnson needs to be a little bit more patient, if anything, look for his pitch and stop expanding the strike zone. Maddon said Sunday's game is the kind that Johnson should build on, but is not sure if Johnson's role will increase.
"I don't know, he's doing well right now," Maddon said when asked if Johnson would see more playing time. "I don't want to push the envelope. He can be as good as he wants to be as he continues to play the entire game and not just try to play a big game offensively. He plays the whole game offensively. He's a really good defender anywhere you put him. He runs well, has a great arm. He has all the attributes you're looking for. The part that has held him back is probably the offensive side, and right now, he's playing it properly, meaning he is just not trying to put the ball in the seats.
"He has enough power to be a bad hitter ... when you walk into one, all of sudden, you want to walk into one every at-bat ... and then you start swinging at balls and you're not nearly as attractive a hitter."
Johnson has played four different positions this season and has seen a lot of playing time, despite not having a set role on the club. He entered Monday's contest riding a career-best five-game hitting streak.