Rays sell Johnson to Japanese club

Rays sell Johnson to Japanese club

ST. PETERSBURG -- Dan Johnson, who hit perhaps the biggest home run of the year for the Rays in 2008, has been sold to the Yokohama Bay Stars of the Japanese Central League.

With the Rays clinging to a half-game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East on Sept. 9, Johnson was recalled from Triple-A Durham. In his first at-bat with Tampa Bay, Johnson hit a game-tying pinch-hit home run off Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning, and the Rays went on to win 5-4.

Johnson, 29, was named Durham's Player of the Year after playing 113 games for the Bulls at designated hitter, first base, third base and left field. Hitting cleanup at Durham, Johnson hit .307 with 25 home runs and 83 RBIs.

In 10 games with the Rays, Johnson hit .200 with two home runs and four RBIs.

The Rays originally acquired Johnson off waivers from the A's on April 18. He was added to the 25-man roster April 21 and was in uniform for one game before getting designated for assignment April 23 after Tampa Bay acquired Gabe Gross from Milwaukee.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.