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Johnson gets test run in left field


BRADENTON, Fla. -- Kelly Johnson is expected to play a lot of second base this season, but he'll see time in left field, as well.

"This is everything we had talked about in the offseason with Andrew [Friedman, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations] a lot and then all of a sudden Kelly's a Ray," manager Joe Maddon said. "We talked about it in our meetings with him. That's part of what we do. We start to see guys moving around and being comfortable with it all, so it's going to be fun to watch.

"Listen, he's been a really good second baseman in the big leagues. This is something that I think is definitely going to help us. And I believe also it's going to be helpful to him, career-wise, by being able to develop more employment security by being able to do more things, whether it's with the Rays or possibly with someone else in the future. I just think it benefits him and us."

Johnson played left field Wednesday against the Pirates in Bradenton. He looked smooth playing a ball Pedro Alvarez hit to the wall in the second inning. Rather than run into the wall trying to make a catch that he wasn't likely to make, he stayed back and waited for the rebound, then threw to second.

"I didn't think I could catch it, I knew there was a better chance of throwing him [out]," Johnson said. "Wish I would have had a little cleaner exchange, maybe grab it with a bare hand. But I felt all right out there, didn't feel too much like a fish out of water."

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