"[It's] great to keep a guy like that in the organization," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He knows how much we like him. It's unfortunate it worked out that way this spring, but it's great that he accepted the assignment to come back. We like having him with us. We see him as being very helpful at some point in the season."
Johnson, who was with the Rays in 2008, and contributed one of the most memorable moments of that season despite his short stint with the big league club, spent the '09 season playing for the Yokohama Bay Stars in Japan, for whom he batted .215 with 24 homers and 57 RBIs in 117 games.
The 30-year-old left-handed hitter was originally a seventh-round pick by the Athletics in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft, and he spent his first seven seasons of professional baseball with them. He was then claimed off waivers by the Rays in April 2008.
While appearing in 113 games for the Rays' Triple-A affiliate, Johnson was named Player of the Year for Durham, batting .307 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs. He was then called up in September 2008 and had one of the most famous moments during Tampa Bay's run to a World Series berth, hitting a pinch-hit, game-tying home run off Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning at Fenway Park on Sept. 9, during an eventual 5-4 win for the Rays.
In parts of four seasons in the big leagues, Johnson sports a .248 batting average with a .343 on-base percentage, .420 slugging percentage and 44 homers in 328 games. He saw his most action in 2007, when he hit .236 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs.