Padres backstop Johnson clears waivers

Padres backstop Johnson clears waivers

Padres backstop Johnson clears waivers
SAN DIEGO -- Rob Johnson's brief tenure with the Padres came to an end on Tuesday, as the catcher cleared outright waivers and elected to become a free agent.

Johnson, who was traded from the Mariners to San Diego in December, hit .190 over 179 at-bats and 67 games. He hit three home runs and knocked in 16 runs while serving as the primary backup to Nick Hundley.

"Statistically, offensively, I didn't have as good a year as I wanted to," Johnson said. "Hit a lot of balls hard, a lot of line drives right at people. But that's part of the game. I felt as if I brought some value to the team."

Johnson, who was lauded by pitchers for his ability to call a game, said he found a lot of solace in the fact that he completed the entire season healthy. Health isn't something that Johnson will ever take for granted, especially after having surgery on both hips after the 2009 season.

Johnson started feeling pain in his hips in May 2009 while with the Mariners. He tried to fight through it, even though it pained him greatly to do the things required of catchers: squat, move laterally and block balls in the dirt.

This season, fully healthy and with added flexibility after working out with a specialist before Spring Training in Arizona, Johnson truly felt like a catcher again.

"As far as confidence in my body, the way I was moving this year I felt very confident," Johnson said. "Two years removed from surgery, I couldn't have been happier with the way that I felt."

Johnson feels as if he can help a Major League team in 2012 and is excited to see where his next landing spot will be.

"Over the next couple of months, I'll go through my options and come up a decision. I hope a couple of [teams] are interested in me," Johnson said. "We'll see what will come. I'll be ready just like I was this year. I'll stay positive and control the things I can control."

Also on Tuesday, the A's claimed outfielder Cedric Hunter and reliever Evan Scribner off waivers from the Padres.

Hunter, who made the team out of Spring Training, had one hit in four at-bats, including his first Major League hit against the Giants on April 5. He hit .255 with two home runs and 33 RBIs in 81 games with Triple-A Tucson.

Scribner had a 7.07 ERA in 10 games this season with the Padres. Like Hunter, he spent most of the season with Tucson, going 2-3 with a 4.71 ERA in 28 games.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.