PEORIA, Ariz. -- During his lone season as a backup catcher with the Padres in 2011, Rob Johnson spent one afternoon in the bullpen at Petco Park -- not as a catcher, but throwing a bullpen session while the coaching staff and some members of the front-office staff watched.
Nothing came of it at the time, though it's become apparent that Johnson has now officially ditched his catching gear for the chance to make it back to the big leagues, this time as a pitcher.
Johnson, 31, recently signed a Minor League contract with the Padres as a pitcher. He'll report to camp on Feb. 28 with the rest of the Minor League players.
Johnson hit .190 in 199 plate appearances with the Padres during the 2011 season and later spent time in the big leagues with the Mets (2012) and Cardinals (2013).
Johnson actually tossed one inning for the Mets in 2012 and then got one out in an August loss for the Cardinals last season, so this conversion isn't entirely out of the blue for him.