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Johnson at peace with stepping away from game

Johnson at peace with stepping away from game

SAN DIEGO -- Former Major League catcher Rob Johnson, who played for four teams over seven seasons, knew his attempt to get back to the big leagues as a pitcher would be a long shot.

"I really felt there were three things that could happen," Johnson said by phone Friday from his home in Austin, Texas. "I would do really well and get back to the big leagues. I wouldn't do well and get released or I'd get injured."

As it turns out, Johnson, 31 was right about the latter.

On Friday, he spoke for the first time since being told late last month that he'd torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow earlier this spring, thus effectively ending his career after he signed a Minor League deal with the Padres.

"I'm at complete peace with it," said Johnson, who played for the Padres in 2011. "I'm enjoying being at home with the kids."

This is the first summer Johnson has had off since the Mariners drafted him in the fourth round of the 2004 Draft out of the University of Houston.

Known for his superior game-calling ability, Johnson played four seasons for the Mariners (2007-10), one for the Padres, 2012 with the Mets and last season with the Cardinals.

He suffered elbow pain in Spring Training He rested and rehabilitated the elbow for three weeks before resuming throwing. Johnson was close to heading out to an affiliate, but felt pain again during a throwing session.

Shortly thereafter, Johnson was diagnosed with the torn ligament. He will eventually need Tommy John surgery, especially to play catch with his three children, ages 5, 3 and 2. He's also looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Kristan.

Johnson said the biggest thing he'll miss is the daily friendships he had with teammates.

"I'll miss the camaraderie of the guys. It's such a very small world in baseball," he said. "As a player, you go through a lot of pressures, pressures of the game, leaving your family to go play.

"But when you're playing in front of 30,000 or 40,000, and it's you against the other guy, each trying to put your best foot forward, that's a lot of fun."

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

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