When the Major League Baseball trading deadline came and went late last month, few expected Diamondbacks third baseman Chris Johnson would make the biggest impact in the National League West, much less all of baseball.
Entering Wednesday’s game against the Pirates, Johnson has hit five homers and driven in 15 runs after coming over in a trade from the slumping Astros. He slugged a grand slam in his Dbacks’ debut at Dodger Stadium and homered twice, including a go-ahead three-run blast in Tuesday’s win over the Pirates.
“It’s been fun,” Johnson told Brad Cesmat Wednesday on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “Coming over here and being in this new atmosphere it’s gotten me really pumped up. I was seeing the ball pretty well over in Houston and it kinda carried over.”
After taking over for fan favorite Ryan Roberts who was traded to the Tampa Rays, Johnson has added stability and production to an inconsistent lineup who has struggled to score runs and deliver clutch hits when needed. His teammates have certainly made the former Stetson University star feel comfortable in the desert.
“These guys have been great,” Johnson explained to Cesmat. “From the first day I got here, they’ve welcomed me with open arms. Guys are having fun. It’s all about winning. That’s all that matters.”
Manager Kirk Gibson has used Johnson is all parts of the lineup. After hitting seventh Tuesday, he was elevated to third on Wednesday. He said wherever he sees his name on the card, his approach doesn’t change. It’s part of the philosophy which has helped bring him success at the plate in Houston and Arizona.
Even with a rash of injuries to the pitching staff and players underperforming on the field, the Snakes find themselves in the thick of the NL West race as we head towards the closing weeks of the regular season.
They are hoping Johnson is the piece that helps put them back in the post-season.