Johnson enjoying himself in Chicago
Outfielder harbors no animosity towards his former team
TORONTO -- Despite playing for the Blue Jays for the first five years of his career, Reed Johnson was a little confused when he arrived at Rogers Centre on Friday. He did not know where to find the visitor's locker room.
"I'd never been in this locker room," said the Cubs outfielder, speaking to a horde of Toronto reporters in the Chicago clubhouse. "So I didn't even know where to go. People were telling me where to go. That was definitely different, walking into this locker room."
Johnson, who was a member and fan-favorite of the Blue Jays from 2003-07, was making his first return to Toronto as a visiting player. He was released by the Jays in Spring Training after the team signed Shannon Stewart and felt it did not have room for both outfielders.
While he admits it was hard to leave the organization in which he still has many friends, Johnson has no regrets.
"I think that where I'm at, I wouldn't want to be any other place right now," he said. "At the time it was shocking because you're out of a job and you don't know what's going to happen to you ... especially when you've been in an organization for nine years and you don't know anything else."
However, Johnson also said that it was nice to draw interest from multiple teams, especially the Cubs.
"To know that there are other teams out there that are interested in you, especially one of this caliber, especially where I'm playing right now, it's just really no better feeling than being here in Chicago," he said.
In 52 games for the Cubs this year, Johnson has hit .267 with two home runs, 10 doubles and 28 RBIs. He also boasts a .346 on-base percentage. Although, he wasn't in the lineup for Friday's game, the 31-year-old said he would be ready whenever manager Lou Piniella needed.
"What that does is keep me prepared," Johnson said. "So that way, when I'm in there tomorrow or the next day, I'm ready to go because I'm still getting my work in the [batting] cage or working hard out in the outfield. I'll be ready when my button is pushed."
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.