Kelly Johnson given ideal circumstances in surprise trade to Red Sox

August 02, 2014 - 3:06 pm

The oddity of Kelly Johnson's situation is apparent every time he leaves for the ballpark. On Thursday, Johnson was traded to the Red Sox. But he didn't have to travel far to join his new team, because the Yankees -- the team that dealt him -- were in town for a three-game set at Fenway Park. All Johnson had to do was change uniforms and clubhouses. What he didn't change was where he sleeps. Johnson is still staying in the Yankees' team hotel. So the rest of the weekend will be spent surrounded by his former teammates and newest opponents.

"Just bizarre to happen to be here also and just kind of walk across the field so to speak," Johnson said while addressing the media in the Red Sox' clubhouse. "It's funny to be on the same floor as the whole team and walk out and I'm over here."

Johnson didn't just change teams Thursday. He swapped places with good friend Stephen Drew, whom the Yankees acquired for Johnson.

The two were teammates in Arizona from 2010-11 and became close in that time. After hearing the news, Johnson and Drew exchanged text messages. Johnson then went over to Drew's home to visit.

To make the matter more absurd, Johnson took Drew's old No. 7 with the Red Sox and Drew took Johnson's No. 33 Yankees uniform.

"Might as well make it a clean trade: places, numbers, everything. It's just bizarre."

The deal was completely unexpected for Johnson, who is on the disabled list with a groin injury.

"I didn't even consider the possibility that I would be going anywhere," Johnson said. "When you're on the DL you kind of feel a little bit under the radar. At the same time, it always happens when you least expect it. That's how it goes."

Manager John Farrell said before Saturday's game that Johnson, who will be eligible to come off the DL Thursday, will likely play in minor league rehab games Tuesday and Wednesday and could be activated as soon as Thursday to join the team in St. Louis.

"And he'll be in that pinch-hit, left-handed-hitter who's got the ability to play third and left field," Farrell added. "That's where we view him on that role."

While it's Johnson's first time with the Red Sox, he does have experience playing under Farrell. The two were together in Toronto at the end of 2011 and all of 2012 while Farrell was the manager of the Blue Jays.

Johnson said he's comfortable playing for Farrell. Now he's excited to soak in the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry from the other side.

"Between Yankees and Red Sox you can't ask for two better organizations," Johnson said. "Obviously I'm familiar with the coaching staff. We played in Toronto together so I'm familiar with how it's run. The guys that are here have been in here for a long time. There's a lot of respect.

"So I'm excited about that for sure. It's going to be really cool to see a game from the other side of the dugout."