Johnson joins Dodger
organization in Triple-A

Mark Johnson will be back with a National League team when he reports to the Los Angeles Dodgers spring camp the first week of March.

A free agent, the right-hander signed a Triple-A contract with the Dodgers on Dec. 28. He has been assigned to the Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League.

One of his teammates will be outfielder Shane Victorino, a St. Anthony graduate. They begin spring training in six weeks.

"The Dodgers came down to Venezuela, watched me and liked what they saw," said the 28-year-old Johnson. "They made a good offer and there is some opportunity with Los Angeles. I'm pretty excited about it. They say I may be a starter or a setup man at Las Vegas.

"The Dodgers seemed like the best route for me. I've never been in the PCL, so it will all be new to me."

It also means Johnson will get to swing a bat. He said he had one hit in seven years of pro ball, a swinging bunt when he was playing for Portland, Maine, in 1998.

Johnson, who pitched three years for the Hawaii Rainbows before being drafted in 1996 in the first round by the Houston Astros, also has pitched in the Florida Marlins, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers organizations.

He was 8-3 with a 3.59 earned-run average last summer pitching for the Detroit farm team in Erie, Pa., in the Class AA Eastern League.

In the Venezuelan Winter League, he posted a 2-6 record for the Caracas Leonas. In 14 starts, he pitched 70 innings, walked 21, struck out 55 and had a 3.86 ERA.

"Venezuela is a very interesting country where people do pretty much what they want. You kind of have to watch where you go to be safe," Johnson said. "The fans are really passionate about baseball and that made it fun."

Another veteran who became a free agent Oct. 15, Damien graduate Chris Truby, has signed a minor league contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The third baseman attended the Pirates' five-day mini-camp last week.

Truby spent most of last year with Durham in the Triple-A International League, where he hit .263 with 16 home runs and 48 runs batted in. He also played in 13 games for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays before being sent to Durham.

Catcher Dane Sardinha has been invited to the Cincinnati Reds' big league spring training camp. He got into one game with the Reds last September and went hitless in two at-bats.

The rest of the season the former Kamehameha and Pepperdine star was at Chattanooga in the Class AA Southern League, where he posted a .256 batting average, the best of his three-year career.


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