Johnson not interested in bench role

Johnson not interested in bench role

WASHINGTON -- With Adam Dunn slated to become the Nationals' everyday first baseman, what does this mean for the Nick Johnson? The team will most likely look to trade Johnson, who said he will not accept a bench role.

There was talk of the Athletics having interest in Johnson after the team asked for his medical records, but a deal is not close between Oakland and Washington.

"I would rather play every day, smell the grass and run around," Johnson said via phone on Wednesday night.

Johnson is a talented player, but the Nationals have grown frustrated over his various injuries. Over the past two seasons, Johnson played in just 38 games. A broken leg forced him to miss the entire 2007 season, and he saw limited action last year because of a torn tendon sheath in his right wrist.

"That's fine [if they want to trade me]," Johnson said. "I'm just ready to play. It would be great to stay, but it's not my decision. I just want to get my swing ready."

Johnson said the wrist is close to being 100 percent. He is already swinging the bat and learning some new techniques from new hitting coach Rick Eckstein.

"I'm changing a few things that I know will help me out," Johnson said. "I'm just trying to be quicker to the ball. I hit only three times [in Spring Training thus far]. Some of things I have been doing haven't been right. Rick is pretty intelligent at what he does."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.