Toronto Blue Jays manager John Farrell has been musing for a couple days now about the possibility of dropping Yunel Escobar in the batting order.
Those musings will become reality Wednesday afternoon at Rogers Centre where Johnson, for the first time this season, will bat leadoff in the series finale against the Texas Rangers, with Yunel Escobar shifting down to No. 2.
"Just flip-flopping him and Yunel," Farrell told reporters earlier on Wednesday. "Something we looked at for five or six consecutive days in spring training.
"Hopefully we’ll give Kelly a chance to get on base a little more frequently and then we’ve got the option to do some things in behind him with Yunel’s ability to handle the bat."
There are a couple of other factors at work here.
First and foremost is Escobar’s continued struggles with the bat, hitting just .217 on the year.
And for a leadoff hitter, his .257 on-base percentage is not that appetizing.
Johnson is a left-handed bat who is hitting .250 on the year and appears to be warming up at the right time.
He stroked a three-run home run in Tuesday’s victory over the Rangers and set a season-high mark with four RBIs.
Johnson has also reached base safely in 17 of his 22 games this year and, most importantly for a lead-off candidate, his on-base percentage is a healthy .376.
Farrell would not say if this switch will be lasting or not.
"We’ll see as we go," he said. "Let’s take care of today, first." Blue Jays made a roster move before the game, optioning relief pitcher Evan Crawford down to Triple-A Las Vegas and calling up pitcher Joel Carreno.
Carreno is in uniform and will be on the Toronto bench for Wednesday's game.
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