06/23/2008 3:42 PM ET
Reed Johnson: Trading places
The former Blue Jay talks about switching teams for the first time
This is my first season with an organization other than Toronto, but my teammates have made my Blue Jays-to-Cubs transition a relatively easy one. It doesn't hurt that my new team has the best record in baseball, either.
Being with one organization for nine years, like I was with Toronto, I was a bit skeptical about the transition to a new team. Now I couldn't be happier. But the guys in the clubhouse and the people in our front office have made me feel at home since Day One and I'm glad to be here. The fans are great, too.
From the players to the front office to Cubs fans, it's all about winning. The franchise hasn't won a World Series in a very long time, so I think the desire intensifies for a lot of people. Players aren't oblivious to the environment, even if they haven't been part of the organization for very long.
To me, that's a good thing. It makes it easier to play your game when you know everyone is going in the same direction. The only thing that matters is a win at the end of the day. None of these guys are worried about individual numbers. We just want the win.
When I signed here, I tried not to have expectations about playing time. To me, it's all about coming to the yard and preparing on an everyday basis. If I'm not in the game, I'm fine-tuning my swing or my defense on the field. That way, when you get your opportunity on the field, you're prepared and ready to help out the team.
For me, the NL type of play seems to fit my style. I'm an aggressive hitter with a little speed, so I think I fit in well. I'm able to do more things like hit-and-run and bunt. Lou Pinella likes to play that type of ball, and I think we have a great mixture of power hitters and speedy guys.
One of the biggest differences for me between the AL and the NL is how they pitch to batters in the seventh and eighth spots in the lineup. I've been hitting in the eighth slot a lot, so it's a bit of an adjustment for me, especially with runners on base.
I've been used in the leadoff spot a few times, too -- something I wasn't used to -- but I've learned to be more patient in that position.
Overall, I'm truly excited to be a part of this club. Of course I have a lot of good memories from the Blue Jays organization and I left a lot of good friends behind in Toronto.
I still keep in touch with a lot of those guys, but, for now, I'm focused on a great opportunity to be here in Chicago. Having the best record in baseball, of course, makes the transition to a new team easier.
Reed Johnson broke in with Toronto in 2003 and played in more than 600 games with the Blue Jays before signing with the Cubs this past winter. He's batting .271 with a .343 on-base percentage, 12 doubles and 31 RBIs for his new club.