St. Paul's standout Johnson signs contract with Dodgers


St. Paul's right-hander Steve Johnson, who was The Sun's Baseball Player of the Year and the first four-time All-Metro pick, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday for a package worth close to $310,000.

Johnson was selected in the 13th round of the amateur draft on June 7.

His father, Dave Johnson, signed with Pittsburgh in 1982, made it to the majors with the Pirates in 1987 and later pitched for the Orioles and Detroit Tigers.

Area scout Clair Rierson of Frederick and the Dodgers' East Coast supervisor, John Barr, who was the Orioles' scouting director for two years when the elder Johnson played in Baltimore, signed Steve Johnson.

"My wife [Tara] and I are very happy for Steven and it's been a pretty decent Father's Day for me," said Dave Johnson, who runs a baseball instructional academy and is an Orioles analyst for Comcast.

"The Dodgers were really hot on Steven and they are counting on him knowing how to get people out and not on him throwing 95-96 mph. They're not worried about his velocity."

Johnson, who is 6 feet 1 and 195 pounds, throws 90-91 mph and uses a curveball, cut fastball and changeup.

He is scheduled to report to Vero Beach, Fla., on Saturday to play in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The Dodgers offered him fourth- or fifth-round money to sign.

"The more they talked after drafting me, the more interested I got because playing pro ball like my dad is what I've always wanted to do," said Johnson, who had a baseball scholarship to Boston College if he didn't sign with the Dodgers.

"The Dodgers showed a lot of interest in me, came to a lot of my games. But after no one took me in the first five rounds, I thought I was going to school."

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