[caption id="attachment_498" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Kenji Johjima"] [/caption]Rob Johnson was pulling uniform pants over his sprained ankle when someone asked him if he could play today.
"No," he said. "But I'll catch Felix tomorrow."How does that work - too much pain to play one day, but nothing will stop you the next?
"I've got the chance to catch a Cy Young Award candidate, and he wants me behind the plate," Johnson said. "I'll be back there, and it will be a joy."
Across the clubhouse, Kenji Johjima was sitting quietly. In the perfect world for the Seattle Mariners, the 33-year-old catcher would return to Japan before next season and ask out of the final two years on his contract.
One way to hasten that decision, some fans have said, would be not to play Johjima the final 10 games of the year - send a clear message.
That won't happen, in large part because of who the Mariners are trying to be, how they want to be perceived.
If the Mariners ever decide they don't want Johjima back, they'll tell him face-to-face. Sitting him now would be like benching a player who needed a few more at-bats to reach an incentive clause.
Players and their agents don't forget such things, and word gets around quickly. You want to be known as a class organization, you don't just play by the letter of the rules, you treat everyone with respect.
Whatever lies ahead for Joh and the Mariners will be handled with integrity - the team won't try to force his hand.
At some point, there may a discussion of Johjima's future and whether he sees it the same way.
As for Johnson, before he goes behind the plate for Felix Hernandez, he'll have to show manager Don Wakamatsu he can do what he needs to do.