Patrick Johnson bio
Player: Patrick Johnson
Jersey Number: 17
School: University of North Carolina
Hometown: Hickory, N.C.
Height, Weight: 5-10, 175
Best Baseball Memory: Pitching in the College World Series.
Greatest Baseball Accomplishment: Going 13-2 my senior year at North Carolina.
Favorite Player Growing Up: Ken Griffey Jr., sweetest swing I’ve ever seen.
Most Influential Player/Role Model: Both of my grandfathers. They lived life the right way and always set good examples for me.
Favorite Food: Chicken pan pie.
Favorite Pregame Meal: Sushi.
Off-field hobbies: Golf, fishing, music.
Favorite Movie or Book: “Caddyshack.”
Not that this bit of trivia is going to get asked often, or ever, but Patrick Johnson was the first pitcher to pitch a College World Series game in Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park when it became the new home of the series in 2011.
Johnson was the ace of the University of North Carolina’s staff, racking up a 13-2 record as a senior. He struck out 120 batters in 107 innings and only walked 30. He lost to Vanderbilt in that World Series game, but it still ranks as his best baseball memory to date.
He hopes more memories await in the pros, where he already has some experience. Johnson is one of the Rookie ball returnees who played for the Casper Ghosts last season. He appeared in six games, started four and went 0-4 with a 5.35 ERA.
The numbers were forgettable, but the experience was not. He’s ahead of the curve compared with first-year players who have a transition to make.
“Last year we learned all about the basics of pitching and stuff and just getting acclimated to Rookie ball,” Johnson said. “I mean, it’s a huge difference from college to pro baseball — you know, the road trips, playing every single day — and I think that’s the biggest thing, you get used to it.”
He thinks he will get used to the team’s new city and stadium quickly.
“I’ve been here for two days,” he said on the Grand Junction Rockies’ first day of practice. “I like your town. The stadium and facilities are night and day from Casper last year. This is great. The playing surface is nicer, the amount of seats — last year we had hardly no seats in the stadium — and everything seems well taken care of and all that.”
He hopes night and day also is the way he describes this season when compared with last season.
“I want to improve from last year, do what I can to help my team win and work on the things I need to work on,” he said. “I want to show improvement and help my team win in any way.”
— Tim Harty