Cardinals release Johnson

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals released Butte native Rob Johnson today, according to the team’s website.

The 31-year-old catcher was arbitration-eligible this winter. He could still potentially sign with the National League champions again.

Johnson, a 2001 Butte Central graduate, was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 2004 draft. He played for the Mariners, San Diego Padres and New York Mets before signing a minor-league deal with the Cardinals last offseason.

Johnson was sent to Triple-A Memphis, where he was credited with speeding up the development of the top pitching prospects in the organization. That includes rookie sensation Michael Wacha.

Johnson was called up on July 9 and received 35 at bats with the Cardinals. He remained on the team’s 25-man roster through the regular season.

The former Butte Miner was left off the 25-man playoff roster, but he was still very much a part of the team. He caught the bullpen for every relief pitcher who entered a game in the playoffs and World Series.

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