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Kelly Johnson excited about being DH in Game 1

New York Mets' Kelly Johnson drives in the

New York Mets' Kelly Johnson drives in the go-ahead run with a single during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015, in Atlanta. Credit: AP / Jon Barash

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Kelly Johnson is 33 and has played for eight major-league teams, including the entire American League East.

So yes, he was thrilled to get the nod from Terry Collins as the Mets' designated hitter for Tuesday night's Game 1 of the World Series in the home of the American League champion Royals.

"I was really excited,'' Johnson said Monday. "That's Game 1. You get to walk on the line out there and get introduced and everyone is watching, so it's cool to be out there.

"I'm extremely happy and blessed for that. It's been a crazy year, so I kind of wanted the cherry on top.''

The craziness included getting traded from the Braves on July 24, along with Juan Uribe. Now this.

Johnson said it will be nice to be able to make adjustments between at-bats rather than being limited to pinch hitting, where it is all or nothing. The good news is that Johnson knows the DH drill from his AL days.

"Yeah, it helps,'' he said of having been through it before. "It's like four pinch hits, just being ready and keeping your body loose.''

Johnson said he used to like to get in extra swings between at-bats when serving as the DH, but former Rays teammate Evan Longoria advised him simply to keep his body warm and stretched and not burn out in the cage. That is his plan for Tuesday night.

Collins did not reveal his DH strategy beyond Game 1. The Mets will need one for Game 2 as well as for Games 6 and 7 if they are necessary.

"We'll worry about Wednesday when it comes,'' the manager said.

So will Johnson.


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