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Johnson's back stiffness improving

Yankee fans remember Nick Johnson for his injuries.

Yankee fans remember Nick Johnson for his injuries. Mets fans might remember him as the guy who looks like ? Photo Credit: Alejandra Villa

TAMPA, Fla. - Nick Johnson is supposed to take batting practice Saturday, but he probably won't get into a game until Monday.

Johnson, speaking before Friday's 12-7 loss to the Rays, said his stiff lower back felt better. "I did some exercises, loosened it up," he said.

He tweaked his back during batting practice before Thursday's game against the Phillies when he swung and one of his spikes caught in the artificial turf mat covering the dirt.

High praise

In a conversation with Yogi Berra, Rays manager Joe Maddon raised his eyebrows when Berra started discussing third baseman Evan Longoria. "He wanted Longo's autograph," he said. "He feels as though Longo reminds him of Joe DiMaggio a little bit, so I thought that was kind of interesting."

Maddon told reporters not to forget his team when discussing which teams are AL East contenders. "I think we all did some good things in the offseason," he said. "It's going to be like it has been the last couple years."

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