Kelly Johnson is Brian Sweeney, Brian Sweeney is Kelly Johnson

Mar 8, 2011, 11:20 PM | Updated: Mar 9, 2011, 4:31 am

If most people forget something essential on their way to work they can just head back home and pick it up. That’s not exactly something a Major League Baseball player can do in spring training when the team bus is on the way to an opponents ballpark.

That’s a lesson Diamondbacks second baseman Kelly Johnson learned the hard way Tuesday.

Johnson, who normally wears the number two on his Sedona red jersey, donned number 37 against the Cleveland Indians. Oh, and he had a new surname: Sweeney.

See, the D-backs second baseman left his jersey back at Salt River Fields before the team headed to Goodyear and had to borrow relief pitcher Brian Sweeney’s jersey for the day. Luckily Sweeney has a similar build to Johnson, as he is just an inch taller and five pounds lighter.

It’s a jersey he might want to consider keeping, if he didn’t already file paperwork with the league offices to officially change his number. That’s because Johnson went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored against the Tribe.

“I told him I felt really strong and hitterish going in there with a pitcher’s jersey,” Johnson joked. “Sweeney brought two jerseys so I was able to get his.”

Forgetting the jersey and having to dress like a pitcher wasn’t the most entertaining part of the incident for Johnson. What happened when he reached second base in the top of the fifth inning amused him even more.

“The funniest part of that is, the last inning I was in there Orlando Cabrera looks at me and says, ‘Hey, you know you have the wrong jersey on right,'” the second baseman said.

For the fans, the funniest part of the afternoon may have come in the bottom of the ninth, which is something you can rarely say about a game that has the lopsided score of 16-3 entering its final frame. That’s because the actual Brian Sweeney, wearing his number 37 jersey, came into the game as a relief pitcher.

The real Sweeney didn’t fair quite as well as well as his impostor, allowing two hits and and two runs, one earned, in his only inning of work.

While many would be embarrassed by the situation, Johnson seemed to take it in stride. He was just happy that the team had a good game all around.

“We got pitches to hit and didn’t miss them,” he said. “Whether it’s first of spring, first of the season or end of the season, you’re going to have those days. We’ve had a couple of them against us already. Nice to have one for us.”


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