Four-time Gold Glove winner Charles Johnson requested a leave of absence from the Devil Rays on Wednesday to handle a personal matter. Johnson, signed Monday as a backup for catcher Toby Hall, was scheduled to start Wednesday against the Blue Jays. He was scratched after meeting with manager Lou Piniella before the game.
Analysis: "He came in and told me he wasn't ready to catch today," Piniella said. General manager Chuck LaMar said if Johnson, who remained in uniform and was available to play Wednesday, did not return to the team by noon Friday he would be placed on a restricted list without pay. "It's a personal matter," LaMar said. "He's asked for this, and we granted it." LaMar declined to discuss specifics of Johnson's request, but did say it was not a bereavement situation and the 33-year-old former All-Star had not given any indications he's considering retirement.