LINCOLN, NE – The Lincoln Saltdogs announced today they traded infielder Nathaniel Maggio to the St. Paul Saints for infielder Dan Johnson. Johnson, a former Husker, brings 10 years of MLB experience to the Saltdogs.
Johnson first made baseball headlines as a slugger for Nebraska from 2000-2001. As a senior, he earned first-team All-America honors from three publications and led the Huskers to their first College World Series appearance. The first baseman hit 46 home runs in his two seasons, including a school-record 25 round-trippers in 2001. He owns the career record for Slugging Percentage with an unreal .791 mark.
The Oakland Athletics picked Johnson in the 7th round of the 2001 MLB draft. He spent parts of 10 seasons in the MLB and belted 57 home runs over his career. He was known for his clutch hitting and delivered his most famous homer on September 28, 2011. His two-out, bottom of the ninth inning blast tied his Tampa Bay Rays with the New York Yankees in the final game of the season. The Rays won the game in extra-innings to clinch the AL Wild Card.
The 38-year-old has spent most of the last three seasons in independent baseball. He was hitting .158 with three RBIs and a double over nine games with the Saints this season. Johnson has worked on retooling himself as a knuckleball pitcher. He has pitched in 13 games over the past three seasons and owns a 5-6 record with a 5.54 ERA. He logged his most innings with St. Paul in 2016 when tossed 40 innings and mustered a 4.50 ERA. His best effort that season was a seven-inning shutout performance against the Saltdogs at Haymarket Park.
Maggio made his professional debut with the Saltdogs last season. The rookie hit .288 with seven home runs and 35 RBIs over 49 games. The lefty contributed in the playoffs, going 4-13 with a home run.
The 23-year-old got off to a fast start in 2018. He was hitting .328 with two home runs and 12 doubles 30 games into the season. Maggio started to slump after that, recording just seven hits over his next 30 games. He hit .257 with a .317 on-base percentage overall before being traded.
Maggio spent two seasons at the University of Tennessee before finishing at North Greenville University. He hit .324 with 76 RBIs in 48 games his junior year at NGU. He set the Crusaders’ single-season home run record with 17 long balls.
Both Johnson and Maggio play first base in the field.
The Saltdogs (27-24) are six games out of a spot in the playoffs just past the midway point of the season. The team starts a three-game series against the Sioux City Explorers Friday night at 7:05 PM in Sioux City. Coverage begins at 6:35 PM on ESPN 101.5 FM 1480 AM and http://www.espn1480.com/lincoln-saltdogs-baseball/.