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Orioles utility player Kelly Johnson 'so excited' to join a pennant race

The Baltimore Sun

Utility player Kelly Johnson, acquired in a trade with the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, found himself in a playoff race when he joined the Orioles on Monday.

“It is a shock, about the best shock you can get,” Johnson said. “I’m so excited. I’m easily the most excited guy in the room right now, for sure. I’m just happy to come into a situation like this and do everything I can to help win more games.”

Johnson, who began the season with the New York Yankees and was dealt to the Red Sox at the nonwaiver trade deadline, will have played for all five current American League East teams once he enters a game with the Orioles, the first player to do that.

He is a career .313/.391/.625 hitter with seven homers and 15 RBIs in 23 games at the Camden Yards.

“I’ve always liked it here,” Johnson said. “The first time I came here was with the Braves, I think 2008. I’ve always, as a kid, this was one of those ballparks you watch on TV, it’s cool. I enjoy playing here. It’s up there overall in the game.”

Johnson will have a bigger role with the Orioles, especially because he can play first, second and third bases. With the Red Sox out of contention and looking at younger players, he made just five starts in Boston and hadn’t started since Aug. 21.

“There in Boston, they obviously decided they were going to get a chance to see some guys pitch, play, young guys, see what they had,” Johnson said. “Obviously, being a free agent and not being one of their guys, it was tough to sit around. Again, I got to watch some of the best players in baseball prepare.”

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