Orioles' beat writer Eduardo A. Encina and columnist Peter Schmuck on the Orioles signing of infielder Chris Johnson. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun video)
The Orioles signed veteran infielder Chris Johnson to a minor league deal that includes a major league spring training invitation, the club announced on Monday morning.
Johnson, 32, is a .275/.313/.404 career hitter over eight major league seasons with the Astros, Diamondbacks, Braves, Indians and Marlins. He played in 113 games for Miami last year, hitting .222/.281/.319 with five homers and 24 RBIs.
He is the son of Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and projects to be the starting third baseman with the Tides this season.
Johnson also figures to get plenty of playing time this spring at third base during Grapefruit League play while starter Manny Machado is absent playing for the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic team for up to 18 days next month.
Johnson signed a three-year, $23.5 million extension with the Braves in May of the 2014 season and is still being paid $9 million this season, so if he makes the Orioles' major league roster, the club would pay him the league minimum of $535,000.
The Orioles recently shored up their projected starting infield at Norfolk, signing second baseman Johnny Giavotella and infielder Robert Andino to play shortstop. First base will be manned by either Trey Mancini or David Washington.