SARASOTA, Fla. -- Looking to bolster their infield depth, the Orioles signed infielder Chris Johnson to a Minor League contract with an invite to big league camp, they announced on Monday.
Johnson, 32, is the son of Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson. With infielders Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop headed to play in the World Baseball Classic, Johnson -- who has played first and third -- should see plenty of playing time in the Grapefruit League.
"We needed some more veteran options around the infield to provide us some options for the Major League club," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of adding Johnson, who joins a group of recent infield signings that includes Robert Andino and Johnny Giavotella.
The trio should form a nice group at Triple-A for Ron Johnson's infield.
"In a personal matter, I haven't really been around the baseball environment with my son ever. When he was playing high school, college, all this kind of stuff, I've always been working," Ron said. "From a personal manner, I think it's really cool. And my grandson is coming with him, and he's only a year old, so I'm happy about that. As far as the baseball stuff, he's trying to get himself back on track, and hopefully play well and do the things he needs to do to get back to the big leagues.
Johnson has played eight seasons in the big leagues, including in 2016 with Miami. He batted .222/.281/.329 in 113 games there. Johnson owns a career .275/.313/.404 slash line and has played mostly in the National League.
After a breakout season with Atlanta in 2013, Johnson signed a three-year, $23.5 million extension with the Braves on May 2, 2014. But he couldn't replicate his success, and he was traded to the Indians in August 2015.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.