Janish feels 'fortunate' to be back with Orioles

Janish feels 'fortunate' to be back with Orioles

SARASOTA, Fla. -- With J.J. Hardy still sidelined and not available to play until at least March 10 and Manny Machado leaving next Sunday for the World Baseball Classic, the Orioles signed another shortstop.

For the third straight season, the Orioles signed Paul Janish to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. In the first two years, Janish was signed before the end of the previous calendar year. This time, it waited until last Saturday.

Janish was thinking that a deal wasn't going to happen.

"For sure, but fortunately it did, right? It took a little longer than we hoped or anticipated, but obviously I feel fortunate to be here. It's a comfortable place for me, having been here before," Janish said. "I'm looking forward to getting back in the swing of things and getting in some games."

The defensive-minded infielder has played 28 games with the Orioles the past two seasons, mostly when Hardy was out. Nine of his 10 starts came at third base last season, the most in his big league career, because Machado moved over from third to short.

Manager Buck Showalter is a great admirer of Janish's defense.

"He understands who he is and what he brings. You know you're going to get it from him. He's a quality defender. He's about as good a shortstop as you're going to find out there for this role," Showalter said.

Janish will get lots of opportunities on and off the field when his playing career ends, and he thought that was about to happen before the offer came.

"I kind of assumed the same thing, and as it turned out, that wasn't the case. Maybe a little bit of a miscommunication for a few days there and I think that's probably what led to taking a week into camp, but anyway, no matter how it transpired or unfolded, I'm excited to be here now," Janish said.

Rich Dubroff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.