Johnson ready to compete for utility job

Catcher Pena back in O's camp after clearing waivers

Johnson ready to compete for utility job

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Infielder Chris Johnson, who was signed to a Minor League deal on Monday, was part of a large group of position players that filtered into the big league clubhouse for the full-squad report date on Thursday.

Johnson, the son of Triple-A manager Ron Johnson, joked "Who?" when his father was brought up and acknowledged it would be weird to play for Norfolk this season.

Spring: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs

"It's weird even being in this locker room right now," Johnson, 32, said. "He was here yesterday, and it's just strange running into him and him coming into the cage and stuff like that. But I'm sure we'll get past that weirdness and move on. It should be fun."

Johnson is looking to rebound after a rough few years. Johnson had a breakout season in 2013 with Atlanta, when he batted .321/.358/.457 with 12 home runs and 68 RBIs. But he's struggled to come close to that production since and is hopeful that Baltimore is the right landing spot to get back on track.

"I believe in myself to go to any team and hopefully try to make it better," said Johnson, who is expected to get a lot of playing time this spring with several infielders leaving for the World Baseball Classic. "Whatever I have to do -- third base, first base, off the bench, a little bit of left field -- whatever I can do to help the team and hopefully make the ballclub, then that's what I'll do."

Pena returns
Francisco Pena, 27, was in Orioles camp on Thursday morning after the catcher cleared waivers and was outrighted to Norfolk.

"You can't take anything as a surprise in this game," Pena said of the decision to designate him for assignment last week.

"They just needed a move and it was me. I've been ready to go. I was playing winter ball back home in the Dominican and I never stopped working. I'm still positive, and I'm ready to go. I think I've got a good chance with the catching situation here. [I'll] just keep working hard and show what I can do behind the plate."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for 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.