O's ink first baseman Johnson to Minors deal

O's ink first baseman Johnson to Minors deal

O's ink first baseman Johnson to Minors deal
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have agreed to terms on a Minor League contract with first baseman Nick Johnson, a source confirmed to MLB.com on Thursday.

Johnson, who will get an invitation to big league Spring Training, gives the Orioles some added depth at first base -- a position they are thin at in the Minors Leagues -- beyond projected starter Chris Davis. The 33-year-old Johnson has played nine seasons in the Majors, last appearing with the New York Yankees in 2010, and he has dealt with a litany of injuries over his career. Johnson signed a Minor League contract with the Cleveland Indians last season and spent most of the year with Triple-A Columbus.

In an offseason where executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has steadily added depth to help supplement the organization's lack of top prospects in the upper tiers of the Minors, Johnson's signing is the latest low-risk move. Johnson's career .401 on-base percentage -- a statistic Duquette and manager Buck Showalter place added emphasis on -- was a factor in the signing, as was the uncertainty surrounding Davis, who will get every opportunity to show the Orioles that he can be an everyday Major League first baseman. Davis was acquired in a midseason trade with Texas, but he was slowed by a shoulder injury upon coming to Baltimore.

Johnson, who is a career .270 hitter with a .443 slugging percentage, has hit 91 homers and notched 387 RBIs in 794 Major League games. MASNSports.com was the first to report Johnson's signing.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.