Johnson to become first to play for all AL East teams

Johnson to become first to play for all AL East teams

BALTIMORE -- When Kelly Johnson finally suits up in an Orioles uniform and takes to the diamond, he will become the answer to a trivia question. The utility man will be the only player in MLB history to play for all five teams in the American League East.

He arrived at Oriole Park at Camden Yards before Monday's series finale against the Twins and is active as part of September callups and after years of walking down the tunnel to the visiting clubhouse, he gets to call his favorite ballpark in the division home.

"I've always liked it here," said Johnson, who first played at Camden Yards as a member of the Braves in 2009. "As a kid, this was one of those ballparks you watch on TV. It's cool. I enjoy playing here. It's up there overall in the game."

Johnson was acquired in the second of two trades the O's made on Saturday. Baltimore traded second baseman Jemile Weeks and infielder Ivan De Jesus, both of whom were playing the Triple-A Norfolk, to the Red Sox for Johnson and third baseman Michael Almanzar. Johnson began the season with the Yankees and was sent to Boston in a deal at the Trade Deadline.

Since joining the Red Sox, Johnson has had trouble getting on the field. Last-place Boston hasn't had much need for a 32-year-old utility man, so Johnson only played 10 games in all of August.

"They obviously decided they were going to get a chance to see some guys pitch, play, young guys, see what they had," Johnson said. "Obviously, being a free agent and not being one of their guys, it was tough to sit around."

With the O's, he'll have some sort of role. He provides infield and outfield depth to the club and adds another left-hander to a righty-heavy roster. While Steve Pearce continues to nurse an injured abdominal muscle, Johnson can also serve as the Orioles' backup first baseman.

"He can play a couple different positions and we've been trying to balance out our lineup with the addition of some left-handed bats," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said on Saturday after Baltimore landed Johnson and White Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza, who reported on Sunday.

And as important as anything is his familiarity with the AL East. The O's play their final 23 games against the division beginning on Friday against the Rays.

For the Orioles to reach the postseason for the second time in three years, they'll need to finish strong against familiar opponents. For a new acquisition, Johnson is as familiar with the remaining schedule as it gets.

"It's nothing new. I've been everywhere. I've played everywhere," Johnson said. "It's just going to be fun to go and compete against guys I played with and at the same time, like I said, we're in first place. It doesn't get any better."

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