WFAN's Sweeny Murti is reporting that the Yankees have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran infielder/designated hitter Dan Johnson, which includes a spring training invitation. While contractual terms have not been disclosed, there is a $900,000 incentive for Johnson if he makes the big club.
The 33-year-old left-handed Johnson spent this past season with the Chicago White Sox, primarily with their Triple-A ball club, the Charlotte Knights. During his time down there, he batted .267 with 28 home runs and 85 RBIs, earning an invitation to the Triple-A All-Star Game and finishing second in the home-run derby. His call-up to the big club in September would be highlighted with a three home-run, five RBI game on the last day of the season against the Cleveland Indians.
Prior to the White Sox, Johnson has also had stints with the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Rays. In his time with the Rays, he is most synonymous with Yankees fans for the below moment on the last night of the season in 2011, Game 162. That night, he smacked a game-tying home run off of Yankees reliever Cory Wade, which in turn would spark the Rays to a dramatic victory, solidifying their playoff spot while knocking the Boston Red Sox out of the postseason.
With the lack of a proven designated hitter and Kevin Youkilis fully entrenched at third base with Alex Rodriguez sidelined until after mid-season, Johnson should get ample opportunity to be up in the Bronx, both as a designated hitter and spelling first baseman Mark Teixeira every now and then. Otherwise, Johnson will begin the season down in Triple-A Scranton.
Needless to say, a good low-risk opportunity for the Yankees and Johnson.
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