August 2014 will be remembered as the month of Kelly Johnson.
OK, maybe not. But Johnson, who spent 30 days with the Boston Red Sox before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, certainly appreciates his short stint with the defending World Series champions.
“First of all, Boston, right away you can tell why they win and why they’re always at the top year in and year out,” Johnson told NESN’s Gary Striewski shortly after being traded Saturday. “Obviously, a down year. But they have winners everywhere throughout the organization, so I enjoyed it and definitely learned just in those regards, just a bunch of guys with World Series rings on their fingers and how they prepare and treat the game.”
The Red Sox acquired Johnson from the New York Yankees in exchange for shortstop Stephen Drew just minutes before the July 31 Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline. The 32-year-old infielder/outfielder hit .160 (4-for-25) in 10 games with Boston before being shipped to Baltimore along with minor league third baseman Michael Almanzar in exchange for infielder/outfielder Jemile Weeks and minor league infielder Ivan De Jesus Jr.
Johnson, a first-round pick (38th overall) in 2000, has become somewhat of a journeyman in recent years. The Orioles will be the veteran utility man’s seventh organization — third of 2014. And once he suits up for the O’s, he will have played for all five teams in the American League East. He’ll also be joining a pennant race, going from a last-place Boston team to a first-place Baltimore club.
“A lot of respect (for the Red Sox), but also just obviously excited to be in a situation where you’re on a first-place team (now with Baltimore),” Johnson said Saturday. “I had a blast last year with Tampa — going to the playoffs obviously — and Boston was the best team in baseball, so it’s a weird year. This obviously being the last team in the (AL) East that I haven’t played with that I’ll be playing with.”
Johnson, a left-handed hitter capable of playing several positions, including left field, will give the Orioles some extra versatility down the stretch.
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