NEW YORK — Nick Johnson returned to the New York Yankees on Wednesday, finalizing a $5.5 million, one-year contract.
Johnson can earn about $1 million more in performance bonuses next year, and the deal includes a 2011 mutual option for at least $5.5 million with possible escalators.
Johnson began his career in New York and spent three years with the Yankees before he was traded to Montreal after the 2003 season in the deal that brought pitcher Javier Vazquez to the Yankees for the first time.
A first baseman, Johnson will replace Hideki Matsui as New York's designated hitter. Johnson hit a combined .291 for Washington and Florida last season with eight homers, 62 RBIs, 99 walks, a .426 on-base percentage and a .405 slugging percentage.
He figures to bat second for the Yankees behind Derek Jeter.
While Johnson has had a high on-base percentage throughout his career, he has been fragile.
He has made nine trips to the disabled list for a sprained right wrist (2000), bruised left wrist (2002), broken right hand (2003), strained back (2004), broken cheekbone (2004), bruised right heel (2005), broken right leg (all of 2007), right wrist surgery (2008) and strained right hamstring (last season).
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