I’m really pretty happy to see Nick Johnson back in the majors.
The 33-year-old Johnson had his best game of the season Friday in a win over the Rays, going 2-for-2 with a homer, a walk and a stolen base as Baltimore beat Tampa Bay 4-3. It was his first homer of the season.
Credit the Orioles for sticking with Johnson after he went 0-for-26 in April. He’s now 7-for-17 with three doubles and six RBI this month.
Best of all, he’s played in 14 games without getting hurt. The Orioles have spotted him pretty well so far and haven’t needed to expand his role with Chris Davis playing well at first base. Used as an occasional DH against right-handers, he might actually be able to contribute all season.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.