Chris Johnson powers Astros with two homers, six RBI

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Chris Johnson entered Wednesday without a homer in 86 at-bats, but he took Chris Schwinden deep in each of his first two plate appearances today to lead the Astros to an 8-1 win over the Mets.

Johnson drove in five runs with the two homers and later added a sixth RBI on a single on his way to a 4-for-4 day. He joined Ryan Braun in becoming the second player this season to collect at least four hits, two homers and six RBI in a game. No Astro had pulled off that feat since Lance Berkman on June 14, 2001.

Johnson appeared to be fading from Houston’s plans as last year went along, but he managed to  overtake Jimmy Paredes on the depth chart and regain his starting job at third base this spring.  At 27, this could well be his last chance to make it. Johnson is a below average defender at third base, and while he’s a career .277 hitter, that comes with a putrid 218/35 K/BB ratio in 831 career at-bats. Since he’ll likely always sport subpar OBPs, it’s a must that he starts hitting for more power, like he did today.

Yankees, Tigers make a minor trade

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A minor trade goes down as everyone in baseball front offices recovers from, um, doing very little at the Winter Meetings: the Yankees acquired outfielder Tyler Hill from the Tigers for cash considerations.

The Tigers had picked Hill from the Red Sox in the minor league portion of yesterday’s Rule 5 Draft, meaning that he was a Tiger for less than 24 hours. I hope he cherished those memories.

Hill, who will turn 23 in March, hit .254/.348/.312 with one home run and 27 stolen bases in 124 games this past season for the Sox’ High-A team in Salem, Virginia. He was a 19th round pick for the Red Sox in 2014.