UPDATE: Hours after being released, Johnson has agreed to a minor-league deal with the Nationals.
Veteran outfielder Reed Johnson, who re-signed with the Marlins on a minor-league deal in mid-February, has been released.
Johnson is 38 years old and hit just .235 with a .614 OPS and 37/1 K/BB ratio (yes, 37 strikeouts and ONE walk) as a part-timer for Miami last season.
Between his rapidly declining performance and the Marlins already having 41-year-old Ichiro Suzuki as their veteran fourth outfielder Johnson always seemed like a longshot to crack the roster again. He had a good run as a useful role player who thrived against left-handed pitching.
With his Astros trailing the Tigers 2-1, catcher Robinson Chirinos began his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth a triple shy of the cycle. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the fourth, and hit a solo homer in the seventh. Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel both struck out, leaving the Astros’ fate in the hands of Chirinos against Joe Jiménez. After working the count to 2-1, Chirinos slapped an 85 MPH slider to the gap in right-center field. A diving Travis Demeritte could not come up with the ball, but center fielder Harold Castro fired the ball back in to Gordon Beckham, who then made a perfect throw to Dawel Lugo at third base. Chirinos was tagged out for the final out of the game. No triple, no cycle. The Astros lost 2-1.
Chirinos was attempting to become the first Astro to hit for the cycle since Brandon Barnes on July 19, 2013 against the Mariners.
The Astros entered Wednesday’s game as the largest favorite in 15 seasons, according to ESPN’s David Purdum. The Astros were -500 per Caesars Sportsbook. Other sportsbooks had them at -550. So the Tigers’ win was quite the upset.
Justin Verlander went the distance in the loss. The only blemishes on his line were solo homers to Ronny Rodríguez in the fifth and John Hicks in the ninth. They were the only hits he allowed while walking none and striking out 11.