The Reds announced on Thursday that the club claimed 2B/OF Micah Johnson off waivers from the Braves.
Johnson, 26, spent most of his 2017 season with Triple-A Gwinnett. He hit .289/.377/.400 in 155 plate appearances. He wasn’t able to find that same success in his brief stint in the majors. Across 18 games and 11 plate appearances in the bigs, Johnson hit .200 with only two singles and no extra-base hits.
Johnson was once a highly regarded prospect with the White Sox. He’s been involved in two trades already: he went to the Dodgers in the three-team trade that also involved the Reds; and he went from the Dodgers to the Braves this past January for a bag of baseballs. The Reds will be the latest to try to fashion him into a capable major leaguer.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.