Riverside native and Fullerton alum returns to Southern California
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today signed outfielder Reed Johnson to a one-year contract. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.
“Reed is a versatile outfielder that comes to the ballpark ready to play every day,” said Colletti. “We’re excited to have him with the Dodgers. He provides Joe with a few defensive choices since he has played all three outfield positions in his career.”
Johnson is career .282 hitter over 784 games with the Blue Jays (2003-07) and Cubs (2008-09). In seven seasons, he has 52 homers, 145 doubles, 306 RBI and a career on-base percentage of .344. Johnson has a career fielding percentage of .991, playing 434 games in left field, 210 in right field and 184 in center.
The acquisition significantly adds to the Dodgers flexibility for 2010 and gives the club two outfielders – Jason Repko being the other – on the 40-man roster who have played at least 50 games at all three outfield spots. In addition, with their offseason moves, Los Angeles will have six infielders in big league camp (Ronnie Belliard, Jamey Carroll, Blake DeWitt, Nick Green, Chin-lung Hu and Doug Mientkiewicz) that have played at least two positions for more than 25 games in the Major Leagues. On top of that, Belliard, Carroll and Green have played at least 50 games at three different infield positions over the course of their careers.
Last season with the Cubs, Johnson hit .255 with four homers and 22 RBI in 65 games. The 33-year old also hit .324 vs. left-handed pitching, .455 (5-for-11) with the bases loaded and .354 (17-for-48) against the National League West. In his career, Johnson has hit .313 vs. left-handers and .294 with runners in scoring position.
Johnson’s best season came in 2006 with Toronto, when he established career bests with a .319 average, 86 runs scored, 147 hits, 34 doubles, 12 homers and 21 hit by pitches. That season, Johnson became the Blue Jays’ everyday left fielder and leadoff hitter while leading all American League leadoff hitters with a .390 on-base percentage. In his career, Johnson has played 422 games while batting in the leadoff spot and is hitting .285 with a .348 on-base percentage and a .416 slugging percentage in those contests. Johnson has belted seven career leadoff home runs, with his most recent coming in 2007 off Johan Santana.
Over seven seasons beginning in 2003, Johnson has been hit by 98 pitches, which ranks fifth in the Major Leagues over that time, trailing just Jason Kendall (117), Chase Utley (107), Jason Giambi (101), and Aaron Rowand (99). Since coming in to the Majors, he has been beaned an average of once every 29 plate appearances, which is the highest percentage in Major League baseball since that time among players with at least 2,500 plate appearances.
The Southern California native holds the distinction of being one of only four players in big league history to hit a leadoff home run and a walkoff homer in the same game. He turned the trick on June 15, 2003 with Toronto vs. the Cubs. Johnson was on the Cubs’ postseason roster for the 2008 Division series against the Dodgers, but did not play.
Johnson was born in Riverside and graduated from Temecula Valley High School, before moving on to play for Cal State Fullerton, where he was an Academic All-American. In 1999, became the first player in the Big West Conference to collect 100 runs and 100 hits. Johnson was originally selected by the Blue Jays in the 17th round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft. – From John Chapper (Dodger PR Staff)