Johnson a Good Fit For Dodgers

On paper anyway, the Dodgers' signing of Reed Johnson to be the team's fourth outfielder was the ideal find. The former Blue Jay and Cub is not only a Southern California native, but his versatility also allows him to play all three outfield spots. Being able to move around fits in perfectly with the Dodgers' plans for 2010

Last season, when Andre Ethier needed a day off, Matt Kemp had to move over from center field to right field. Reed's presence will allow Kemp to stay put in the upcoming season.

The Dodgers also are looking to get Manny Ramirez more days off to help his stamina late in the season. Ramirez looked visibly slower at the end of the 2009 season and complained that his legs were tired.

Ramirez reportedly considered moving back to the American League but didn't opt out of his Dodgers contract because he likely wouldn't have found a team that would have matched his $20 million salary.

The plan would seem to offer Johnson plenty of playing time. He played in just 65 games with the Cubs last season, but that was due to two stints on the disabled list, one for back spasms and the other for a broken bone in his left foot.

NOTES, QUOTES
--OF Reed Johnson signed a one-year deal to be the Dodgers' backup outfielder. He is expected to see most of his time in left field as the Dodgers play it cautiously with veteran Manny Ramirez. A career .282 hitter, Johnson batted just .255 with the Cubs last season, spending two stints on the disabled list because of back and foot injuries.

--RHP Jeff Weaver is back on board after agreeing to a minor league deal. It is the same situation Weaver was in last spring, when he pitched well and had a short stint in Class AAA before getting called up to the major leagues for the remainder of the season. Weaver made seven starts in 2009 and went 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 28 appearances.

--INF Alfredo Amezaga, who missed most of last season because of microfracture surgery on his left knee, signed a minor league deal. He worked out for several teams recently to prove he was healthy again. The 31-year-old switch hitter has a career .251 average.

--RHP Ramon Ortiz, who was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the 2002 World Series with the Angels, was signed to a minor league deal. The 36-year-old last pitched in the major leagues in 2007 and spent last season with the Giants' Class AAA Fresno affiliate, going 5-6 with a 3.05 ERA. He has a career record of 84-80.

--Manager Joe Torre admitted that his representatives have held discussions with the Dodgers on two occasions regarding an extension, but nothing was decided. Torre's contract expires at the end of the upcoming season. He is reportedly working on a one-year extension and will move into a front-office advisory role after the 2011 season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 48 -- Difference in batting average points for Reed Johnson when facing left-handed or right-handed pitching. The right-handed hitter, who is in line to be the Dodgers' primary backup outfielder, is a career .313 hitter against left-handers and has batted .265 against right-handers.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I don't think there are a lot guys who can do all that. I used to think it wasn't that big of a deal until I got up here and they told me how big a deal it was. I thought it was something a lot of guys can do, but not a lot of guys can do everything." -- CF Matt Kemp, on the rarity of being a true five-tool player.

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