Kris Johnson

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Kristofer Michael Johnson

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Kris Johnson was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 2006 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Ernie Jacobs and made his pro debut that summer with the Lowell Spinners, appearing in 14 games and posting a miniscule 0.88 ERA. With the Lancaster JetHawks in 2007, he went 9-7 with a 5.56 ERA and 100 strikeouts in 27 starts. He spent 2008 with the Portland Sea Dogs of the AA Eastern League where he was 8-9, 3.63 in 27 starts. He reached AAA in 2009, but had a ghastly 3-13 won/loss record for the Pawtucket Red Sox; combined with an 0-3 record with Portland, he was 3-16, 6.35 that year, badly hurting his standing as a prospect. He improved only slightly in 2010, going 6-13, 4.88 for Pawtucket, then earned his release on May 15, 2011 after he had put up an ERA of 12.63 in 8 outings for the PawSox.

Johnson then went to the Independent Leagues to try to find himself. He completed the 2011 season with the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association, where he was 6-3, 3.23 in 16 starts. having shown that he still had some life in his left arm, he signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization for 2012. He began the season back in the AA Eastern league, this time with the Altoona Curve. He was outstanding there, going 3-2, 2.09 in 15 appearances, including 9 starts. He made the shuttle between Altoona and the AAA Indianapolis Indians a few times that year, and ended up at 5-2, 4.53 in the International League, where he was mostly a reliever. His combined record betweent he two stops was 8-4, 3.19, in 101 2/3 innings on the mound, during which he struck out 75 and walked 42. He then went to pitch in the Dominican League the following off-season and continued his comeback with the Leones del Escogido. After pitching only 27 innings during the season, he was the ace of the staff during the playoffs, notching 32 innings on the mound during the two series his team won. He pitched 6 shutout innings in the championship-clinching game against the Aguilas Cibaenas on January 22, 2013, guaranteeing Escogido a spot in the 2013 Caribbean Series. He had a combined 0.91 ERA between the season and playoffs, having allowed only 37 hits and no homers in just under 60 innings.

Kris pitched very well at Indianapolis in 2013, going 10-4, 2.39 in 26 games, including 21 starts. he managed to also pick up 2 saves, and struck out 94 in 135 2/3 innings to earn his first look at the Show. Johnson was charged with the loss in his major league debut against the Arizona Diamondbacks on August 18, 2013. He came in in the 11th inning with the score tied at 2-all, with the Bucs bullpen tired out as this was the third game to go that long in the team's last six. In fact, because Johnson pitched extremely well, it would turn out to be the longest game of the year for them. He gave up a single to the first major league batter he faced, A.J. Pollock, but got out of the inning with a force out and a double play grounder, and then put up zeros in the next four innings as well. Unfortunately, the Pirates were unable to score any runs against four D-Backs relievers, and in the top of the 16th, Kris walked Pollock to start the inning then allowed a single to Didi Gregorius; he almost escaped the jam by retiring the next two batters, but Adam Eaton hit a two-run double and the Pirates were unable to score in the bottom of the frame, saddling him with the loss in spite of his valiant six-inning effort. With the Bucs out of substitutes, he struck out swinging against J.J. Putz to end the game with the potential tying run on first base. In all he made four appearances for Pittsburgh, including a losing start against the St. Louis Cardinals on September 1st, ending up at 0-2, 6.10. On November 19th , he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in return for Duke Welker, who had been his teammate at Indianapolis all season before being sent to the Twins a few weeks earlier as the player to be named in the Justin Morneau trade. In effect, the two teams had changed their minds and Johnson was substituting for Welker to accompany Alex Presley as the price paid by the Pirates for the right to use Morneau down the stretch and in the postseason.

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