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Kelly Johnson poised for heavy workload

Versatile infielder will be a staple of Yankees 2014 lineup
02/20/2014 10:48 AM ET
By Doug Williams

Background: Johnson is a power-hitting infielder who was signed by the Yankees this offseason. With A-Rod suspended, it appears as if Johnson will be the Yankees starting third baseman on opening day. Johnson has played for the Braves, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays and Rays through his career. His average 162-game clip: .253 with 19 home runs and 68 RBIs.

2013 Season: Johnson played in 118 games for the Rays last season, hitting .235 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI's. He played a combination of second base, third and outfield for Tampa.

Greatest Strength: Johnson's greatest strength throughout his career has been his power hitting-and that is not subject to change in Yankee Stadium. Johnson is a lefty and has hit 16 home runs in each of his last two seasons, including a .410 slugging percentage last year.

Greatest Weakness: Johnson isn't a terrible fielder, but he's never been known for his glove. His natural position in the big leagues has been second base, and we've yet to see how qualified of a third baseman he is. Range shouldn't be his problem, but obviously the throw from third is significantly more difficult than second base.

Prediction: Johnson is poised for a big season. Even if the Yankees decide to go with Scott Sizemore or Eduardo Nuñez at third, Johnson will have no problem finding work. He figures to back up Mark Teixeira at first, Brian Roberts at second, and he could also see some time in the outfield or at DH. If Johnson plays in 140 games or more, it's not out of the question that he could end up hitting 20-25 homers in 2014. 

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