Reed Johnson re-signs with Braves

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Reed Johnson, the top pinch hitter in the National League last season, rejoined the Atlanta Braves with a $1.75 million, one-year contract that includes a club option for 2014.

The deal was announced two days before Johnson turned 36.

Atlanta acquired Johnson and pitcher Paul Maholm from the Chicago Cubs on July 30. Johnson hit a combined .290 with three home runs and 20 RBI last season. He batted .419 (18 for 43) as a pinch hitter.

Johnson is a career .284 hitter with 62 home runs for Toronto, the Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta since making his major league debut in 2003.

Johnson gets a $1.6 million salary next season, and the deal includes a $1.6 million team option for 2014 with a $150,000 buyout.

He can earn $150,000 in performance bonuses in 2013: $50,000 each for 90, 110 and 130 games played.

SALARIES: Baseball’s average salary increased 3.8 percent this year to a record $3.2 million.

According to final figures released Friday by the Major League Baseball Players Association, the rise was the steepest since 2007. The boost was helped by an increase in the minimum salary from $414,000 to $480,000.

The New York Yankees had the highest average for the 14th consecutive season at $6.88 million, rising after consecutive declines from a peak of $7.66 million when they won the World Series in 2009.

The Los Angeles Dodgers rose from 13th to second at $5.55 million and Texas from 15th to fifth at $4.89 million.

At nearly $685,000 Houston had the lowest average since the 2006 Florida Marlins.

YANKEES: Outfielder Brett Gardner agreed to a $2.85 million, one-year deal that avoids salary arbitration.

Gardner was limited to 31 at-bats last season because of a right elbow injury that sidelined him from mid-April until late September. He made $2.8 million.

NATIONALS: Right-hander Dan Haren officially agreed to a one-year deal.

The NL East champions announced the deal Friday, without giving financial terms. Earlier in the week, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press it would be worth $13 million.

The 32-year-old Haren was a free agent after going 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts for the Los Angeles Angels in 2012.

CUBS: Finalized a $9.5 million, two-year contract with Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa.

The 32-year-old right-hander had 220 saves in 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan’s Central League.

CARDINALS: Veteran reliever Randy Choate agreed to terms on a three-year deal through the 2015 season.


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