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Baltimore Orioles acquire OF Alejandro De Aza, INF Kelly Johnson in pair of trades

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BALTIMORE - The AL East-leading Orioles acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza and infielder Kelly Johnson in a pair of trades Saturday night, bolstering their bench following injuries to key players.

Baltimore sent two minor league right-handers to Chicago for De Aza, who hit .243 with five homers, 31 RBIs and 15 steals in 122 games with the White Sox this year. He made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2007 and is a .268 career hitter with 35 homers and 179 RBIs in seven seasons.

The Orioles got Johnson and minor league infielder Michael Almanzar from Boston in exchange for minor league infielders Jemile Weeks and Ivan De Jesus.

The addition of Johnson provides some infield depth with Manny Machado out for the year with a knee injury and Steve Pearce bothered by an abdominal strain.

Baltimore also completed the moves before Sunday's deadline for post-season eligibility. Players must be with an organization by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the post-season with that team.

The 32-year-old Johnson hit .212 with six homers and 23 RBIs in a combined 87 games for the Yankees and Red Sox. He has played first, second and third base this season, along with left and right field.

"We added Kelly Johnson, another left-handed bat." Orioles Executive Vice-President Dan Duquette said. "He's a veteran infielder, he can play a couple of different positions and we've been trying to balance out our lineup with the addition of some left-handed bats, and we were able to acquire two veteran bats to help us. Kelly Johnson can play a couple of different positions, he's familiar with the American League East, he's played for all the other teams but ours, and now he'll get a chance to play for ours, and he gives us a little bit more depth."

Almanzar, 23, was a Rule 5 pick by the Orioles prior to the season.

"I am happy that we also got another shot at Michael Almanzar," Duquette said. "Michael showed good power in the spring and he's a young right-handed hitting infielder. He's just 23 years old, so we have him back in the organization for the future."

Weeks, 27, batted .278 in 62 games for Triple-A Norfolk. De Jesus, 27, hit .282 in 113 games for the Tide.

Baltimore parted with Mark Blackmar and Miguel Chalas in the De Aza deal.

Blackmar went 10-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 26 games with Class A Frederick. Chalas, also 22, had a 3-4 record and a 4.48 ERA in 30 combined relief appearances between Frederick and Triple-A Norfolk.

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