Dave Johnson, who was dropped from the Baltimore Orioles' roster two months ago, has agreed to a one-year contract with the California Angels.
The deciding factor for Johnson, 32, was not having to sign a minor-league contract.
"Whitey Herzog [California general manager] told my agent [Steve Greenberg]: 'I know what the guy can do -- if he's healthy he'll make my club -- so there's no need for a split contract. Either he makes the team or he gets one-sixth of his salary [$33,000 on a $200,000 contract] and walks away.'
"I can't ask for any more than that," Johnson said yesterday after working out at Memorial Stadium. "They're putting me on the major-league roster and giving me a chance to make their starting rotation."
The Angels didn't have a regular No. 5 starter last year and lost Kirk McCaskill, their No. 4 man, to the Chicago White Sox via free agency. In addition to Johnson, they signed ex-San Francisco Giants right-hander Don Robinson, whose age, 36, and medical history make him a gamble.
"They got three awfully good left-handed starters in [Chuck] Finley, [Mark] Langston and [Jim] Abbott," said Johnson. "I couldn't have asked for any better opportunity."
A Middle River native, Johnson said he would rather have stayed at home with the Orioles. But the best he could hope for was a Class AAA contract with the Rochester Red Wings, with the possibility of being added to the roster May 15.
"If I didn't have anything other than a minor-league offer, I would have gone to Rochester and taken my chances," Johnson said.
AAfter going 13-9 with a 4.10 ERA for the Orioles in 1990, Johnson suffered through injuries last year. He finished with a 4-8 record and a 7.07 ERA in 84 innings.
Three of Johnson's victories came against the Texas Rangershe was 1-8 with an 8.29 ERA in 71 2/3 innings against the rest of the American League. He made only 14 starts and was winless in his last eight.
* Taking a cue from their success with Todd Frohwirth a yeaago, the Orioles have signed another free-agent pitcher from the Phillies' organization.
Right-hander Amalio Carreno, 27, who was 4-8 with a 5.33 ERA for the Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, agreed to terms of a Rochester contract. He will go to spring training with the Orioles as a non-roster player.
Last year, the Orioles signed Frohwirth after the Phillies decided not to protect him on their major-league roster. He posted a 7-3 record, with three saves and a 1.87 ERA after being promoted from Rochester seven weeks after the season had started.
* The Orioles will hold their fifth annual Winter Carnival on Jan. 25 at Martin's West. Manager John Oates and many present and former Orioles, as well as front-office officials, will participate.
The event, which includes autograph sessions, a clinic and a memorabilia show, will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under and can be ordered by calling (410) 481-SEAT.
Call the Orioles marketing department at (410) 243-9800.
* Former Orioles Kevin Hickey and Brian Holton, along with former minor-leaguers Rick Walt and Frank Thomas, are running weekend clinics at Franklin Elementary School. Call (410) 771-4139.