The Guardians outrighted Johnson to Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday. Though Johnson was once a prospect of some repute, his underwhelming body of work across various stints in the big leagues the past two seasons likely played a factor in him going unclaimed off waivers after he was recently booted off the Guardians' 40-man roster. He'll thus remain in Cleveland's organization heading into 2022, but his lack of a 40-man spot could make it difficult for him to resurface at the big-league level. The lefty-hitting outfielder owns a .202/.245/.337 slash line (52 wRC+) across 94 career plate appearances with Cleveland.
Johnson was designated for assignment by the Guardians on Friday. Johnson appeared in 30 major-league games last year and hit .221 with four homers, nine runs, five RBI and a stolen base. However, he spent the final few weeks of the season in the minors and will now lose his spot on the 40-man roster.
Johnson was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Saturday. Johnson has played in only five games in September, going 1-for-11 with a walk, a run scored and four strikeouts. He'll be able to get more consistent at-bats with Columbus.
Johnson is out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Royals. Johnson will head to the bench after he went hitless in seven at-bats while starting in each of the past three games. Though he recently appeared to have leapfrogged Oscar Mercado on Cleveland's depth chart in left field, Johnson's path to regular at-bats versus right-handed pitching may be blocked after Harold Ramirez (knee) was reinstated from the 10-day injured list Wednesday.
Johnson will start in left field and bat eighth Sunday against the Red Sox. Included in the starting nine for the third time in four games, Johnson may have usurped the struggling Oscar Mercado as Cleveland's primary option in left field. The lefty-hitting Johnson will still likely find himself on the bench frequently against left-handed pitching, with the righty-hitting Mercado serving as a short-side platoon mate.