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02/21/10 8:06 PM ET

Giants' Rule 5 pick aware of long odds

Former Oriole Johnson looks to make team as reliever

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Steve Johnson is participating in his first big league Spring Training camp, but he already senses the challenges he'll likely face.

The 22-year-old right-hander secured a spot on the Giants' 40-man roster when they selected him last December in the Rule 5 Draft. But Rule 5 picks rarely make the Opening Day squad. And when they don't, they must be offered back to their previous organization -- Baltimore, in Johnson's case -- for $25,000. Or the Giants can propose a trade with Baltimore that would allow them to keep Johnson in the Minors.

"You know the odds. You hear it all the time," said Johnson, who posted a 12-7 record and a 3.41 ERA with three Minor League affiliates last year. "I just have to show them what I can do and if it's good enough, hopefully they'll keep me. I'd love to stay here, but if I get sent back or another team picks me up, that would be great, too."

Though Johnson has started in 82 of 91 appearances during his five-year professional career, the Giants project him as a reliever.

Should Johnson need any advice, he can consult his father, Dave, a former Orioles pitcher who's now a broadcaster for the club.

"I've been lucky to have my dad there," Johnson said. "He could tell me some stuff that other people might not know. He's always been there when I've had a question."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.