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Stu Laird, who played
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ATLANTA -- Braves third baseman Chris Johnson gets to keep his dream job for another three years. Andre Burakovsky Jersey . Atlanta was the team he cheered for while growing up in South Florida, and he idolized third baseman Chipper Jones. "In this game, not many times does a team tell a player they want him to be around for a really long time," Johnson said. "Im excited they feel that way about me and have the confidence in me to be around for a little while. Now I just want to work as hard as I can to prove theyre right." After agreeing to a $23.5 million, three-year deal announced Friday, Johnson is under contract through 2017. The 29-year-old was among the teams biggest surprises last season. A supposed throw-in to the Justin Upton trade, Johnson ranked second in the NL with a .321 average. He had 12 homers and 68 RBIs. His agreement continued Atlantas recent trend of signing a core of players to long-term deals. First baseman Freddie Freeman ($135 million over eight years), closer Craig Kimbrel ($42 million over four years), pitcher Julio Teheran ($32.4 million over six years) and shortstop Andrelton Simmons ($58 million over seven years) agreed to long-term deals before or during spring training, and right fielder Jason Heyward struck a $13.3 million, two-year deal. General manager Frank Wren said Johnsons agent approached the team early last month to see whether the sides could work out a new deal. Wren said the Braves arent placing unrealistic expectations on their third baseman. Johnson is off to a slow start, hitting .255 with one homer and four RBIs in 26 games. "I think what we saw last year -- maybe hes not going to hit .320, but weve always felt he was somewhere in the .280-.300 range as a hitter," Wren said. "His career will tell you that." In the first 304 games of his career with Houston and Arizona, Johnson hit .276 and averaged eight homers and 43 RBIs. "I think as we go forward," Wren said, "thats the kind of player he can be -- somewhere in that .285-.300 range -- and hit 10-15 home runs, drive in 70 and play solid third base." Johnson was part of the trade that brought Upton, a slugging left fielder, to Atlanta and sent fan favourite Martin Prado, pitcher Randall Delgado and three minor leaguers to Arizona on Jan. 24 last year. "Theres not many people that are going to be traded with him that arent going to be the other guy, " Johnson said. "But Im fine with that. Its good because it doesnt bother me really to be the other guy. It kind of gave me the fire to prove I need to be here and was not just a name in the trade." Johnson is making $4.75 million this season under a one-year deal. The agreement includes salaries of $6 million next year, $7.5 million in 2016 and $9 million in 2017. Atlanta has a $10 million option for 2018 with a $1 million buyout. Wren is grateful that Liberty Media, the Braves owner, has committed the money to keep another part of the core group together as the team prepares to move into a new ballpark in suburban Cobb County in 2017. "You have to be careful," Wren said. "You have to have that combination of players and especially what we did all winter was looking at really high level young talent that was either pre-arbitration or first-year arbitration and extending them. It fits into that mould." Johnson, who would have been eligible for free agency after the 2016 season, met Jones was he played for Stetson and Jones father Larry was an assistant coach with the school. Johnson never imagined he would replace Jones the year after the longtime Braves star retired after the 2012 season. "Its nuts," he said. "Its crazy. I cant believe it. Its awesome, but Im going to try to make sure I keep grinding and keep working and try to get better every day." Devante Smith-Pelly Jersey . Canada will host Japan in a World Group first-round match in 2015. It will be a rematch of their first-round clash last year when Japan defeated Canada 4-1 to reach the World Group quarter-finals for the first time in its history. Mike Gartner Jersey . The Gatineau Olympiques head coach will lead Canada in its quest to end its gold medal drought at the 2015 world junior hockey championship held in Montreal and Toronto at the end of this year. http://www.capitalsauthority.com/authentic-jonas-siegenthaler-capitals-jersey/ .cas NHL Play of the Year showdown continues today with a man whos spent most of his career on highlight reels and a goalie actually "reaching back" for a save.The Calgary Stampeders are adding four former players and two builders to their Wall of Fame. Offensive lineman Jamie Crysdale, who played from 1993-2005, defensive lineman Stu Laird, who played from 1984-96, and Ron Allbright, who played on both lines from 1956-67, along with running bacck James Sykes (1978-83) will be inducted as players. Tom Wilson Jersey. Builders Pat Clayton, with the team for nearly 30 years as an athletic therapist, and George Hopkins, the teams current equipment manager who began his tenure in the early 70s, will be inducted as builders. 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