BALTIMORE — Jemile Weeks viewed the trade as good news, even if scores of Orioles fans did not.
The 27-year-old infielder came to Baltimore from Oakland during the offseason in exchange for closer Jim Johnson. The Orioles sent Johnson, an All-Star who posted back-to-back 50-save seasons in 2012 and 2013, to the Athletics and got a former first-round draft pick who had played in only eight games last year.
There was not exactly the warmest welcome for a guy like Weeks, who didn't make the club coming out of spring training and started the season with Class-AAA Norfolk. His perseverance paid off last weekend, however, when the Orioles promoted him and stuck him in the starting lineup as their designated hitter.
Weeks' debut was a good one — he went 2 for 4 with a triple and a run Saturday in Baltimore's 3-2 win over Kansas City. He then found himself in the same spot Sunday and went 1 for 4 with another run.
Contributing and playing in the bigs -- that's all Weeks wants right now.
"I've been trying to take things as they come," Weeks said before Sunday's game. "Once they gave me the call, it was a good feeling of excitement to be able to come back to the major leagues and actually be a part of team this time."
At 5 feet, 9 inches, and 165 pounds (maybe), Weeks doesn't strike a powerful pose among his fellow Orioles in the lineup . But he batted in the lead-off spot against Kansas City, and Baltimore is banking on Week's speed to be an offensive asset when he's used.
"Jemile has some versatility," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "I know from trying to defend him in the past, he's got a more little pop than people think he does. He's strong. And he makes people hurry in the infield.
"I've said many times, when you make professional athletes play the game at a pace they're not used to, in any sport, that's where the mistakes happen. And he makes people want to know where he is, what's he doing, what's he getting ready to do."
Weeks could see more playing time given the Orioles' current health issues. With first baseman Chris Davis on the disabled list, shortstop J.J. Hardy dealing with back spasms and a hamstring strain, and rehabbing third baseman Manny Machado nearing his return, it's possible Weeks works his way into a rotation of infielders and players who can DH.
That's fine with Weeks, who said he knows what he offers to the Orioles.
"I knew I wanted to take this season and improve and become the player I know I can become," Weeks said. "I knew if I did those things, the game would take of itself."
They almost did a little earlier than last weekend.
Baltimore turned to Weeks for its April 9 game in New York to replace David Lough when it appeared Lough was hurt. But Lough wound up playing that night, and Weeks headed back to Norfolk despite being in Yankee Stadium hours before the game started.
Weeks hit .296 with four doubles, three triples and seven RBIs in 17 games for the Tides before his promotion.
"He’s a good baseball player, a solid baseball player," said Tommy Hunter, who took over Johnson's role as the Orioles' closer after the trade. "He showed it in spring training. He had a hell of a spring, just the cards weren’t in his favor. He’s going to contribute. He’s going to play well for this team. We’re just waiting to see a steady dose of him."
Hunter wasn't shocked to see Weeks contribute right away. He remembered Weeks as a sure-handed second baseman and teammate in the 2006 World University Championship. Hunter and Weeks helped Team USA, which didn't lose a game in the international series, win the title along with current big-league stars such as Pedro Alvarez, Ross Detwiler and David Price.
Weeks said already knowing some of the Orioles — Hunter with Team USA, going against Matt Wieters in college when he played for Georgia Tech and Weeks for Miami — helped him with making the transition to a new organization.
Then came his first taste of playing time. And success. And the notion of good things to come with an offense with great expectations.
"It's a lineup that I wanted to be a part of," Weeks said. "I knew what this lineup would probably look like before the season started. I always felt like if I could jump in there and do my part, I felt like I could help. Hopefully it shows."