The Red Sox, beset by injuries to starting pitchers, gave up a player to be named or cash for Johnson, who is 1-8 with a 7.38 ERA
in his last 10 starts.
Johnson, signed in the offseason after two years with Detroit, is 3-8 with a 5.89 ERA this season and has allowed 10 homers and 108 hits in 77 innings.
ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reports that the Red Sox will pay $1.5 million of the $2.5 million left on Johnson's contract. The Indians will pick up the other $1 million.
Cleveland and Johnson had mutual options to get out of the
contract for 2007.
"This guy's a major league starting pitcher. He's had a bad couple of months but because of that the acquisition cost was extremely low," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "We're not giving up a player. Cleveland's sending a lot of money over to
us in the deal to help pay for a lot of salary."
Johnson, 32, will make his first start for Boston on July 1 at Florida, manager Terry Francona said.
"He's always exhibited real good stuff," Francona said.
"There's a decent chance this kid's going to pitch well."
Three starters -- right-handers Matt Clement and left-handers David Wells and Lenny DiNardo -- are on the disabled list, Bronson Arroyo was traded to Cincinnati during spring training and projected starter Jonathan Papelbon has excelled as the closer.
Kyle Snyder, obtained on waivers from Kansas City, made his first start for Boston on Monday in a 6-3 win over Washington and was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after Tuesday night's game,
opening a roster spot for Johnson.
"Six days ago we were in a situation where [if] we have another
starting pitcher go down, we'd be just about out of bodies and we'd
have to force prospects into situations that we don't think they're
ready for," Epstein said. "Now we've got Snyder, we got Johnson
without giving up anything, preserving our farm system.
"This guy's got a good arm, he throws a ton of ground balls and
with our defense and a change of scenery, I think it might help
The Red Sox have the fewest errors in the majors with an outstanding infield defense.
"In this ballpark, pitchers who have been more ground ball pitchers have had pretty good success," second baseman Mark Loretta said.
Johnson has pitched at least 189 innings in four of his last five seasons. For his career, he has a 4.95 ERA and a 55-94 record.
Cleveland signed him and righty Paul Byrd as free agents before the season to help make up for the loss of Kevin Millwood, who signed with Texas. But Johnson was ineffective again Monday when he
allowed two homers in a 12-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Johnson reached the majors in 1997 with Pittsburgh where he worked in three games. He spent the next season with Tampa Bay, making 13 starts with a 2-5 record. After five seasons in Baltimore, he went to Detroit in 2004.
He was 8-15 with a 5.13 ERA that season and 8-13 with a 4.54 ERA last year when he pitched a career high 210 innings.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.