Johnson to Triple-A
Jim Johnson has been optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Saturday’s starter Brad Bergsen on the Orioles’ 25-man roster.
Johnson pitched to a 6.52 ERA with appearances in 10 games, allowing seven earned runs over 9 2/3 innings, walking four and striking out nine.
The 26-year-old Johnson has been largely ineffective in a myriad of roles for the Orioles and the general feeling is he needs to go down to Triple-A to get straightened out.
“This is a hard decision to make but I think it’s a decision that we made to help him,” pitching coach Rick Kranitz said. “So I’m certain it’s going to help him, he needs to get back to who Jim Johnson really is.”
The move is surprising given that Johnson is one of the longest-tenured Orioles and is a veteran among the relievers. Kranitz, Johnson and manager Dave Trembley met this afternoon, with Johnson leaving before the clubhouse was open to the media. Both Trembley and Kranitz acknowledged that the decision was a difficult one, and last night’s performance was a factor. Johnson allowed a run on three hits and two walks, yielding a solo homer to J.D. Drew and loading the bases before exiting with two outs in the eighth.
“I thought he tried to adjust too much [to the hitters],” Kranitz said. “You started to see too many different pitches in different counts and it’s really not Jim Johnson. He got away from his sinker; he got away from what he loves.”
“We need him to be good. He is our main guy in the bullpen that has the experience and has done the job for us. So yeah, I do expect him to be back soon”
Orioles manager Dave Trembley echoed the sentiment and said Johnson didn’t seem surprised when he was given the news.
“I told him I was up quite late last night, very early this morning, and he said he was right there with me. He’s a pretty sharp guy,” Trembley said of Johnson.
“I told him he should be proud of what he’s done, he’s very important to us, he’s a big part of where we’re going. He should walk out of here with his head held high. He said. ‘Dave, I’ve given you everything I’ve got.’ I said, ‘I know that.’ Last night it was max effort like you get from him all the time. It just hasn’t worked right now. And it’s early enough in the season to get him out, get him straightened out and then get him back.”