Os set to recall Johnson
The Orioles are expected to recall right-hander Steve Johnson prior to Monday’s series opener in Seattle, a move that bolsters the team’s bullpen following another abbreviated outing from their starting rotation on Sunday. Johnson will take the spot of lefty Brian Matusz, who was optioned to Triple-A following Sunday’s game, and this will mark his first Major League experience.
The son of former Oriole –and current MASN broadcaster — Dave Johnson, the 24-year-old Johnson last threw two innings yesterday and is 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in five games since moving to the bullpen. While the O’s remain down a starter, Johnson is an unlikely candidate to make Friday’s start with Norfolk’s Chris Tillman and Zach Britton both ahead of him on the depth chart. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette reiterated that his preference is to upgrade the rotation internally, and mentioned Tillman and Britton as two options to do that on Sunday.
Britton is throwing for Norfolk tonight, and given that the O’s don’t need a starter until Thursday, they could work with an extra reliever for the next few days. Long reliever Miguel Gonzalez is not an option right now to join the rotation, according to Duquette. Thursday’s start could go to Dana Eveland –who made a spot start Saturday– or Tommy Hunter, who was optioned following Saturday’s game, although it would need to be an injury situation for him to be recalled within 10 days.
The team will need a starter for that Friday which could be Britton regular rest or Tillman, who last pitched Wednesday.
MASNSports.com first reported Johnson’s pending promotion.