Reaching deep into their bullpen for 11 innings of work over the last two games, the Orioles predictably optioned right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk after Saturday’s 8-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
Making his 2013 debut, Johnson was tagged for six earned runs and seven hits in four innings as he struggled to command his pitches. The 25-year-old struck out three and walked four batters after being staked to a 3-0 lead in the first inning at Target Field.
Manager Buck Showalter has used relievers Tommy Hunter, T.J. McFarland, and Troy Patton for extended outings in Minnesota, meaning the club will need a long reliever for Sunday’s game should starter Wei-Yin Chen not be able to go deep into the game. Fortunately, the Orioles have two days off this week, meaning Johnson was likely to be optioned in favor of an extra reliever or bench player anyway.
The corresponding roster move will be made Sunday morning as the Orioles try to win the three-game set against the Twins.