O’s Today: Johnson shut down; Hill throws – finally

March 15, 2009 | Drew Forrester

One step forward and two steps back.  That pretty much sums up the O’s pitching in spring training.

Danys Baez is back.  His most recent effort was decent.   That’s the good news.

Jim Johnson, however, is now on the shelf for at least a week.  That’s not good news.  Johnson is going to be shut down for a week with a right shoulder impingement.  Team officials are saying it’s merely a case of using caution with Johnson – but we all know that’s how it starts.  “He just needs a few days of rest.”  Followed by, “He’s going to get an MRI to make sure everything is sound in there.”  Then, it’s “The injury turned out to be worse than we first thought.”

Let’s hope that’s not the case with Johnson, who is one of the team’s more reliable right handed pitchers and will no doubt be the team’s 7th inning “bridge pitcher” in ’09, with the responsibility of getting the ball to Chris Ray and George Sherrill.

Meanwhile, Rich Hill, bothered all spring with a sore throwing arm, tossed 26 pitches in a side session with pitching coach Rick Kranitz today.  Hill reported that everything felt great and he’s anticipating making his spring training debut next Saturday.  Already penciled in as the team’s #3 starter by most followers, Hill’s condition is of great concern to the O’s.  If he can’t start the season in Baltimore, that most certainly means the O’s starting rotation will include some combination of Radhames Liz, Hayden Penn, Brad Bergesen and, possibly, David Pauley. 

O’s 2nd baseman Brian Roberts has joined the USA team in the WBC after an oblique injury sidelined Boston’s Dustin Pedroia.