Tag Archive | "steve johnson"

Orioles outright pitcher Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk

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Orioles outright pitcher Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 24 October 2014 by Luke Jones

The Orioles announced they’ve outrighted right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk, leaving the St. Paul’s product’s future with the organization up in the air for the time being.

The 27-year-old Johnson can refuse the assignment and elect to become a minor-league free agent, but it remains to be seen what he elects to do after an injury-riddled season in which he pitched only 47 2/3 innings while dealing with shoulder problems. He underwent surgery on Sept. 24 to remove a bone spur in his shoulder and is expected to be cleared well ahead of spring training.

The thought behind making the move now was that it would have been more difficult sneaking Johnson through waivers when he is presumably healthy at the end of spring training compared to now as he recovers from the surgical procedure. He is out of minor-league options.

Johnson is the son of former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson and made his major league debut in 2012. In parts of two major league seasons, Johnson has gone 5-1 with a 3.67 ERA in 21 appearances (five starts) covering 54 innings.

Though not blessed with impressive velocity, Johnson has averaged 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings at the major league level and profiles as a solid long reliever if his injury concerns are behind him.

He was 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in 17 starts this season between Norfolk (13), Single-A Aberdeen (three), and the Gulf Coast League Orioles (one) while dealing with the shoulder ailment.

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Orioles option Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk following Saturday’s loss

Posted on 03 August 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced after Saturday’s game that they have optioned right-handed pitcher to Triple-A Norfolk.

Johnson, 25, is 1-1 with a 7.82 ERA (12.2IP, 11ER) in six games (one start) for the Orioles this season. He was activated from the DL before Friday night’s game.

A corresponding roster move will be announced before Sunday’s game.

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Roberts placed on paternity list, S. Johnson activated from DL

Posted on 02 August 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Friday that they have placed second baseman Brian Roberts on the paternity leave list and reinstated right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson from the 15-day disabled list.

Roberts, 35, is batting .245/.283/.357 in 30 games for the Orioles this season.

Johnson, 25, is 1-1 with an 8.49 ERA (11.2IP, 11ER) in five games (one start) for the Orioles this season. He had been on the DL since June 6 with a left oblique strain.

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Hammel not answering call in Orioles rotation

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Hammel not answering call in Orioles rotation

Posted on 13 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — Orioles manager Buck Showalter expressed confidence that Jason Hammel’s best games still lie ahead in the second half after Saturday’s 7-3 loss to Toronto.

And it’s a good thing too, because the struggling starting pitcher didn’t sound like he had much in himself after allowing six earned runs in six-plus innings to the Blue Jays. After plunking No. 9 hitter Emilio Bonifacio and walking Jose Reyes to begin the seventh inning, Hammel was lifted by Showalter to watch those runners eventually score, raising his earned run average to 5.24 on the season.

“I hate seeing him come out every time in the seventh inning when we’ve had a lead and I’ve given it back,” said Hammel, referring to the 3-2 lead he relinquished an inning earlier by giving up four straight singles with two outs. “I’ve got to hand the ball over to him and today was no different. I was very frustrated, actually kind of spiked it into his hand. I was a little [ticked] off. It’s frustrating.”

Winless since May 27 and unable to build on three straight quality starts from Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, and Chris Tillman heading into Saturday, Hammel appears to be the weakest link in the rotation despite receiving the Opening Day start less than four months ago. He fell to 7-6 on the season and now has a 6.65 ERA in eight home starts (46 innings) this season. Only two of those have been quality starts as his frustration boiled over following Saturday’s loss.

His 2012 first half in which he was an American League finalist for the All-Star Game’s final fan vote must feel like a distant memory for the 30-year-old right-hander, who’s status in the starting rotation has to be in question for the second half. The heavy-hitting Blue Jays were all over him early, evident by Edwin Encarnacion’s two-run homer in the first inning. To Hammel’s credit, he rebounded to throw four straight scoreless frames before once again running into trouble at the end of the day.

“Unacceptable. Far too many baserunners, getting behind hitters,” Hammel said. “[That's a] fastball-hitting club that I’m feeding fastballs. It’s easy to hit when you know what is coming. I’m not throwing sliders for strikes, not throwing curveballs where I want them. Changeup is nonexistent. I’m beating myself right now.”

The biggest downfall for Hammel in 2013 has been his inability to duplicate the success he enjoyed with his two-seam fastball a year ago when he was able to frequently induce grounders and mix in his breaking stuff to overpower hitters. In 20 starts in 2012 — Hammel missed most of the second half after undergoing right knee surgery in July — he went 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA and posted career bests with 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.24 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched).

Those numbers prompted Showalter to give Hammel the ball in Game 1 of the American League Division Series despite the fact that he made only three regular-season starts after the All-Star break. Showalter hoped Hammel would be their de facto ace in 2013 by awarding him the start on Opening Day, but he hasn’t looked the part sans a handful of outings this season.

Without the two-seamer being a consistent factor this year, Hammel’s pitches have been consistently up in the zone as he’s allowed 19 home runs in his 19 starts this season, just two shy of his career-worst total of 21 in 2011.

“He’s pitched some good games. You can go back through that,” Showalter said. “There are some things that didn’t work out. But I think it bodes well for the rest of the season because he’s capable of better and I think his best games are ahead of him.”

As much as the Orioles hoped last season was a renaissance for Hammel after underwhelming runs with Tampa Bay and Colorado, his numbers this season are more reflective of his pre-2012 statistics when he occasionally bounced back and forth between the starting rotation and bullpen with his former clubs. His current ERA and home run totals are higher than his career numbers (4.80 ERA and 1.5 homers per nine innings entering Saturday), but his current WHIP (1.44) and strikeouts per nine innings (6.3) are nearly identical to his career numbers (1.43 and 6.6).

Much to the organization’s chagrin after failing to acquire a veteran starting pitcher in the offseason, it appears Hammel’s 2012 season was the outlier and his performance this season is simply returning to the norm. That revelation makes it no easier for any of the involved parties, however, in the midst of a pennant race.

“This first half, honestly, is unacceptable for me,” said Hammel, who plans to get away from baseball over the All-Star break to clear his mind and believes he’s been trying too hard to make adjustments between starts. “I’m better than this and it’s on my shoulders. It’s on nobody else. It’s fixable. It’s just I’ve got to get out of my own way.”

Hammel doesn’t appear to be in immediate danger of losing his spot in the rotation, but beyond the top three of Gonzalez, Chen, and Tillman, the Orioles must find more consistency from the back end of the rotation, which includes the newly-acquired Scott Feldman. Otherwise, Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette will have no choice but to revisit the possibility of rookie Kevin Gausman or another option such as Steve Johnson receiving another shot while continuing to explore the possibility of another trade.

The timing of Hammel’s struggles couldn’t be worse for him personally as he is scheduled to become a free agent after the season. While some encouraged the Orioles to sign Hammel to an extension last winter, his future with the organization beyond the next few months now appears in doubt due to his performance this season.

For now, the Orioles continue to express confidence in Hammel, who threw first-pitch strikes to just 13 of the 28 hitters he faced in Saturday’s loss. But that confidence can only go so far in the second half in a very tight AL East race.

“I think it’s just you’ve got to get ahead of guys,” said first baseman Chris Davis, who clubbed his major league-leading 36th home run of the year Saturday. “I think Ham is obviously a guy who has really good stuff if he can go out there and get ahead of guys. If you put the [count in his favor], I think he’s successful.”

The Orioles keep waiting — perhaps only hoping at this point? — for last year’s Hammel to suddenly appear. But after 19 starts of results more closely mirroring the rest of his career, you wonder how much longer they can wait before looking elsewhere.

Even Hammel acknowledged as much on Saturday.

“I know these guys are pulling for me,” Hammel said. “I do believe the best days are ahead, but it’s got to happen fast if we want to make this a championship season. I’m a big part of it and I have to get it right.”

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Pondering second-half roles for Britton, Gausman, S. Johnson

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Pondering second-half roles for Britton, Gausman, S. Johnson

Posted on 10 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — After optioning pitchers Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman to Triple-A Norfolk after Tuesday’s game, the Orioles are now faced with the interesting question of how each will fit into their plans in the second half of the season.

The return of left-hander Wei-Yin Chen after nearly two months takes away a spot in the starting rotation and hopefully provides more stability than the Orioles have enjoyed since the start of the season. The starting five of Chen, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Jason Hammel, and Scott Feldman doesn’t appear to have any candidates dangerously close to being removed from the rotation, so the question of what to potentially do with Britton and Gausman becomes more interesting.

Josh Stinson’s promotion to the Baltimore bullpen wouldn’t figure to be a long-term solution, but the right-hander provides length that Britton nor Gausman would have been able to offer for at least a couple days. As a result, the two will complete a workday in Norfolk before split pitching duties in Sunday’s game before the International League has its own All-Star break next week.

Though manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday that Gausman working out of the bullpen was a positive in terms of further acclimating himself to playing in the big leagues, the infrequent work he received was a major drawback as opposed to him pitching every fifth day in either Baltimore or Norfolk. Should a need arise due to injury or ineffectiveness, you’d expect Gausman to be near the top of the list of candidates to crack the rotation in the second half.

The thought of Gausman serving in a relief role late in the season is an intriguing one with his tremendous velocity, but it makes more sense for him to pitch regularly and to continue to develop his secondary pitches at Triple A instead of serving in long relief for the Orioles with just under half of the season remaining.

What to do with Britton is a much more interesting case as I broke down his shortcomings following last night’s game. It appears that his best chance for making a contribution to the 2013 Orioles would be as a reliever, but finding a spot for him appears tricky at the moment.

The club already has T.J. McFarland as a long reliever and you wouldn’t expect a second left-hander in that role to be a great fit. Brian Matusz and Troy Patton are also in the bullpen, so carrying a third middle reliever or specialist from the left side doesn’t sound ideal either. For what it’s worth in a small sample size this season, lefties are hitting .325 in 45 plate appearances against Britton while right-handed hitters own a .292 average in 109 plate appearances.

As for the spot currently being held by Stinson in the bullpen, right-hander Steve Johnson would appear to be a good option after the break as he was essentially serving in that role while former Oriole Pedro Strop was on the disabled list earlier this season. Johnson threw off the mound for the first time in Sarasota on Monday and will throw live batting practice on Thursday.

Johnson would be a great fit as a right-hander who can provide length — unlike Strop, which made it virtually impossible to continue to hide his struggles in the bullpen prior to last week’s trade — as well as the ability to contribute in the later innings when necessary. While the club is remaining cautious with his recovery from a strained left oblique, it wouldn’t be farfetched to see Johnson in the bullpen shortly after the second half begins.

In other injury-related news, infield prospect Jonathan Schoop will begin a minor-league rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Orioles. It had previously been thought that Schoop would complete his stint with Aberdeen before returning to Triple-A Norfolk, but the club will instead keep him in Florida.

Outfielder Steve Pearce underwent an MRA on his left wrist in Sarasota to check for any structural damage as progress has been slow for his recovery. On the DL since June 21, Pearce’s right wrist is feeling better, but he’s been unable to increase his activity level because of continuing discomfort in the other wrist.

Showalter acknowledged lefty Tsuyoshi Wada was someone the club briefly considered before recalling Stinson for Gausman’s vacated spot, but the Orioles would like to see Wada continue to make progress with the Tides. Asked about his potential second-half role with the club, the Orioles manager said Wada wouldn’t appear to be a candidate for a relief role, making his timetable for a potential major league debut cloudier.

Wada has allowed two or fewer runs in each of his last four starts, but the organization feels it’s best for him to continue to pitch every five days instead of in the long-relief role that Stinson will serve over the remainder of the homestand. It also made sense for the right-hander Stinson to be available to back up the lefty Chen on Wednesday night and the Orioles already have McFarland in that role from the left side.

Infielder Wilson Betemit continues to make slow progress and participate in baseball-related activities “as tolerated” while recovering from the torn PCL in his right knee suffered during spring training. Showalter remains optimistic that Betemit will be able to contribute at some point in the second half, but there is no firm timetable for the veteran to even participate in sim games let alone project a return date to Baltimore.

Reserve outfielder Chris Dickson was scheduled to serve as the designated hitter in Wednesday’s game but was a late scratch as Nolan Reimold replaced him in the lineup. No immediate reason was given prior to the third game of a four-game set with the Texas Rangers.

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Steve Johnson placed on DL, Avery recalled

Posted on 06 June 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Thursday that they have recalled outfielder Xavier Avery from Triple-A Norfolk and placed right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain.

Avery, 23, began the season with Double-A Bowie, where he batted .300/.391/.406 with 34 runs scored and 12 stolen bases in 39 games. He has also played in 15 games with Triple-A Norfolk, batting .192 (10-52). He will wear uniform #70.

Johnson, 25, is 1-1 with an 8.49 ERA (11.2IP, 11ER) and 11.6 strikeouts per 9.0 innings in five games (one start) for the Orioles this season.

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Steve Johnson experiencing left oblique discomfort, Avery on way to Houston

Posted on 06 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

As if the Astros’ offensive explosion Wednesday night didn’t hurt enough, the Orioles may have lost a member of their bullpen in the process.

Speaking to reporters in Houston following Baltimore’s 11-7 loss, right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson revealed he is dealing with a left oblique issue that he first felt while warming up early in the game as starter Freddy Garcia was lit up for four home runs in three-plus innings of work at Minute Maid Park. Johnson entered in the fourth inning and gave up two homers in the inning on his way to completing 2 1/3 innings.

Johnson hopes the issue is minor and won’t warrant a trip to the disabled list, but oblique injuries are never a good sign as left-handed starter Wei-Yin Chen can attest.

Per WNST.net’s Ryan Chell, outfielder Xavier Avery was on his way to Houston Thursday morning and could be a short-term option on the 25-man roster with Markakis not scheduled to rejoin the club until Friday in St. Petersburg.

The Orioles are already playing shorthanded as right fielder Nick Markakis is away from the club for his grandmother’s funeral, but Johnson would have been unavailable to pitch in the series finale in Houston anyway after throwing 55 pitches on Wednesday.

Johnson began the season on the 15-day DL with a right lat strain suffered in the latter stages of spring training.

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Orioles place struggling reliever Strop on DL, recall Steve Johnson

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Orioles place struggling reliever Strop on DL, recall Steve Johnson

Posted on 25 May 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Needing extra bullpen help after two long nights against the Blue Jays in Toronto, the Orioles recalled right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson and placed struggling reliever Pedro Strop on the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday’s game.

The decision to send Strop to the DL with what’s labeled as “a lower back strain” will be met with skepticism as the 27-year-old has struggled immensely going back to mid-August of last season. Strop’s last appearance came on Thursday when he allowed a grand slam to Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion in a 12-6 loss.

Strop has an 0-2 record with a 6.11 earned run average in 22 appearances this season. The right-hander has struggled immensely with his control, walking 14 batters in 17 2/3 innings of work and has struck out 17 while allowing 14 hits.

He had appeared to ease concerns recently with a 13-appearance stretch in which he allowed only one earned run in 11 1/3 innings, but many of those outings came in low-pressure situations as manager Buck Showalter had clearly avoided using him in close games whenever possible. That successful run came to an end Monday night when Strop suffered the loss in a 6-4 defeat to the Yankees in which he allowed two earned runs and recorded only two outs in the 10th inning.

His difficulties go back to mid-August of last season after Strop had posted a 1.20 ERA with 20 holds in 52 2/3 innings through Aug. 17 of the 2012 season. Since then, Strop has a 6.61 ERA and has walked 26 batters over 31 1/3 innings in 41 regular-season appearances.

The move is retroactive to Friday, meaning Strop is eligible to return on June 8, but the Orioles could send him on a minor-league rehab assignment of up to 30 days, which you could expect them to do in hopes of straightening out the power-arm reliever’s struggles. In many cases, a club can typically afford to keep a struggling middle reliever on its roster if that pitcher can at least provide some length in blowout situations or games that go into extra innings, but Strop couldn’t offer that, further diminishing his current value.

The Orioles can only hope this DL stint will turn Strop’s misfortunes around as he was an important part of their success through mid-August of last season. He’s out of options but has an impressive arm that you’d hate to give up on considering he’s only 27 and is still relatively inexperienced considering he became a pitcher in 2006 after beginning his professional career as an infielder.

The 25-year-old Johnson made one start for the Orioles in Minnesota earlier this month, allowing six earned runs in four innings of work on May 11. He has gone 1-2 with a 5.49 ERA in four starts with the Tides this season and was scratched from his Friday start in case the Orioles wanted to summon him to Toronto to serve as an extra bullpen arm.

A welcome addition to the Orioles staff during the stretch run last season, Johnson was 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 12 games, four of which were starts.

 

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Orioles option Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk after Saturday’s loss

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Orioles option Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk after Saturday’s loss

Posted on 11 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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.

 

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Orioles option Burnett to Norfolk to make room for Satuday’s starter Johnson

Posted on 11 May 2013 by WNST Staff

The Orioles today announced that they have recalled right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk and optioned right-handed pitcher Alex Burnett to Norfolk. Johnson is scheduled to start tonight’s game at Minnesota.

Johnson, 25, began the season on the disabled list with a strained right lat. He made three starts for Norfolk and was 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA (16.1IP, 8ER). In four starts for Baltimore in 2012, Johnson was 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA (22.0IP, 7ER) and the Orioles won all four games he started.

Burnett appeared in one game for the Orioles, striking out one in a scoreless inning. Burnett was claimed by the Orioles off waivers from Toronto on April 12.

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