Tag Archive | "steve johnson"

Saunders Was Not the Best Option

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Saunders Was Not the Best Option

Posted on 05 October 2012 by WNST Staff

Tonight, the Orioles take on the Rangers in Arlington for their first playoff game since 1997. Buck announced his starter half way through the day on Thursday, as Joe Saunders takes the mound, in a win or go home matchup versus a team that has back-to-back World Series appearances.
This is all information that everyone from Southern, PA. to the Eastern Shore already know. But most do not know what kind of record the Orioles starter has going into this game at Rangers Ballpark. Though he has not pitched in Texas this season for Baltimore, he did spend the beginning of his career with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Southern California, West Coast, Wichita (sorry went off on a tangent there). Six times Saunders has headed to Arlington with the ball in his hand, his record: 0-6, 9.38 ERA.

Now the options are limited for this game and Saunders does have the most (aka the only) playoff experience of any starting pitcher on the roster, but this could one of the few mistakes Buck has made all season (and it could be a huge one). The Orioles really can only look to a couple pitchers for this game, as Chen pitched Monday and has struggled the last month. Gonzalez has come up big in big games all season, but pitched Tuesday and they haven’t thrown him out there on short rest at all in his rookie campaign. Tillman is out, pitching Wednesday night (where he did not look good at all) and Hammel is just coming off the DL, so Buck cannot risk his season on a balky knee.

So the Orioles are left with Joe Saunders or Steve Johnson; not the best way to go into what could be the last game of the season. Most would look at Saunders stats noted earlier and think Johnson was the no-brainer, but he has knee issues himself and is another guy they limited all season long as a rookie. But there is one more idea, a rare occurrence in MLB, but does happen several times each season; a bullpen game.

Everyone knows the bullpen has been not only the most consistent, but strongest part of this roster, virtually dominant all season. With the amount of young arms they have moved from starters, these kids can throw their arms out for two innings in the most important game for Baltimore in a decade and a half. Hunter has reached 100mph on the gun since moving to the bullpen, while Arrieta and Matusz have been definitively better not starting games and Johnson may be able to go if only asked to hold down the first inning or two. Add on guys like Patton, O’Day and Ayala, who have been nothing short of spectacular all season, and the bullpen has the best chance to win this game.

If those seven pitchers get through seven, with the lead or keeping it close, Bird land will be in good shape for some Orioles Magic. With the back end solidified by Jim Johnson, who in all reality could give Buck two innings if needed, a close game is a win for the O’s (especially if you look at the statistics or have just paid attention to this team this year). For those worried about wearing everyone out, any pitcher out their will only go once in three days, as the first game of the divisional round will not be until Sunday.

So only time will tell whether Buck has made the only major mistake of the season but this could be costly one.

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Orioles place Patton on DL, recall S. Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 14 August 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles Tuesday announced that they have selected the contract of left-handed pitcher J.C. Romero and recalled right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk. Additionally, left-handed pitcher Troy Patton has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to August 13, with a right ankle sprain. To make room for Romero on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Miguel Socolovich has been designated for assignment.

Romero was acquired from the Cleveland organization yesterday. He will wear #48.

This will be the third stint with the Orioles this season for Johnson, who was optioned on August 9. He won his first major league start on August 8.

Patton is 1-0 with a 2.58 ERA (52.1IP, 15ER) and 48 strikeouts in 50 appearances for the Orioles this season.

Socolovich pitched to a 6.97 ERA (10.1IP, 8ER) in six appearances for Baltimore.

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Orioles option Steve Johnson to Norfolk to make room for Machado

Posted on 09 August 2012 by WNST Staff


The Orioles Thursday announced that they have selected the contract of infielder Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie and optioned right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk. To make room for Machado on the 40-man roster, second baseman Brian Roberts has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

Machado, 20, has batted .266/.352/.438 with 11 home runs and 59 RBI in 109 games with the Baysox this season, including a .275/.365/.505 line in 91 at-bats since the All-Star break. Machado will be the 31st player in franchise history to debut before his 21st birthday when he sees his first game action (he is 20 years, 34 days old today). The last player to debut for the O’s before turning 21 was Hayden Penn (June 7, 2005 at 20.237). The last position player to debut for the club before his 21st birthday was Eugene Kingsale (September 3, 1996 at 20.014).

The Orioles’ first round selection (#3 overall) in the 2010 First Year Player Draft out of Brito Miami Private School in Miami, FL, Machado came into 2012 rated as the #2 prospect in the Orioles organization and the #11 prospect overall by Baseball America. He played in the MLB Futures Game in Kansas City in July, going 1-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a run scored. Machado was a 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star. He will wear #13.

Johnson earned his first major league victory last night against Seattle, allowing two earned runs and striking out nine over 6.0 innings. He is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA (8.0IP, 3ER) in two games (one start) with the Orioles this season.

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Special night ends with bold decision by Orioles

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Special night ends with bold decision by Orioles

Posted on 09 August 2012 by Luke Jones

The story of Wednesday night was supposed to be local product Steve Johnson, who won his first major league start in front of numerous friends and family at Camden Yards in the Orioles’ 9-2 win over the Seattle Mariners.

Johnson earned his first big-league win exactly 23 years to the day his father Dave Johnson won his first major league game in the Orioles’ famed 1989 “Why Not?” season. It was a touching moment to see friends and family greet the 24-year-old pitcher in the hallway outside the clubhouse following the game as the Orioles completed a three-game sweep and won their fifth consecutive game.

However, the headline was short-lived with the shocking news that the Orioles will promote 20-year-old shortstop Manny Machado from Double-A Bowie to Baltimore for Thursday’s series opener against the Kansas City Royals. The announcement came shortly after 11 p.m. and just minutes after it was learned the organization would promote top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy to Bowie for his next start.

What a night.

Many will debate the merits of promoting a 20-year-old shortstop from Double A to play third base, a position at which he’s only played two games in 219 minor-league contests. Machado hit his 11th home run of the season on Wednesday night and was hitting .266 with 59 runs batted in 109 games for the Baysox this year.

The numbers aren’t overwhelming, but the potential is, as executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter are counting on Machado to contribute to a club in the midst of a pennant race this late in the season for the first time in 14 years.

His transition to third base might have its share of growing pains, but the defensive struggles of Mark Reynolds and Wilson Betemit have set a low bar at the hot corner. Some scouts have projected an eventual move to third for the 6-foot-3 infielder anyway, but that long-term decision doesn’t have to be made right now.

Unlike the announcement three years ago of the Orioles promoting catching phenom Matt Wieters, this wasn’t a decision made a couple days in advance to boost ticket sales on a Friday night in late May. The club will likely see more walk-up sales than usual on Thursday night, but the Ravens’ televised preseason opener in Atlanta will stunt the potential of more people showing up at Camden Yards.

Whether you agree with the promotion or not, this was a decision based solely on giving the Orioles a better chance to win now by promoting their most attractive positional asset in the farm system. Machado must play every day for this move to make any sense, and manager Buck Showalter has made no secret about his affection for the young infielder’s ability and mental makeup.

It may work, or it may not.

But it’s a bold strategy, one made with no regard for delaying the start of his service clock as the Orioles have done with other young players in recent seasons.

No one really knows if Machado is ready to handle third base for a contending major league club, but we’re about to find out. If he’s truly the special talent so many inside and outside the organization have tabbed him to be, early struggles will not ruin his psyche or potential for success in the future.

A fun and compelling season is about to get that much more interesting on Thursday night.

The promotion came out of left field, but, then again, so has everything else about this 2012 season in which nearly every statistic suggests the Orioles should be resting well below the .500 mark while they instead hold a 60-51 record and are tied with Detroit and Oakland for the American League wild card lead.

I’ll borrow a 23-year-old expression that’s been used over and over in this unlikeliest of seasons for the Orioles.

Why not?

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Orioles option Britton to Norfolk, will recall Steve Johnson for Wednesday’s start

Posted on 08 August 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles announced after Tuesday’s game that they have optioned left-handed pitcher Zach Britton to Triple-A Norfolk. Britton is 1-1 with an 8.10 earned run average in five starts for the Orioles this season.

A corresponding roster move will be announced Wednesday, but the Orioles are expected to recall Tides pitcher Steve Johnson to make the start after scheduled starter Tommy Hunter warmed up in the bullpen during the Orioles’ 8-7 win over Seattle that lasted 14 innings.

Johnson made his major league debut against the Detroit Tigers on July 15, pitching two innings and allowing an earned run on a home run by Miguel Cabrera. He was optioned back to Norfolk following that game.

The 24-year-old is 4-8 with a 2.86 ERA in 19 games at Triple A, 14 of those being starts.

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Local kid realizes dream of playing for hometown Orioles

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Local kid realizes dream of playing for hometown Orioles

Posted on 15 July 2012 by Luke Jones

There was little to celebrate in the Orioles’ 4-0 loss to Justin Verlander and the Tigers, but Sunday will go down as a day rookie pitcher Steve Johnson will never forget.

The local product and son of former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson made his major league debut as the Johnsons became the sixth father-son duo to play for the club over its 59-year history. He entered the game to loud cheers in the eighth with the Orioles trailing 3-0.

“When they said I was finally in the game, my heart started pounding,” Johnson said about entering in the eighth inning. “It was just nice to be out there and have the fans get behind me that inning.”

Johnson pitched two innings and allowed a solo home run to Miguel Cabrera on a changeup in the ninth, but the right-hander will never forget walking off the mound to end his first inning of work in the big leagues. After struggling with his control while walking the first two batters he faced, Johnson escaped trouble by collecting two strikeouts to leave the runners stranded and walked to the dugout to a thunderous ovation.

With father Dave and other friends and family watching his debut, it was a special moment in an otherwise lackluster day for the Orioles before 30,439 at Camden Yards.

“Just walking off the field in the eighth inning, getting the strikeout and getting out of that jam — having the fans get behind me — that was a pretty special moment,” Johnson said. “That is something I’ll take with me.”

The home run by Cabrera was the only hit allowed by Johnson as he struck out two and walked two over his 47-pitch outing.

Facing a roster crunch in needing to clear spots for starting pitchers in each of their next three games against the Minnesota Twins, the Orioles predictably optioned Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk following the game. However, Johnson appeared to leave a good impression with manager Buck Showalter, who was happy to see the young pitcher receive such a warm welcome in his hometown.

“I thought he threw the ball pretty well as soon as he got his feet on the ground there,” Showalter said. “This is a guy who — if you throw out Norfolk last year — had as good numbers as you want to see in Bowie [last year] and Norfolk this year if you look at the hits-to-innings and the strikeouts. He’s got a good feel for pitching just like his dad.”

Before talking with reporters after the game, Johnson briefly met with his father, who was repeatedly shown on the MASN telecast during the two-inning stint. Pitching for the Orioles brought Steve back to his early childhood with spotty memories of watching his father pitch at Memorial Stadium.

“He said congrats. [There] probably will be a little hugging a little later, but he just shook my hand and said you pitched well.”

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Pitcher Steve Johnson optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after MLB debut

Posted on 15 July 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles announced after today’s game that they have optioned RHP STEVE JOHNSON to Triple-A Norfolk.

Johnson made his major league debut in this afternoon’s game against Detroit, allowing one earned run on a solo home run, walking two and striking out two. He is 3-6 with a 3.11 ERA (66.2IP, 23ER) in 15 games (10 starts) for the Tides. He was acquired by the Orioles with INF JOSH BELL on July 30, 2009 in exchange for LHP GEORGE SHERRILL.

Steve, and his father, Dave, who pitched for the Orioles from 1989-91, became the sixth father-son duo to play for the Orioles, joining Bob and Terry Kennedy, Don and Damon Buford, John O’Donoghue Sr. and John O’Donoghue Jr., Dave and Derrick May, and Tim Raines Sr. and Tim Raines Jr.

Though the Orioles didn’t announce a corresponding roster move following the game, pitcher Chris Tillman will be recalled to make Monday’s start against the Minnesota Twins.

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Orioles recall pitcher Steve Johnson to take Hammel’s roster spot

Posted on 15 July 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles Sunday announced that they have placed right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 14, with a right knee injury and recalled right-hander Steve Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk.

In 18 starts for the Orioles, Hammel is 8-6 with a 3.54 ERA (109.1IP, 43ER).

Johnson, 24, was 3-6 with a 3.11 ERA (66.2IP, 23ER) in 15 games (20 starts) for the Tides. He was acquired by the Orioles with INF JOSH BELL on July 30, 2009 in exchange for left-handed pitcher George Sherrill.

Johnson was on the Orioles’ roster July 2-3 in Seattle, but did not appear in a game. He will be making his major league debut.

Steve, and his father, Dave, who pitched for the Orioles from 1989-91, will become the sixth father-son duo to play for the Orioles, joining Bob and Terry Kennedy, Don and Damon Buford, John O’Donoghue Sr. and John O’Donoghue Jr., Dave and Derrick May, and Tim Raines Sr. and Tim Raines Jr.

Johnson, a product of St. Paul’s School in Baltimore, will wear uniform No. 52.

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Hammel to undergo knee surgery, hopes to return in 3-4 weeks

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Hammel to undergo knee surgery, hopes to return in 3-4 weeks

Posted on 15 July 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Already admitting Saturday he was leaning toward having surgery on his sore right knee, Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel confirmed Sunday he would undergo a procedure to remove a piece of loose cartilage.

The right-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list after the loose cartilage that’s bothered him all season moved into the joint while delivering a pitch in the fourth inning of Friday’s loss to the Detroit Tigers. Triple-A Norfolk pitcher Steve Johnson was recalled to take Hammel’s place on the 25-man roster prior to Sunday’s game.

“We’re going to go the surgery route,” said Hammel, who hopes to return in three to four weeks. “Obviously, it’s not what I want to do, but it’s what needs to be done. I can’t keep pitching on a bad leg and start doing things with my arm and hurting stuff there.”

Hammel is 8-6 with a 3.54 earned run average in 18 starts this season and has emerged as the club’s best starting pitcher after he was acquired from the Colorado Rockies in the Jeremy Guthrie trade shortly before the start of spring training.

While the 29-year-old hopes to return within a month, the Orioles want to be cautious in estimating when he’ll return to the mound. Manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that the surgery would likely allow Hammel to return by early September.

“It depends on who you talk to,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m not going to throw a blanket over [Hammel’s estimate of three to four weeks], a wet blanket. You can’t really tell until once you get in there and see if exactly what you thinks there is there.”

The surgery will be performed by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens at Johns Hopkins Hospital on Monday.

With Hammel now on the disabled list, the Orioles are down to just one starter from their Opening Day rotation. Though Showalter would love to see his top starter return as soon as possible, he’ll prepare for more pessimistic scenarios and will hope to be surprised along the way.

“I think it’s smart for me personally to plan that way,” Showalter said. “If you get your birthday present early, [great]. I’d rather look at the worst case. I think I’ll have a better feel for it when Dr. Wilckens gets out of there and sees what he found.”

NOTES: Showalter confirmed Triple-A Norfolk pitcher Zach Britton will make the start in Minnesota on Tuesday. Wednesday’s starter remains in question, but Showalter ruled out left-hander Brian Matusz, who will pitch for Norfolk on Sunday. Right-hander Tommy Hunter would be pitching on regular rest on Wednesday and has emerged as the leading candidate to start in Hammel’s place against the Twins. If Johnson is not used in long relief in the series finale against Detroit, he could also be a candidate to start in Minnesota.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Hammel and Showalter HERE.

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