WASHINGTON – Jim Johnson threw in Sarasota, Fla. while Orioles pitching rehab coordinator Scott McGregor watched him.
The Orioles have offered Johnson a minor league contract, and will wait to see if he accepts it. Johnson, who saved 101 games for the Orioles in the past two seasons before being traded to Oakland last December, was released by the Athletics on Friday.
“I talked to Jimmy today. I talked to Scotty today. He was there with him,” Showalter said. “I think the mistake you make is thinking is thinking you have some magic dust you can sprinkle on him. There are some very capable people in Oakland.”
Johnson was 4-2 with a 7.14 ERA in 38 games.
“Jimmy’s got some work cut for him, but he certainly’s got a good pedigree,” Showalter said. “He’s got a tough decision to make, but a good one. He’s got some people interested in him.”
Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette have both spoken with Johnson.
“Dan and I have painted the picture very bluntly, so we’ll see what he says,” Showalter said. “He’s very respectful of our situation and how well our guys are pitching in the bullpen here. You can never have too many.”
If Johnson signs with the Orioles, he’ll likely head to Bowie and if all goes well, rejoin the team on Sept. 1 when the rosters expand.
Johnson pitched twice against the Orioles this season, allowing two runs on three hits in 1 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out two.
Showalter did not notice something different in the 2014 Johnson.
“The results,” Showalter said. “The other team will tell you how you’re doing, and I know it’s frustrating for him. He wanted to play well for them.”