Orioles place struggling Strop on disabled list

Orioles place struggling Strop on disabled list
May 25, 2013, 12:45 pm

The Orioles have recalled Steve Johnson from Norfolk and placed Pedro Strop on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back.

Johnson, who was scratched from last night’s start with Norfolk at Lehigh Valley, arrived in Toronto this morning, and will provide length for the bullpen.

Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman have gone just five innings the last two starts.

Johnson was recalled for a May 11 start in Minnesota and allowed six runs on seven hits in four innings. He was the losing pitcher and was returned to Norfolk after the game.

He’s 1-2 with a 5.49 ERA in four starts with Norfolk.

Strop, who is 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA, last pitched on Thursday. He’s walked 14 batters in 17 2/3 innings.

An extremely effective reliever for much of last season, Strop slumped in August, and after pitching well in spring training and the World Baseball Classic, he had his troubles early this season.

But, after a walk and his throwing error led to a loss in Oakland late last month, Strop seemed to improve, reducing his ERA to 4.50 after six scoreless outings. But, he’s allowed five runs on five hits in his last five appearances.

The Orioles couldn’t send him to the minor leagues because he was out of options. Now, after his disabled list stint ends, he can be sent on a rehab assignment lasting up to 30 days, presumably allowing the team to tinker with his mechanics.

Johnson’s addition could allow Tommy Hunter, who’s been excellent recently, to move later in games.