Steve Johnson closer to Orioles return

Steve Johnson closer to Orioles return
April 29, 2013, 9:15 pm
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Steve Johnson could soon be an option for the Orioles. Johnson, who’s been on the disabled list with a back injury, was markedly improved in his second rehab start for Norfolk on Monday night.

Johnson allowed two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings against Toledo. He walked two and struck out eight.

If Zach Britton doesn’t pitch well in Monday’s start, Freddy Garcia could be an option. Garcia, who extended his opt-out clause until May 14, was named the International League Pitcher of the Week. He’s 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA.

Currently, the Tides have Johnson, Garcia, Jake Arrieta, Zach Clark, Jair Jurrjens and Josh Stinson in their starting rotation. Only Clark, who is on the 40-man roster, hasn’t pitched in the majors.

NOTES:

-Nate McLouth isn’t in the starting lineup for the Orioles. They’re facing the left-handed Joe Saunders, and even though McLouth is 15 for his last 29, he’s sitting.

McLouth’s lifetime batting average against left-handers is .222, nearly 40 points lower than it is against right-handers.

-In his first appearance with the Tides, Chris Jones, who was obtained from Atlanta in the Luis Ayala trade, allowed three runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings. Jones was recently promoted from Bowie

-Jose Gil, who spent much of spring training with the Orioles, has been moved up from Frederick to Bowie. He replaces Luis Martinez who was bumped up to Norfolk. Luis Exposito, who will probably be cut on Tuesday when Chris Snyder is activated, had been Norfolk’s catcher, but room must be made on the 40-man roster.