Showalter talks about J.J. (updated)

It’s raining hard right now, so we’re not starting on time.

The word “monsoon” has been used here to describe the conditions.

Instant weather update: It’s already stopped raining and the tarp’s coming off the field. They don’t make monsoons the way they used to.

Kevin Millwood will make his 400th career start, joining Jamie Moyer, Andy Pettitte, Livan Hernandez, Tim Wakefield, Javier Vazquez and Jeff Suppan as the only active pitchers to start 400 or more games.

Not only did Orioles manager Buck Showalter sit in the Double-A Bowie dugout last night to watch Jim Johnson pitch, he also wore his uniform. He was in a real rush to get down there.

Showalter visited Johnson in the bullpen earlier and knew that the right-hander wanted to work on his changeup. The home run came on a changeup that Johnson otherwise wouldn’t have thrown in that situation. He sped up Thomas Neal’s bat with an 84 mph pitch that cleared the fence.

“That’s why it’s good to be there. Exactly what he should be doing,” Showalter said.

“First time I had ever seen him. He throws good. He’s got a good look in his eyes. He’s getting close. And that was his first back-to-back outing. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to see it.

“I got back here about 10 p.m., took off my uniform and went home. It’s so close. Boy, what a great situation for us. It was fun to put some faces with names.

“I was impressed with the ballpark. Wow. That’s not the Eastern League as I remember it. It’s a great facility.”

The plan still calls for Johnson to pitch again Tuesday and Wednesday at Bowie. The Orioles must decide whether to activate him before Sept. 1.

Showalter and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail discussed the situation this morning. I also saw MacPhail talking to reliever Jason Berken, who’s a candidate to go on the 60-day disabled list to free up room for Johnson on the 40-man roster.

Showalter said he was impressed with another player at Bowie. He didn’t mention any names, but he said it’s someone who could be seen again “in the next few years.” He meant in Baltimore, and he probably meant center fielder Xavier Avery, who drove in four runs.

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