SARASOTA, Fla. - Jim Johnson kept hearing all winter how he’d make a start in spring training. It just took until the next-to-last game in Florida for it to happen.
Johnson pitched the first inning tonight and retired all three Florida Southern batters that he faced, striking out two of them.
“Everything’s fine,” he said. “I had to stay on a schedule. I’m not going to be on a mound the next two days.”
That’s because Johnson will be with his wife, Elizabeth, when doctors induce labor Tuesday. Their daughter, Abigail, is about to have a little brother.
“I’ll meet the team up there, so I just needed to get some work in,” he said. “It was good.”
Johnson said he hasn’t been told how he’ll be used this season. Manager Buck Showalter hasn’t named a closer, though it’s assumed that Johnson will handle that task.
“We all kind of know when we’re going to pitch, for now,” he said. “We’ll find out on Wednesday, I guess, when they have to have the roster set. There’s a couple more decisions to be made, so it’s hard to make a call on how the bullpen shapes up.”
Umpires are moving this game along by skipping the Orioles’ turn at the plate. They didn’t bat in the third inning and scored three runs in the fourth, two coming on a long home run by Nolan Reimold. Chris Davis had an RBI single to go with his three-run homer.
I’m pretty sure the Orioles didn’t bat in the fifth. Or I took a short nap and missed it. Pedro Strop is pitching with the Orioles leading 10-, and outhitting Florida Southern 12-1.
Update: Pat Neshek pitched the last two innings and gave up a run and two hits in the ninth. The Orioles cleared the bench in the latter innings, and they scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Zelous Wheeler singled in the final run.
They’re playing the bottom of the ninth with the Orioles leading 13-1.