Orioles manager Buck Showalter used six relievers last night after starter Jason Hammel exited in the fourth inning with a knee injury. He used seven relievers tonight because the game lasted 13 innings.
Needing a fresh arm for the bullpen, the Orioles will recall Steve Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk and get him to Camden Yards in time for tomorrow afternoon’s series finale against the Tigers that also concludes a brief homestand.
Johnson qualifies as a fresh arm. He hasn’t pitched since July 8. He’s also on the 40-man roster.
Jason Berken also would have been a consideration, but he threw seven innings tonight at Norfolk.
The Orioles recalled Johnson (St. Paul’s) for the first time on July 2, but he didn’t appear in a game before being optioned two days later. He’s pitched once since June 30.
Johnson is 3-6 with a 3.11 ERA in 15 outings, including 10 starts, with 48 hits allowed, 26 walks and 67 strikeouts in 66 2/3 innings. In five relief appearances, he’s allowed only one earned run and eight hits in 17 innings.
The Orioles are expected to place Hammel on the disabled list tomorrow to make room for Johnson.
More moves are coming, of course. Chris Tillman is starting on Monday and he’s still not on the 25-man roster. Zach Britton and Brian Matusz figure to be recalled to make starts on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.
Johnson’s stay with the Orioles could be brief again. The same is true of reliever Miguel Socolovich, who made his major league debut tonight and allowed one run and two hits in 1 2/3 innings.