Updates on Steve Johnson, Pearce, Gausman and more

Steve Johnson, on the disabled list with a strained left oblique, will throw live batting practice Thursday in Sarasota.

Johnson made 35 throws off a mound yesterday and reported that he’s feeling much better, with improved command of his pitches.

The next step may be a simulated game, followed by a rehab assignment with a minor league affiliate.

Manager Buck Showalter told reporters that outfielder Steve Pearce is down to “one sore wrist.” Pearce could swing a bat within the next few days. He, too, will need to go on a rehab assignment.

Showalter still hasn’t revealed his plans for Kevin Gausman, who remains in the bullpen for now.

“I like having Kevin in our organization, period,” Showalter said. “He was talking to Rick (Adair) today about his experience in the bullpen and how, obviously, he hopes to be a quality starter for us, but how much it’s helped him, he thought, seeing the game from that angle. Of course, as we all know, that’s how it used to be done. Guys cut their teeth in the bullpen, worked their way into something else. But it’s been a little bit of a necessity thing because we really have no long arm right-handed and we have back-to-back left-handed starters.

“I think in some ways it’s been good for Kevin. It’s also kind of managed his innings a little bit. We talk about it all the time, balancing what’s best for the Orioles, the major league team, and what’s best for Kevin Gausman. So far, I feel comfortable with where he is with it. But it’s something we talk about all the time, almost to a fault.

“If we consistently get deeper in games, you’ll probably see Kevin starting somewhere. There’s so many things that branch off the depth you get with your starting pitching.”

Darren O’Day is 12-1 in two seasons with the Orioles.

“He should be starting,” Showalter quipped. “They call him the ‘W maker.’ “

Alex Liddi is starting at third base again tonight for Triple-A Norfolk, with Danny Valencia at first base. I’m surprised that Liddi is working the hot corner.

Catcher Steve Clevenger, the Baltimore native who was acquired with Scott Feldman from the Cubs for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop, is in Sarasota receiving treatment on his strained oblique. He will report to Norfolk when healthy.

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