Former Orioles closer Jim Johnson has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, according to an industry source.
Johnson threw a bullpen session yesterday in Sarasota, with pitching rehab coordinator Scott McGregor and minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker in attendance.
The Orioles maintained interest in signing Johnson to a minor league deal, but they had no room for him on the roster until it expanded in September. Manager Buck Showalter said he made that point clear to Johnson in phone conversations.
“He’s got himself a tough decision to make, but a good one,” Showalter said yesterday. “He’s got some people interested in him. Dan (Duquette) and I have painted the picture very bluntly and we’ll see what he says.”
Johnson indicated later in the day that he was signing with another club, according to multiple sources. He settled for a minor league deal, but most likely viewed the Tigers as presenting a better opportunity to pitch in the majors this month.
The Orioles will be challenged to make room on the pitching staff once they activate Ubaldo Jimenez from the disabled list. If they’re sticking with a five-man rotation, someone will be moved to a bullpen that doesn’t have a weak link.
FOXSports.com first reported that the Tigers signed Johnson.
Note: The Orioles today announced that the sixth-annual Orioles Pet Calendar will go on sale Aug. 12, with the proceeds to benefit the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), a non-profit shelter that accepts and cares for all animals in need.
The 16-month calendar features photos of Orioles players with their personal pets and various BARCS animals at notable locations around the city of Baltimore, including the National Aquarium, Fort McHenry, the Hippodrome Theatre, the U.S.S. Constellation, and the American Visionary Art Museum.
The 2015 calendar will be available for $15 at Oriole Park, the Orioles Team Store in the York Galleria in York, PA, and at www.orioles.com/petcalendar.
In an effort to help further support BARCS’ efforts to find safe homes for dogs and cats in the area, J.J. Hardy, Tommy Hunter, David Lough, Bud Norris and Matt Wieters will appear at BARCS (301 Stockholm St.) for an autograph signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 12. Fans must purchase a calendar at the event in order to receive an autograph, and fans attending the event may park for free in Lot D on the south side of M&T Bank Stadium.
Sales of the 2014 calendar raised over $51,000 for BARCS, and in the last few years, the Orioles have helped raise more than $150,000 for the organization.