Orioles pitcher Steve Johnson is now listed as the O’s starter for Saturday night’s game at Detroit. If he is not needed in relief tonight, the Baltimore native will make that start and be back on the mound for, at that point, what would be the first time in 10 days.
The last several days have been a whirlwind for the 24-year-old right-hander. He made his first Orioles start here on August 8 and got the win against Seattle, giving up two runs and five hits over six innings.
The next day he was optioned back to Triple-A. But then when Troy Patton went to the DL Tuesday, Johnson returned to the Orioles. But his last scheduled day to pitch was Monday, and he hasn’t been in a game at Triple-A or here since that outing vs. Seattle.
“Threw a little yesterday off the mound just to get a little touch and feel,” he said. “I haven’t pitched in a while. But I know I will in the next few days. Whether that is today, tomorrow or the next day, I’m ready for either one.”
He said it would not be an issue to be pitching in his next outing but not on a normal four days’ rest.
“I’ve kind of been through that this whole season. Whether it’s going into the bullpen or a spot start, whatever it is. I’m ready for it,” he said.
The next time he does get in a game, he will do it with a confident feeling that he can get big league hitters out because he has done it already.
“It was great (that start against the Mariners). I was able to go out there and locate and do what I had been doing down in the minors,” Johnson said. “I just know if I continue to throw strikes and get ahead of batters, you can have a lot of success. No matter who it is, you just have to get ahead and throw the pitches where you want them.”
Johnson hasn’t even thrown many bullpen side sessions lately but he said that has been by design.
“I’ve been down in Norfolk, kind of skipping bullpens, just long tossing instead. It’s that point in the season where you take a couple of bullpens off. Yesterday was just to get on the mound, because I hadn’t thrown a bullpen recently. So, threw a couple of pitches off the mound to get a feel. That’s all it was,” Johnson said.
This season at Triple-A, Johnson is 4-8 with a 2.86 ERA in 19 games and 14 starts. He is 1-0 with an ERA of 3.38 in two games and eight innings with the Orioles. Left-handed batters are just 3-for-24 with 10 strikeouts against him at the big league level this season.