ABERDEEN, Md. - Wearing a bright No. 36 Aberdeen IronBirds jersey, right-hander Steve Johnson made a rehab start tonight for the IronBirds, pitching into the third inning against Vermont.
Likely because he reached his pitch count, Johnson was pulled from this game with one out and two on in the top of the third. Over 2 1/3 innings, he allowed three hits and two runs (both earned) with one walk and four strikeouts. Johnson threw 48 pitches, 28 for strikes.
After retiring the first two batters he faced in the first on groundouts, Lake Monsters right fielder Tyler Marincov hit a long homer to center on a 2-0 pitch. Marincov was the Oakland A's eighth-round pick this year out of the University of North Florida. Johnson fanned the next batter in a 19-pitch first frame.
Johnson struck out the side in the second inning around a two-out single to left. His fastball continued to sit 88-90 mph and he mixed in a few nice secondary pitches as well in the frame.
In the third, Johnson allowed a one-out single, a stolen base and a walk before Dylan Rheault came on to pitch. One run scored after Johnson left the game.
Johnson is coming back from a strained left oblique and has been on the disabled list since June 6. He pitched two shutout innings last Saturday in the Gulf Coast League in his first game action since he pitched in relief for the Orioles on June 5 at Houston.
In four starts this season for Norfolk, Johnson went 1-2 with a 5.49 ERA over 19 2/3 frames. In five games (one start) for the Orioles, he is 1-1 with an ERA of 8.49 over 11 2/3 innings.
This was Johnson's first-ever pro outing in Aberdeen. He pitched in the lower minors with the Dodgers before his 2009 trade to the Orioles and he has pitched at Bowie and Norfolk on the O's farm.