Seth Johnson on offseason workouts and knowledge of new team

The version of Seth Johnson that didn’t undergo ligament-reconstructive surgery in his right elbow was projected by some outlets to reach the majors next summer. He might have finished this season at Double-A, shortening his climb onto the Orioles’ active roster.

Johnson made seven starts at High-A Bowling Green before the injury, and prior to the deadline trade that sent him from the Rays to the Orioles. He didn’t pitch after May 20 and had his procedure on Aug. 3, which threatens to keep him away from an affiliate until 2024.

A throwing program is set to begin in the middle of January and the Orioles will get a clearer read on his progress. Johnson is hoping at a minimum to pitch in the Florida Complex League before the minors shut down.

The road to Sarasota already has been traveled. Johnson is cleared for weight training, which he’s done at the spring training complex except for a short period when it closed for some renovations.

Johnson has mostly kept his offseason on a normal trajectory other than the whole pitching thing.

“As far as, like, lifting and stuff, it’s very much the same,” he said. “I like the weight room a lot and I lift pretty hard, so that stuff’s been pretty consistent. But usually by now I would have started some plyos (plyometric exercises) or some light throwing or something like that.

“It’s more of just trying to build a foundation for my body, but letting the arm kind of recover.”

Much of Johnson’s past winter work has taken place at home or at Prospect Performance Academy in Cleveland, founded by agent Ben Simon, who’s the president of Simon Sports.

“The guy who makes the workouts sends me remote workouts to do on my own,” Johnson said. “I’ll talk to him once a month and go over the workouts and stuff. But I lift on my own.”

Johnson learned of the trade after landing in Dallas, where Dr. Keith Meister performed the surgery. He got the call from the Rays, attended the Orioles’ game against the Rangers later that night, and built upon what he already observed about his new organization.

“I know we’ve got the No. 1 farm system,” he said.

“Obviously, it was a really good season for the major league team. Being with the Rays, we played against the Orioles every spring training, and even in 2020 instructs, so I’ve been seeing the growth and development and the turn for the better that the organization’s been taking the last couple years, so I’m definitely excited to be part of that.”

Johnson also will be thrust into their data-driven world. He knows the way around it, developing his own comfort zone.

“I see analytics as a tool,” he said. “I try not to rely on it solely. I try to also use feel and instincts for the game. But I think as long as you understand the analytics and understand all that stuff’s aim, it can absolutely help you on the field.

“Last year, in 2021, I actually got taught TrackMan stuff and what numbers we’re looking for and what the numbers mean, and that really helped me personally visualize how I want my pitches to move, what to think when I’m throwing a certain pitch. I’m a fan of analytics. It can only help if you really know what they mean and how to use them.”

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