Johnson can refuse the assignment because he’s been outrighted previously, but it’s a moot point. He’s eligible for free agency after the World Series due to his service time.
“Either way, it doesn’t matter,” said Johnson, who is recovering from surgery last month to shave down a bone spur behind his right shoulder. “I haven’t talked to my agent yet, so I haven’t decided that part of it.”
The Orioles already contacted Johnson and his agent in an attempt to work out a minor league deal.
“The last few years didn’t go the way I wanted them to and it kind of put me in this position, but coming off the injury, it’s a little tougher situation,” Johnson said. “I’ll just weigh my offers out there and see what’s going on. The Orioles obviously are the team I feel comfortable with and I enjoy playing for them. They gave me my first shot. The opportunity they’ve given me has been awesome. It just comes down to the offers I get and weighing my decision and what I feel is best.”
The Phillies have expressed interest in Johnson in past years. Assistant general manager Scott Proefrock and director of player development Joe Jordan came from the Orioles organization. But Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette will attempt to keep him in the organization.
“Obviously, it’s a business move,” Johnson said. “It made sense to get me off the 40-man now instead of after I come back and get healthy.
“I was expecting it. The process made sense. This is exactly what I was thinking. Obviously, you hope you can sail through the whole time and get a chance in spring training, and it’s still possible that I do as a non-roster guy instead of being on the roster. I was kind of expecting it.”
Johnson, who was 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in 17 starts between Triple-A Norfolk (13), short-season Single-A Aberdeen (three) and the Gulf Coast League Orioles (one), said his right shoulder feels good.
“It’s going well so far,” he said. “No complications or anything. It’s just a process of going through my physical therapy, and hopefully I’ll still be on schedule to be full-go in spring training. Honestly, that’s all I’m hoping for is to get an opportunity somewhere. Whether it’s back here or with another team, I just want to be healthy and get through with my shoulder feeling good. That’s the most important part.”