Steve Johnson outrighted to Norfolk (updated)

The Orioles have outrighted pitcher Steve Johnson to Triple-A Norfolk, removing him from the 40-man roster.

Johnson, 26, was 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in 17 starts between Norfolk (13 starts), short-season Single-A Aberdeen (three) and the Gulf Coast Orioles (one). He went on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent surgery on Sept. 24 to shave down a bone spur behind the shoulder.

johnson-s-front-sidebar.jpgThe spur affected his control, as he averaged 7.2 walks per nine innings in the minors.

Johnson, a St. Paul’s grad, never made it back to the majors this season. He’s 5-1 with a 3.67 ERA in 21 appearances, including five starts.

You may recall that Johnson was warming in the bullpen in the first inning of the 2012 American League wild card game in Texas as starter Joe Saunders ran into early trouble.

It makes sense for the Orioles to push Johnson through waivers at this early date, only a month removed from surgery. He’s out of minor league options and more likely to be claimed by another team if he’s throwing well in spring training.

The Orioles now have 39 players on their 40-man major league roster.

Update: I should mention that Johnson is a free agent, but the Orioles already have contacted the right-hander and his agent about signing a minor league deal.

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