MINNEAPOLIS — Johnson, in pain from groin injury, delays return
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Dave Johnson has suffered a setback in his recovery from a deep groin strain and could be weeks away from being able to return to the mound.
"I'm shutting it down for a while," said Johnson, who has been on the disabled list since May 20. "I thought 15 days would be more than enough, but now it doesn't look that way."
He has thrown off a mound twice in the past several days, both times experiencing the same jabbing pain in his hip and groin that persuaded him to take himself out of action two weeks ago.
"It could be five days to a week before I get back on the hill again," Johnson said. "Dr. [Charles] Silberstein said that with a strain that deep, sometimes it takes a couple of weeks or months. I'm not saying it's going to take that long, but let's get it healed once and for all."
Perhaps it is best that Johnson take his time. If he were to return today, he would have to wait his turn to return to the starting rotation, which has put together a string of solid performances.
Larkin leaves after HBP
Twins right fielder Gene Larkin had to leave the game after he was hit on the elbow by a fastball from Jeff Robinson in the fourth inning.
Larkin was taken to Hennepin Medical Center for X-rays.
Orioles manager John Oates allowed Jeff McKnight to bat with two out and the potential winning runs on base in the ninth inning, even though catcher Bob Melvin was available and has three hits in seven career at-bats against Twins reliever Rick Aguilera.
"I was aware that Melvin had some numbers against him," Oates said, "but [McKnight] was the guy I wanted to go with. If he's good enough to start the game, he's good enough to hit in that situation."
Anderson injury update
Injured outfielder Brady Anderson said he has been experiencing a clicking feeling in his knee, which could mean he is suffering from something other than a hamstring strain. But he was able to take batting practice before last night's game.
Olson applauds offense
The Orioles offense cost Gregg Olson a pair of save opportunities in Boston, scoring in the ninth inning on Thursday and Sunday to eliminate the need for Olson to enter the game.
"That's OK," Olson said. "I'd rather have the sure win than the save opportunities."
Sam Horn hit a three-run homer on Thursday night to turn a 6-3 game into a six-run cruise. Horn and Randy Milligan hit back-to-back homers on Sunday to give the Orioles a four-run lead.
"I'm trying to help him," Horn said. "He told me he wanted more of those easy save opportunities. He came to me and said, 'All I need is three runs.' I gave him a three-run homer. What more do you want?"
It won't rank with the Dwight Evans' comeback weekend in Boston, but Roy Smith came back to the Metrodome for his first series here since he was released by the Twins in December.
Smith pitched a strong game to defeat Roger Clemens at Fenway Park on Sunday, so he won't make an appearance in his old haunt, but he's not complaining.
"I'd rather concentrate on getting off to a good start without having to worry about coming in here and pitching against them," he said, "not that it would bother me that much."
The Twins released him after a 5-10 season in 1990. The Orioles signed him to a minor-league contract, but called him up May 24 to fill the fifth spot in the rotation. He comes back to Minnesota with a 2-0 record and a 2.63 ERA in three 1991 appearances.
"Believe me, that crossed my mind," he said. "But I have no hard feelings. In this game, you have to be able to separate the business from the personal stuff."
Flanagan sets record
It took a few days of research, but the Orioles determined yesterday that Mike Flanagan set an American League record when he went more than 14 years between saves. Flanagan's first career save came May 7, 1977, against the Seattle Mariners. He recorded his second on Thursday night at Fenway Park. The major-league record is held by Steve Carlton, who went 20 years between saves -- his first in 1967 for the St. Louis Cardinals and his second in 1987 for the Cleveland Indians.
McKnight started in left field last night -- making his first start in a week -- and Joe Orsulak was in right. Manager John Oates said during the weekend that he probably would rest Evans on the Metrodome artificial turf for a couple of games. . . . Bill Ripken returned to the starting lineup after a couple of days on the sidelines with a sore back. . . . Twins P Scott Erickson -- named A.L. Pitcher of the Month for May (5-0, 1.36 ERA in 6 starts) -- will miss the Orioles series.