Johnson to rehabilitate in Hagerstown or Frederick
Dave Johnson is heading for a nearby rehabilitation assignment, but the Baltimore Orioles deferred on all the other tough roster questions yesterday.
After a meeting between manager John Oates and general manager Roland Hemond, the only decision involved Johnson, who will pitch at either Hagerstown or Frederick on Tuesday night.
Oates said he is being realistic when he assesses Johnson's current capability as "four or five innings, 60 or 70 pitches" when the team's biggest winner of 1990 continues his recovery from an injured groin muscle.
But Johnson said: "I don't see any problem going five, six or even seven innings. We'll see how it goes."
The Orioles have tried to maintain his arm strength without risking further injury, "so he wouldn't have to start from scratch," said Oates.
The injury doesn't bother Johnson when he throws, and he said his "arm is a lot sorer than my groin right now" after pitching three simulated innings, followed by seven minutes in the bullpen Thursday.
He said he doesn't feel he has to prove he can retire hitters, only than he can make quality pitches and be healthy doing it.
"I've been adamant about being given an opportunity when I'm healthy," he said. "I think I deserve more chance than four starts when I wasn't."
Oates said Johnson will make another start for either the Suns or Keys next Sunday. Since the Suns are home that day and the Keys are not, the likelihood is that he will pitch at Frederick first.
"He won't pitch for the same club twice," said Oates. "That way he won't knock some kid out twice. Then, we'll re-evaluate."
The only thing determined about Ben McDonald's status was that he does not have a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.
Pitching coach Al Jackson called the affected area "a hot spot. If he had continued throwing it might have been a blister. I'm glad he recognized it for what it was."
The problem comes from the high-seamed, minor-league baseball McDonald was throwing for the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings.
McDonald threw well for 15 minutes in the bullpen yesterday, but LTC the Orioles still are not saying whether he will be re-activated to pitch against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
Meanwhile, Dwight Evans tested his strained Achilles' tendon by hitting and running, and Oates pronounced him "still not 100 percent" for re-activation today.
Craig Worthington is still with Rochester for the moment.
"A decision has to be made by Sunday," said Oates. "I don't know of any trades involving him that are imminent."
The other options are recalling him or optioning him to the Red Wings.
DeCinces relives magic
The man credited with helping start Orioles Magic in June 1979 said his game-winning home run against Detroit simply "facilitated" the trend. "It was a turning point."
Doug DeCinces' shot off Dave Tobik only launched something )) "the fans were responsible for," he said. "We had had a tough battle that night, and the whole team gathered on the field after the homer.
"Then somebody came in to get me to go back to the field 10 minutes after the game. The fans were still there waiting. From that point, I think they knew the city had something going."
Although the Orioles are expecting crowds approaching 50,000 for each game, tickets remain for the two Red Sox games, including clear-view, general admission seats for today. Only scattered single seats and obstructed-view seats are available tomorrow. . . . Pitcher Hal "Skinny" Brown will become the 22nd member of the Orioles Hall of Fame today in a pre-game ceremony. Ex-teammates Jerry Walker, Billy O'Dell, Dick Hall and Ron Hansen will participate. . . . Cal Ripken's first-inning single last night was his 100th hit. He reached that mark in 71 games, quicker than any Oriole in history. It is the earliest anyone in the league has hit the century mark since Wade Boggs in 1987.