Johnson meets with front office, still knows little of his Aug. 1 fate
Dave Johnson met with the Baltimore Orioles brass yesterday and came away with information, but little satisfaction.
Johnson has been pitching on rehabilitation assignment all month and is likely to remain there until a move must be made Aug. 1. And, if the Orioles decide to option him to the Class AAA Rochester Red Wings, as they did Craig Worthington, he says, "I don't have a choice."
Monday night, in his latest outing for the Red Wings, Johnson permitted 10 hits and three earned runs in seven innings against the Columbus Clippers.
"Rain seems to follow me," he said. "It started at 2 o'clock, and there was a 45-minute delay during the game. Throughout the game, I was cleaning my spikes on every pitch.
"But it's probably the best I've felt. I stayed with my fastball because the weather made it hard to grip the breaking ball."
The Orioles appear inclined to allow Johnson's rehab to run its course before making a decision about his status.
"If he's not on our roster, he'll throw again down there. He could eventually pitch two more times for them, but I don't know if that will be necessary," said Orioles manager John Oates.
"Naturally, he is quite anxious, that's understandable," said general manager Roland Hemond. "But we haven't made a decision whether to recall him or not."
A pitcher is allowed 30 days on a rehab assignment.
Johnson, the team's biggest winner last season, with 13 victories, said he doesn't expect anything to happen soon.
"Things have to take care of themselves," he said. "When Johnny feels I can help the team more than somebody else, that's when it'll happen."
A trade is still a possibility, but Hemond was ducking all questions about that yesterday.
Davis swings away
Glenn Davis resumed his batting-practice workouts with the regular players yesterday.
"He swung the bat about 40 times, got into it," said Oates. "He rattled the seats a couple of times and looked like a pretty good hitter at the end."
Davis is on his own timetable and said earlier he expects to be playing in two to four weeks. He is also throwing the ball, something he couldn't do several weeks ago.
"It's encouraging," said Hemond. "He can read it better than anyone else."
Asked whether Davis will go on a rehab assignment first, Hemond replied: "We'll see. Right now we haven't determined that."
Hulett back in action
Tim Hulett was available for any type of duty last night after recovering from back trouble that proved minor.
"I'm ready for anything," said Hulett. "I'm a fast healer."
Oates did not have him in the starting lineup, preferring to give Hulett another day of rest.
"Luckily, it wasn't as serious as it could have been," he said. "Maybe tomorrow he'll be in there."
Waivers to expire
Unless someone claims him, Kevin Hickey will become a free agent tomorrow when waivers on him expire.
But if he does not hook on with another team, the Orioles have "invited him back to throw batting practice," according to Oates.
Hemond said the Orioles have no plans at this time to sign Hickey to a minor-league contract, as they did after his first release during spring training.
Cal Ripken lost the AL batting lead for only the second day since June 4 despite raising his average. Kansas City's Danny Tartabull went 1-for-1 and leads Ripken, .333 to .332. Ripken is on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated. . . . The Orioles are 8-20 in one-run games, 5-15 under Oates. . . . Two fans ran onto the field and stole Cal Ripken Sr.'s cap. They were caught and charged with trespassing. . . . Trade rumors have surfaced involving Juan Bell (Philadelphia) and Mike Flanagan (New York Mets), but Hemond said, "That is other people talking." July 31 is the deadline for making trades without asking waivers. "There is always speculation now." . . . Worthington is undergoing therapy in town at the Bennett Institute for a torn hamstring. He is out for at least another month, but could play again for the Orioles this year. . . . The Orioles will hold a free clinic today at 10:30 a.m. at Wheaton High School with Hickey, Leo Gomez, David Segui and coach Tom McCraw. . . . Channel 2 has added the July 30 game at Seattle to its schedule. . . . No. 1 draftee Mark Smith will be at Memorial Stadium for the first time tomorrow. He has been working out with the rookie team in Bluefield, W.Va.