Orioles reliever Johns charged with suspected marijuana possession

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Charges include DWI, failure to obey signal

DeShields eyes return

Opening Day 1999

April 06, 1999|By Richard Irwin and Roch Kubatko | Richard Irwin and Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Orioles reliever Doug Johns was arrested late last night in downtown Baltimore and charged with possession of suspected marijuana, driving while intoxicated and failure to obey a traffic signal, said a spokesman for the Baltimore City Police Department.

Johns, according to Robert W. Weinhold Jr., the spokesman, was driving his late-model Jeep Grand Cherokee westbound on East Lombard Street near Gay Street at 10: 50 p.m. when he ran a red light at Gay Street and was stopped by a police officer, whose name was not released.

"While talking to Mr. Johns, the officer detained him for suspected intoxication," said Weinhold, who declined to reveal details of the incident.

Weinhold said a subsequent search of Johns' vehicle revealed a bag containing a small quantity of suspected marijuana.

Weinhold said Johns was taken to the Central Police District, where he remained for about two hours before being taken to the Central Booking and Intake Center.

There, Johns was formally charged, fingerprinted and placed in a cell before appearing early today before a District Court commissioner who either set bail or released Johns on his own recognizance, police said.

Police said Johns' vehicle was impounded, but that a large quantity of clothing and personal effects were removed from the vehicle and stored at the Central District station.

Johns, 31, joined the Orioles in June 1997 after six seasons in the Oakland organization and was 3-1 with a 3.74 ERA with Triple-A Rochester in '97. He made two starts there last year before the Orioles called him up April 20. He was 2-2 with 4.32 ERA as starter and 1-1 with one save and 4.91 ERA in relief.

He went on the 15-day disabled list last May because of insomnia and agreed to participate in an employee assistance program. His condition improved with medication and close supervision by a psychologist.

DeShields on the mend

If this had been any other Opening Day for second baseman Delino DeShields, his family would have made the drive from Seaford, Del., to watch him play. That's the way he always envisioned it. But being on the disabled list changed those plans.

"I'm not playing so I'm not really here yet," he said. "I told them to stay away until I get on the field."

Unless they're willing to follow him to Sarasota, Fla., they'll have to wait. DeShields flew there last night and will report to the minor-league camp, where he'll play three games as part of his rehabilitation from a fractured left thumb.

Barring complications, DeShields will play in Double-A Bowie's opener Friday. He's eligible to come off the DL the next day and could rejoin the Orioles for their home game against Toronto, "but that could be pushing it," said general manager Frank Wren.

"He'll play there [in Bowie] until he gets his timing and our staff reports back that it looks like he's ready to go. From a physical standpoint, he's ready to go today, but from a timing standpoint and getting it back, that's where he needs some work."

DeShields sounds like he's on another timetable. "I'm planning on being active Saturday," he said.

DeShields hasn't faced live pitching since fracturing the thumb while catching a line drive during a March 4 intrasquad game.

"I feel it if I hit it wrong," DeShields said, "but it's nothing I can't tolerate at this point.

"I'm just going to take it slow, be patient and let the game come to me."

Kamieniecki on the move

Scott Kamieniecki also was expected to leave for Sarasota last night as he rehabs a strained left hamstring.

Kamieniecki's leg was examined Sunday by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs, and the club said there was no additional damage.

"He checked out fine," Wren said, adding that Kamieniecki most likely will need at least four rehab starts to build up his strength.

"I would think it would be pushing it to expect him back any time in April. It's possible, but he's going to have to get out pretty quickly to be able to do that."

Asked if there's any concern within the organization that the injury is more serious, Wren said, "I don't think so. There's nothing that's indicated other than [a strain] so far."

GM Wren savors opener

Wren said his first game as a GM "wasn't as nerve-racking and crazy" as he imagined.

"I got up extra-early and came in this morning to just kind of get settled in my office, and then everything started to happen. I've been busy since everything kind of broke loose here."

Wren has a view of the field from his office in the warehouse. Until yesterday, there hadn't been much to see.

"It's really special now with all the activity going on," he said. "I look forward to seeing it packed, I look forward to seeing the excitement of everything. Opening Day is the closest thing to the postseason for a lot of clubs. Hopefully, we'll get some extra-special time at the end of the year."

Picture of satisfaction

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