TORONTO -- The Orioles selected the contract of first baseman Dan Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk to add another left-handed bat in place of rookie outfielder Henry Urrutia, who is not with the team in Canada because of visa issues.
The club placed Urrutia on the three-day restricted list while he works out in Sarasota, Fla.. After Sunday’s game, the Orioles will need to make a decision on whether to bring Urrutia to Boston. If they decide to keep Johnson on the active roster, they will have to clear a 40-man spot for him once Urrutia is activated.
Johnson, who opted out of his minor league contract with the New York Yankees with three games left in the Triple-A season, signed a minor league deal with the Orioles shortly after. He has been working out in Sarasota waiting for a possible call up, which came via a phone call received around 1:30 a.m. Friday.
Johnson is best known for his late-season homers for the Rays. He hit a game-tying, two-out, two-strike pinch-hit homer in Game 162 of the 2011 season, helping Tampa Bay make the postseason. He also had a late-season homer off the bench in Boston that helped the Rays win the American League East in 2008.
“This is kind of what I’ve built my career off of the last four years, the AL East and the playoff races,” Johnson said. “I know this time is a real special time for a team — anything you can help do to help a team is good.”
Clevenger gets first start
Baltimore native and Mount St. Joseph grad Steve Clevenger made his first start with the Orioles as the catcher Friday night against the Blue Jays.
Showalter said he wanted to give Matt Wieters, who had started 12 of the past 13 games, a day off, especially considering he will start the final two games — both day games — in Toronto.
“He’s ready,” Showalter said. “I’m sure there will be some anxiety early on, but we’ll be fine once he settles in. It’s like when you make a tackle in football and you’re back in your element.”
Around the horn
Danny Valencia, who has thrived against left-handed pitching, made his first start of the season against a right-handed starter Friday. … Asked for his take on this week’s confrontation between Showalter and Yankees manager Joe Girardi, Rays manager Joe Maddon told the Tampe Bay Times “I love trying “ to steal signs. “Everybody should try to steal the other team’s signs, and if you let your signs out there to be stolen, it’s your fault, period,” Maddon said. … Chris Davis (15) and Adam Jones (14) have the most homers against the Blue Jays since the beginning of the 2012 season.