Right-hander Steve Johnson (lat) threw four innings and 70 pitches in Fort Myers, Fla., as part of an extended spring game. Assuming he feels good during a side session this weekend, Johnson will make his 2013 pro debut next week in Charlotte for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, the club anticipates.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Johnson, a St. Paul’s graduate who was 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA for the Orioles last year, will start in his first outing of this season.
Tsuyoshi Wada (elbow) threw three innings and 45 pitches in the same extended spring game. Wada, who is on the club’s 60-day disabled list while recovering from Tommy John surgery last May, is ticketed for four innings and likely 60 pitches in his next outing.
Showalter said Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia, who will begin his pro career Friday with Double-A Bowie at Akron, will play both left and right field for the Baysox. The 26-year-old also could play some center.
Based on his age and the fact he has played a lot throughout the spring, the organization decided Double-A would be the best place for him, Showalter said.
Brian Roberts (hamstring) has progressed from walking on an underwater treadmill to jogging on it. There is no set timetable for his return to baseball activities, but Showalter said Roberts is getting a “little better every day.”
The Orioles have Steve Pearce in the lineup on Thursday – against left-hander David Price. It’s the second time Pearce has faced Price this season. Pearce, who is 0-for-13 to begin this season, also started against CC Sabathia and Clay Buchholz. That’s not an easy assignment for a part-timer.
“I think knowing what the job description was and what it entailed, that’s who you are going to see,” Showalter said. “Stevie knows what’s going on. Trying to figure out a way to contribute against Price and Sabathia and whatever is hard to do. But he is capable. He’s done it in the past.”
Here are the lineups for tonight:
Orioles: Markakis 9, Machado 5, Jones 8, Wieters 2, Davis 3, Hardy 6, Pearce DH, Reimold 7, Casilla 4. Gonzalez 1.
Rays: Jennings 8, Johnson 7, Zobrist 4, Longoria 5, Joyce 9, Duncan DH, Loney 3, Molina 2, Escobar 6. Price 1.