Double-A Bowie had just finished batting practice when Orioles right-hander Steve Johnson, on a rehab assignment and scheduled to make a start Saturday night for the Baysox, got a phone call: He was needed in Baltimore to provide bullpen depth and take a roster spot after second baseman Brian Roberts went on paternity leave.
Johnson was ready and available to pitch out of the bullpen, but he wasn’t used in the Orioles’ 11-8 win over Seattle.
Johnson had been on the disabled list since June 5 with a strained left oblique and had made three rehab starts in the Gulf Coast League and with short-season Single-A Aberdeen over the past few weeks.
“[The oblique is] good,” Johnson said. “It’s a little tight, but for the most part, everything’s good to go. Just got to do a little work to get it loose during the day.”
Manager Buck Showalter said after the game that Johnson’s activation had to do with Bowie’s proximity and having flexibility in the bullpen. With the possibility of Roberts being out until Sunday, though, Showalter wouldn’t rule out another roster move to add more depth to the bench.
“It's another advantage of having our club right there,” Showalter said of Bowie. “Instead of going short, we thought our biggest potential need would be if something happened to [starter] Chris [Tillman]. You don't assume anything. Or if we get into extra innings. We had a chance for a guy to take a 50-minute ride, and if we didn't do it, I don't think that's very smart. We were talking about whether we could do something else, but I think a lot depends on what's going on with Brian, because this is a day-to-day paternity up to three days, so he could take as long as through Sunday.”