Right-hander Jim Johnson worked out for the Orioles on Monday morning at the club’s spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla. He threw for about 10 minutes in front of minor league pitching rehab coordinator Scott McGregor and minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker.
Buck Showalter said he spoke to Johnson on Monday, and the Orioles manager also spoke to McGregor about Johnson, who was released last week by the Oakland Athletics after compiling a 7.14 ERA in 38 games.
“I think the mistake you make is thinking that you’ve got some magic dust that you sprinkle on him. There are some very capable people in Oakland, Jimmy being one of them, but I know [Athletics pitching coach] Curt Young, I know [Athletics manager] Bobby Melvin — they’re really good at what they do,” Showalter said. “Jimmy’s got some work cut out for him, but he’s certainly got a good pedigree and a history of having success. He’s got a tough decision to make, but a good one. He’s got people interested in him.”
The Orioles are currently set in the bullpen and don’t have an obvious spot for Johnson, who saved 101 games for them between the 2012 and 2013 seasons before being traded to Oakland in December. The Orioles would like Johnson to sign a minor league deal and attempt to get back to the majors this year, but Showalter said he was frank with Johnson when they spoke.
“He’s got to make the decision. He’s earned that right,” Showalter said. “People are wanting his services. We’ll see. He’s very respectful of our situation here and how well our guys are pitching in the bullpen, too. You can never have too many.”