They may have added injury to insult.
Right-hander Steve Johnson was dealing with discomfort in his left oblique after the game – saying he felt something while warming up but attempted to pitch through it.
“I felt it warming up a little bit, was hoping to battle through it. Sometimes it gets better the more loose it gets, but it was bothering me a little bit. Had trouble getting over my front side and really locating the outside pitch on the corner,” said Johnson, who lasted 2 1/3 innings and struck out five batters. “Was able to kind of gut it out as best as I could and try to just kind of save the bullpen a little bit, I didn’t want to come out right away, was still getting some swings and misses. So I just tried to battle through it and go as long as I could.”
Johnson is hoping this is just a minor thing and he’ll be ready to go in a day or two. It’s not related to the lat strain that cost him the beginning of the season. So he’s icing it, getting it treated and hoping for the best.
The problem is oblique strains linger and, if that’s what this is, he could be looking at a DL stint.
The Orioles are currently playing one man short because Nick Markakis is with his family in New York at his grandmother’s funeral. He is set to join the team Friday in Tampa.
Johnson wouldn’t have pitched Thursday anyway, so the club probably can afford to wait on Johnson’s situation for a day.
But they certainly don’t want to lose a guy who was so effective – and versatile – for them last year if they can avoid it.