Right-hander Steve Johnson will fill the Orioles starting rotation void Saturday against the Twins in Minnesota, manager Buck Showalter announced after Thursday’s 6-2 loss to Kansas City.
Johnson, a St. Paul’s alum, will be starting in place of right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Thursday afternoon with a slow-healing blister on his right thumb.
Just more than five weeks into the season, Johnson will be the Orioles’ ninth starting pitcher. He will be the fourth pitcher the Orioles have plucked from Triple-A Norfolk to make a start – following right-hander Josh Stinson, left-hander Zach Britton and right-hander Freddy Garcia.
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Johnson was one of the leading candidates for the Orioles’ fifth starter spot this spring before he was shelved with a strained lat muscle late in camp. He was activated off the disabled list on April 30 and optioned to Norfolk.
In three starts at Norfolk, Johnson is 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA. In his most recent start Monday, he allowed two runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts and one walk, earning his first win of the season.