Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail said that the team's prognosis for reliever Jim Johnson and his strained right elbow is for him to rest for a few weeks before beginning a throwing program.
That, of course, is contingent on Johnson getting the same opinion from Dr. James Andrews this week that he got from Orioles orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens.
"Generally, the second opinion verifies the first, but we'll get the second opinion for verification," MacPhail said. "The prognosis is that he probably needs to rest it a few weeks and then start a throwing program. There's no need for surgery, which is good news on the first opinion. We'll just get him back when he's healthy. It's a strain, but it was explained to me that it's not in the area that indicates, 'Oh my gosh, we have a problem.' It's in an area where if you let it rest for a while, it's going to be fine."
Orioles manager Dave Trembley said that Johnson was never listed as unavailable while he was with the club before his demotion. Johnson, who made one appearance for Triple-A Norfolk, said this morning that he had been trying to pitch through the elbow soreness, but that became too difficult.
"You don't ever want a player to do anything that will potentially create a bigger issue for himself and for the team," MacPhail said. "Jim Johnson is a terrific kid and a good competitor, but you have to be smart with what it is. We were not aware of at the time anything that is potentially harmful for him. We never would have put him in that situation. We'll just see what the second opinion is and how things play out. Right now, I'm happy that the prognosis isn't anything more severe than what the first opinion gives us."
Johnson will start rehabbing the injury, joining closer Michael Gonzalez down at the club's spring training facility in Sarasota. Gonzalez has been doing flat ground work, and reported no pain after throwing from 90 feet.
"Let's see how the Jim thing turns out, but clearly, with Koji [Uehara], Gonzalez and Jimmy not at 100 percent which now looks like since the beginning of the year, those are issues that are difficult to overcome when you don't have the benefit of an offseason," MacPhail said. "Fortunately for us, Koji is back and has been effective. [Alfredo] Simon has done a nice job in that role and [Will] Ohman has done a nice job. [Cla] Meredith has done fine. This is one area where internally, we had enough depth to deal with some pretty severe issues that hit us right at Opening Day. Our offense unfortunately has not shown the same amount of depth.
"We've lost [Brian] Roberts and [Felix] Pie and we haven't been able to do what looks like we've been able to do in the bullpen. We've been able to get the ship stabilized and in the offensive area, we still need to do more there."