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TONIGHT: Johnson gets another chance, thanks to McDonald's shoulder


BOSTON -- The injury that sidelined Ben McDonald for the rest of the season has presented Dave Johnson will another opportunity in the Orioles' starting rotation.

Tonight's game against the Red Sox (6:05, HTS) was supposed to be Johnson's last start of the season. But with McDonald finished, Johnson and Arthur Rhodes have bounced back into the picture. Rhodes originally was listed to make his final start during the series in New York Oct. 1-3, but he has picked up two additional assignments.

"It would be tough not to bring him back after the way he threw the last time [a 6 2/3 -inning effort in Sunday's 4-3 win over Cleveland]," manager John Oates said of Rhodes.

Johnson (4-5, 6.92) will be making his first start in 16 days in the final game of the series against the Red Sox. He will be opposed by Mike Gardiner (8-7, 4.91).

Although he has been anxious to see his young pitchers as often as possible during the final month of the season, Oates said he did not seriously consider Anthony Telford as McDonald's replacement.

"Davey won 13 games for this club last year," said Oates. "He deserves it. I'm not going to write him off. I'm going to give him a chance to pitch and see what he can do."

The way Oates has his rotation lined up, Bob Milacki will make four more starts, Mike Mussina, Rhodes and Johnson (counting tonight) three and Jeff Ballard will get one in New York.

"That's the way it is right now, barring rainouts or injuries," said Oates.

If the rotation stays intact, Mussina, Mesa and Milacki will start the last three games in Memorial Stadium Oct. 4-6.

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