Johnson gets call; Williamson placed on DL

The Baltimore Sun

A long bus ride isn't supposed to bring much joy to a minor league pitcher, but hearing that you've been called up by the Orioles makes every bump and tedious mile seem worth it.

The Orioles promoted right-hander Jim Johnson from Triple-A Norfolk yesterday and placed reliever Scott Williamson on the disabled list with tightness in his right triceps tendon. Johnson got the news while traveling from Louisville to Indianapolis.

"I still don't know what's going on," he said. "It was something I didn't really expect. It's still early in the season and I'm just trying to work my way up here."

Williamson left Monday night's game after striking out the only batter he faced. He's been limited to six appearances this season, covering five innings, because of illnesses and a lack of opportunities.

"It's not bad at all, actually," said Williamson, who spent 50 days on the disabled list in two stints last season. "I felt like I was just going to be out for a couple of days. I felt better today than I did yesterday. In probably a couple of days, I could be pitching. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll pitch some minor league games in rehab, try to stay sharp that way and get back."

Williamson also contracted the same virus that caused second baseman Brian Roberts to miss two games.

"I was a little tied up with my shoulder and my back. But I came in here today and felt a lot better, so I was kind of surprised to go to the DL," he said.

"It's not really an injury in my mind. It's totally in the muscle. I don't know if it is me being dehydrated or I strained it a little bit. But I wouldn't say it's an injury."

The Orioles didn't consider veteran Todd Williams as a replacement because they need a reliever who can go multiple innings with Brian Burres unavailable for a few days. And Johnson's next turn to start would have been yesterday.

Johnson was 0-1 with a 2.81 ERA in three starts for Norfolk. He's pitched in one game for the Orioles, making an emergency start on July 29 and allowing eight runs in three innings against the Chicago White Sox.

Mora stands by bunt

One day after making the debatable choice of bunting with the tying run at third base and one out in the ninth inning, Melvin Mora defended the move before reporters could ask the first question.

"Men on first and third. I bunt the ball. That was my decision," he said. "The guy didn't score because he was surprised. That's it. It wasn't a great play. It was nothing. And it was my decision."

Corey Patterson didn't break for home because Mora's bunt rolled almost directly to Oakland Athletics closer Huston Street, who threw to first for the out. Street walked Nick Markakis intentionally to load the bases, and Miguel Tejada grounded out to complete a 6-5 loss.

Asked why he chose to bunt, Mora said, "Because that's the way I play baseball. I play to win. I play to surprise the other team. That's why I've been in the playoffs before, because I like to do the little things. It didn't work out."

Mora also said he tried to signal to Patterson by looking at him three times. And his first inclination was to tie the game and avoid hitting into a double play rather than "be greedy" and try to win it.

"I was thinking what I was going to do and that's what I did," he said. "It's not bad. We just lost the game."

Tejada plays in 1,100th in row

Tejada arrived at Camden Yards with a bad cold and no intention of missing the game, his 1,100th in a row.

Tejada needs four more games to pass Joe Sewell for sixth on the all-time list. Billy Williams is fifth at 1,117.

"The first day that I started it, I didn't believe I could play in so many games," he said. "But like I've said, I like to play every day, and every day I thank God for not being in pain and not being hurt. I'm just happy to see my career going one day at a time.

"God is the one that started this, and he's the one that will stop it. I'm not doing it because I want to catch Cal [Ripken]. I'm just doing it because I'm healthy, I want to play and I think I can play every day."

Around the horn

The game against the Kansas City Royals that was postponed by rain on April 15 has been rescheduled for Sept. 24 at 7:05 p.m. ... Oakland set a major league record by not allowing a run to score in the first inning for the 20th straight game.

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