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Orioles right-hander Steve Johnson injures finger, infielder Jayson Nix joins the mix

SARASOTA, Fla. — Right-hander Steve Johnson didn't make his scheduled bullpen session Monday after injuring his right middle finger while doing pitchers fielding practice drills Sunday.

Johnson had an X-ray done after Monday's workout, and the results came back negative for any broken bones. With just a bruise, he hopes that the injury won't keep him out for an extended time.

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"It felt a lot better than it did yesterday," Johnson said Monday before the X-ray results were known. "It was a stupid injury, but what are you going to do? … It got me and you're never really sure how bad it gets you, but it started swelling up a little bit. I iced it all day today and hopefully we'll get some good news and they'll say it's just bruised."

Johnson entered camp optimistic that he was finally healthy after coming off surgery to remove a bone spur from his right shoulder last September.

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"If [the X-ray] is [good], I know I won't hurt anything throwing," Johnson said. "Hopefully, it's a day thing and I'm back out there. A ground ball, just got it and my finger got in the way. …

"Maybe it will give me a breather for my shoulder and give me a couple of days. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise. Who knows? But yeah, everything else feels good."

Johnson, who rejoined the Orioles on a minor league deal this offseason, has struggled to remain healthy since his rookie year in 2012, when he went 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA. He opened last season in the disabled and later missed 70 games with shoulder inflammation. In 2013, he missed 86 games with a left oblique strain and a right lat strain.

Nix reports to camp

Utility player Jayson Nix, who reported to camp Monday, has seen the Orioles' progress the past three years from the opposing dugout, which made signing a minor league deal with the team attractive.

"I remember looking back to 2012 when I was in New York and, coming down the stretch that season in September, this team was really playing good, and we were fighting with them down the stretch and then in the playoffs that year. I could really see it turn that year," said Nix, who played against the Orioles with the Yankees in 2012 and 2013. "I've definitely seen it, and I know for a team to be playing like that, they've got to have a lot of good things going on in the clubhouse."

Nix gives the Orioles another strong defender in the infield. He plays shortstop, second base and third base and also has seen time at both corner infield spots as well as first base.

He's a long shot to make the major league team, especially with the pending addition of infielder Everth Cabrera, but the Orioles also are looking to shore up their defense at Triple-A Norfolk, especially at shortstop.

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Nix spent last season in four different organizations. He batted .120/.169/.157 with one home run and four RBIs in 41 major league games with the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Royals. And in 55 games for Triple-A Durham in the Tampa Bay Rays' organization, he hit .272/.340/.408 with three home runs and 16 RBIs.

Around the horn

During Monday's workout, the Ed Smith Stadium speakers were blaring crowd noise recorded from postseason games at Camden Yards last year that the team plans to use to simulate crowd noise for defensive drills. "We're going to do it where, when the ball leaves the bat, you start turning the volume up more and more just like it is in the game," Showalter said. … Showalter was impressed Monday with pitching prospect Hunter Harvey's second bullpen session of the spring. "His arm was a little higher than it was last time out. That was good to see coming off some of the shoulder stuff we had," Showalter said. … After Monday's workout, Orioles players and staff participated in the fifth annual Birdland Golf Classic, which has previously raised $125,000 for the Miracle League of Manasota.

eencina@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard


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