Right-hander Steve Johnson will be among the players the Orioles add when rosters expand on Tuesday.
Johnson, a St. Paul's graduate, was with the Orioles on Monday and will have his contract selected from Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday. Johnson thought he might receive a September call-up, but he still was surprised when told in the middle of Nofolk's game Sunday in Gwinnett, Ga., that he was heading to Baltimore Monday morning.
"I really wasn't expecting it yesterday, so it kind of surprised me a little bit," Johnson said. "I was hoping for a September call up. I was pitching well and I'm glad it happened."
Johnson, who turned 28 on Monday, was 4-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 32 outings (three starts) over 54 2/3 innings. Last season, Johnson's season was sidetracked by injury as he dealt with shoulder problems and had surgery to remove bone spurs from the base of his right shoulder.
"Just finally [feel] healthy," Johnson said. "I worked on the delivery in spring training after the surgery and finally got in a groove and just tried to stay with it. … Last year, [my] health and I lost my fastball. That's pretty much my main pitch, my fastball command and that sneaky fastball. I kind of lost that last year and I kind of got it back and commanding it and throwing my offspeed pitches. I've been in kind of a nice groove."
Because Johnson, who was signed to a minor league contract in the offseason, is out of minor league options, the Orioles couldn't call him up as a short-term bullpen arm because he would have had to clear waivers first before returning to the Orioles.
"You know if you pitch well long enough eventually they will call your name if they like you," Johnson said. "And that's all I kept telling myself, if I pitched well long enough, they'll hopefully give me a call. And it finally happened and I'm pretty happy about it."