June 19, 2024

One of the goals for the Orioles this spring training is to discover additional candidates for starting pitching. On Monday, manager Brandon Hyde finally saw Seth Johnson in action.

Johnson, a 25-year-old right-hander who was obtained from Tampa Bay in August 2022 as part of the trade for Trey Mancini, immediately had Tommy John surgery, and was rehabbing last spring.

Towards the end of the previous season, Johnson participated in six minor league matches spanning four tiers, maintaining a 4.35 earned-run average. On Monday, he took the mound against the Braves in North Port, delivering two hitless innings while conceding a walk.

Reflecting on his performance, Johnson remarked, “I believe I delivered some quality pitches. Overall, I’m fairly satisfied.” He faced a formidable Atlanta lineup, which included National League Most Valuable Player Ronald Acuña Jr.

Admitting to some heightened nerves, Johnson acknowledged, “I was a bit hyped. It marked my debut in big league spring training. Having the chance to compete against one of baseball’s top lineups was truly exhilarating. When you’re up against players of that caliber, you have to elevate your game.”

Looking ahead to the remainder of spring training, Johnson emphasized the need to refine his consistency, understand the nuances of each of his pitches, and consistently execute his game plan.

Manager Hyde acknowledged the significance of Johnson’s performance.

“Johnson is coming off a full year of absence and hasn’t yet showcased his skills at a high level,” Hyde remarked.

Despite being listed on the 40-man roster, Johnson has only pitched three innings for Double-A Bowie.

“We aim to evaluate his performance and prepare him for the upcoming minor league season, wherever he may begin,” Hyde explained.

Hyde didn’t have the opportunity to observe 23-year-old left-hander Cade Povich, who threw two scoreless innings, and 25-year-old right-hander Justin Armbruester, who delivered three shutout innings against Tampa Bay on Monday.

“Povich has spent more time in Triple-A, so we’re interested in assessing him, as well as Armbruester. They’re both starters at the upper level, and we’re hoping they can contribute to our starting rotation depth and potentially become part of the mix down the line. We’re stretching out all our pitchers,” Hyde elaborated.

“Regarding Johnson, we saw glimpses of impressive major league starter potential yesterday. It’s fantastic to witness him return to the mound after such a prolonged absence and perform the way he did.”

Clark Anticipates Increase in Orioles Payroll

Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, believes that the sale of the Orioles from the Angelos family to a group led by David Rubenstein will result in a higher spending budget for the team.

Clark expressed on Tuesday, following the MLBPA’s annual visit to Orioles camp, “The game thrives when teams field their best players. Being in a situation where this team has recently experienced significant success and boasts a promising future, if the aspiration is to be the ultimate victor, there should be opportunities to augment the existing talent pool to propel them to success. We’re optimistic that such opportunities will indeed arise.”

Responding to inquiries about Orioles players being taken aback by the lack of prior notice regarding the sale, Clark stated, “It appears, based on public information, that many individuals were unaware of the impending sale. Ideally, within the organization, news of this magnitude would disseminate internally. However, from what I gather, the element of surprise suggests a deliberate effort to keep the matter under wraps.”

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