Healthy Johnson a relief to Orioles
Tightness in arm not an issue for right-handed setup man
ST. PETERSBURG -- Setup man Jim Johnson played catch prior to Thursday's game and pronounced himself good to go for the series finale.
"Everything felt fine, my arm felt good," Johnson said. "I'll be in there."
Johnson pitched two-thirds of an inning in Thursday's 5-4 win, allowing one run on two hits.
Johnson told manager Dave Trembley prior to Wednesday's game that he had some tightness in his right arm, and he was unavailable out of the bullpen in the team's 4-3 loss.
Johnson first experienced the sensation when throwing the first pitch to Carlos Pena in the eighth inning of Tuesday's game. After consulting with head athletic trainer Richard Bancells, Johnson said the prognosis was a slight muscle strain.
"It's something I haven't really had before," he said. "It's just muscular, nothing with a ligament. The meds and ice worked, [it was] pretty much Advil and ice. So we're good."
Having a healthy Johnson is certainly a sigh of relief for the Orioles. With Koji Uehara on the 15-day disabled list (left hamstring strain) and the shaky performance of closer Mike Gonzalez, who took the blown save in Tuesday's loss and then was forced to work out of a jam on Thursday, Johnson's presence is critical to the O's bullpen.
"J.J.'s fine," Trembley said. "He came in [from throwing] and told me he's ready."
Pie taking things day by day
ST. PETERSBURG -- Left fielder Felix Pie said that his left shoulder -- he sustained a rotator cuff strain in Tuesday's loss -- felt much better than it did on Wednesday, though he won't try to throw until Friday.
"I have to make my shoulder right," said Pie, who battled mild shoulder tendinitis this spring. "I don't want bad things to happen in the end of the season."
Manager Dave Trembley echoed the sentiment that Pie has improved, but wasn't sure what that means for Friday, which is the Orioles' home opener. Nolan Reimold started in left field on Wednesday night, but is still slowed by his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon. Luke Scott started on Thursday.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.