TORONTO -- Orioles pitcher David Hernandez isn't going to lie -- the long-relief role he finds himself in isn't ideal.

"If you are the long man, you come in when the game's out of hand, either you are up by a bunch of runs or you are down by a bunch of runs," he said. "It doesn't really feel like something that I would want to do, but if that's what [the Orioles] want me to do, you can't say no."

Hernandez, who was taken out of the starting rotation and moved to the bullpen on Tuesday, said he understands the organization's approach to ease him into a relief role. He just hopes he can pitch his way to more of a late-inning role.

"At this point, I don't want to be considered a long man," Hernandez said. "I want the ball in tough situations with the game on the line."

"Hopefully sometime in the future I get a chance to do something else."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley didn't rule out the option of using Hernandez in more pressurized scenarios down the road, but the intent right now is to utilize Hernandez as a long man given his lack of experience in relief and the endurance he has built up from starting.

Hernandez made his debut out of the 'pen in Friday's 5-0 loss to Toronto, pitching two scoreless innings following starter Kevin Millwood. A power pitcher, Hernandez (1-5) struck out three and allowed two hits in the 30-pitch outing, lowering his ERA to 5.08.

"He had good command of his fastball," Trembley said. "He looked comfortable, he threw strikes [and he] needed to pitch. We'll see how he does next time."

For Hernandez, getting the first outing out of the way helped quell any nerves and building anticipation. He said he had ample time to warm up on Friday and didn't have to worry about pitch count or pacing himself. Instead, he simply attacked the strike zone with a fastball that topped out at 95 mph.

"Coming out of the bullpen, you don't really have to worry about setting up hitters, because most of the time you are going to see them once," Hernandez said. "Especially if they haven't seen you for the whole game -- your stuff can kind of sneak up on them."

Johnson transferred to big league DL

TORONTO -- The Orioles transferred setup man Jim Johnson (right elbow inflammation) from the Minor League disabled list to the 15-day Major League disabled list.

The move was made official Friday and is basically just a paper transaction that allows Johnson to retain a portion of his Major League salary while rehabbing.

"There was some evidence to suggest his injury may have occurred as early as Opening Day, despite the fact he claimed he was fine to pitch," president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said in an e-mail message on Saturday. "We jointly agreed to allow the optional assignment to stand and place him on the [Major League] DL, effective [Friday]."

The right-hander was 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA this season and had allowed 15 hits and four walks over 9 2/3 innings when he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. After tossing one scoreless inning for the Tides, Johnson decided to get his elbow examined, and was diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and a "low-grade tear," something he had been pitching with since the second game of the season.

Johnson is expected to be sidelined for eight to 10 weeks, but if his elbow doesn't improve he could face season-ending Tommy John surgery. He is currently at the team's Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla., where he is on a conditioning program and has not started throwing.

O's encouraged by Roberts' workout

TORONTO -- Brian Roberts took live batting practice from both sides of the plate Saturday at the Orioles' Minor League complex in Sarasota, Fla. Roberts also fielded approximately 50 ground balls from second base, and all reports came back positive.

"I think we all are [pleased]," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said of the report. "[Extended Spring Training coordinator] Gary Kendall made it a point to call me. I think we're all encouraged. Brian was excited. [Sunday] is an off-day in extended, but he asked if there could be a couple of coaches [there] so he can work out again.

"It's a good sign."

Roberts has been slowly working his way back into baseball-related activities and flew to Florida, along with relievers Alfredo Simon and Koji Uehara, to progress further in rehabbing the herniated disc in his lower back. The Orioles' leadoff hitter, Roberts is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on June 9, although he -- and Trembley -- have acknowledged that he will likely need more time.

Wieters celebrates one year in big leagues

TORONTO -- A year removed from arguably the most hyped debut in franchise history, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters spent his big league anniversary in a quiet manner, enjoying a rare day off during the second game of a three-game set against Toronto.

"It was definitely a fast year, but when you're up here every day, you realize how hard it is to stay at this level and how much you have to put into it," Wieters said. "I came up with some guys last year who were up and down, and you see how hard you to have to work to stay up here."

The backstop, who recently turned 24, has made significant strides defensively this season, taking charge of an Orioles pitching staff that has turned out 24 quality starts in its first 49 games.

"His timing has been better [behind the plate]," manager Dave Trembley said. "[In terms of] when to make trips, when to speed the game up, when to slow it down.

Offensively, Wieters -- like most of the Orioles' lineup -- has struggled to get in a groove, batting .255 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 46 games. While Trembley still envisions Wieters' switch-hitting bat as a middle-of-the-order type, Wieters said he isn't concerned about his power numbers just yet.

"Right now, I just want to learn to be a good hitter first -- get on base, hit for a good average, and then the power numbers will come," he said.

"I'm not disappointed. I came in not knowing what to expect. You can hit .350 in the Minor Leagues, but it's not going to be the same [in the Majors]. It's a little different when you are here for the first time."