BAL@TB: Strop strikes out two in scoreless relief

ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles reliever Pedro Strop threw a scoreless eighth inning in Saturday's 8-0 loss to the Rays, an encouraging sign for the right-hander in his first appearance off the disabled list.

"Everything felt in line," said Strop, who used most of the time he was on the DL with a lower back injury to work on his mechanics with pitching coach Rick Adair. "I felt like I had command of all my pitches. It was a better feeling."

Before hitting the DL, Strop was 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA in 22 appearances for the Orioles, allowing 12 earned runs over 17 2/3 innings pitched. The organization is hopeful he can get back to the form he had in the first half of last season.

"There's a lot of things you work on, and when they're healthy to do it, and if he can just repeat it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Sometimes the emotions get in the way of the mechanics. It was a good first step for him. I know he felt good about it. Was a positive out of the game yesterday.

"It's not like Pete hasn't pitched any good innings out of the bullpen for us this year; it's just he hasn't been as consistent as he was last year. That's a good start. We will see where it takes us."

Johnson receives diagnosis of oblique strain

BAL@NYY: Johnson hurls two scoreless frames of relief

ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles pitcher Steve Johnson has a slight strain in his left oblique, an MRI exam taken Friday revealed. Johnson, who was placed on the disabled list Thursday, is rehabbing at the team's spring facility in Sarasota, Fla.

Johnson first felt the injury while warming up before Wednesday's game, and he had trouble finishing his pitches, surrendering two homers to the Astros. Oblique strains are pesky injuries, and there is no timetable right now for his return.

Also recovering from injury is top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, who will start a throwing program Monday. Manager Buck Showalter said he planned to speak with Bundy, joking that the 20-year-old might be nervous.

"He's been champing at the bit," Showalter said of Bundy, who has been sidelined since Spring Training with right flexor mass tightness, which affects the forearm/elbow area.

Bundy was shut down after being prescribed a platelet-rich plasma injection by Dr. James Andrews last month. The plan for the first day is for Bundy to throw 25 times from 60 feet and progress from there.

Worth noting

• Zach Britton allowed two runs over seven innings for Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday night in what Showalter indicated was his best start of the year. Britton has pitched well his last few outings, with quality starts in three of his last four, and right now he looks like a leading candidate should the Orioles need another starter.

• Triple-A Norfolk's Jair Jurrjens, who missed Saturday's scheduled start because of a right thumb injury, threw Sunday morning from 90 feet. He did not throw any offspeed stuff, just fastballs.

• Showalter is looking forward to seeing Tsuyoshi Wada pitch again Tuesday for Triple-A Norfolk. Wada, who has been on a rehab assignment with Norfolk, is coming off his best outing, and Showalter was hoping he could "carry over the crispness" from Thursday.

Wada, who made his first start May 16, has about a week before the club has to make a decision whether to add him to the active roster. He would have to approve an assignment to the Minor Leagues because of the way his contract is structured.

"I think on the calendar we do [have a week]," Showalter said. "There are other ways to make that work. Be up to him though."