03/27/2013 8:55 PM ET
O's prospect Johnson shut down with lat strain
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles pitcher Steve Johnson has been shut down with a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle and he could potentially start the season on the disabled list.
Johnson, the Orioles' No. 14 prospect, is not expected to pitch again this spring, and he said prior to Wednesday night's game that the issue first crept up in the bullpen session he threw in advance of Friday's start.
"I tried throwing [Tuesday]," Johnson said. "Tried taking a couple days off and rest and see how it felt and try to get back into things, but whatever's there is still bothering me. Just taking it day by day and see what happens."
Given how late it is in camp, the injury means Johnson won't head north with the Orioles, although it remains to be seen whether he would stay in Sarasota and rehab.
"Let's just see the next couple days," manager Buck Showalter said of Johnson. "We are going to all sit down after [batting practice] and see where we are."
Johnson was supposed to start on Thursday, and now it will be a combination of a couple different guys, probably some from Minor League camp. The 25-year-old righty said if this were the regular season he could pitch, but the team wants to get in front of the injury, so it's not an issue that creeps back up.
"Hopefully it's a short period of time," Johnson said. "I don't want to miss any time, so as soon as I can get back to throwing without feeling anything, I'm going to try to get back as quick as possible."
Jurrjens exits early after getting hit by comebacker
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles starter Jair Jurrjens exited in the second inning of Wednesday night's game against the Yankees after being struck with a comebacker off the bat of Thomas Neal.
Jurrjens is day to day with a rib contusion on his right side and he will get a precautionary X-ray Thursday morning.
"I tried to come back and tried to catch it," Jurrjens said. "It was just hit so hard. Forget it.
"I'm just happy, thank God, that so far it's not serious. I hope when I get the X-ray everything will be fine. I'm just going to play it day by day and see how it goes."
Jurrjens, who walked off with the help of head athletic trainer Richie Bancells, threw 21 pitches before exiting and admitted it was "pointless" to discuss his abbreviated outing, given that he didn't even get a chance to throw all his pitches. He allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk, facing seven batters and recording three outs.
"I would have loved to seen him pitch deeper," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who didn't rule out the possibility of Jurrjens pitching again later this week.
It wasn't exactly the impression Jurrjens -- who has an outside shot at making the Opening Day rotation -- wanted to leave with his new organization in his final spring start.
"Yeah, that [stinks]," said Jurrjens, who made his first spring start since Feb. 28. "I finally got a start again and I wasn't able to go deep in the game because I got hit, but whatever.
"I'm happy [with my spring]. Last year, I wasn't even close at this point. Now I feel strong and I'm getting better and better, and that's motivation to keep pushing and keep working and just keep getting better."
Jurrjens entered the game 1-1 with a 4.61 spring ERA and was replaced by right-hander Tommy Hunter.
Gausman among three sent to Minor League camp
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles reassigned pitcher Kevin Gausman, first baseman Travis Ishikawa and catcher Chris Robinson prior to Wednesday's game, with Gausman -- one of the organization's top pitching prospects -- expected to start the season at Double-A.
Gausman, who allowed three runs over 3 2/3 innings in Tuesday's start against the Twins, pitched to a 3.94 ERA in seven spring games, lasting until the final week of Spring Training. The long look, particularly when the Orioles sent fellow top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy down on March 16, was a surprise even for Gausman.
"I've learned a lot," Gausman said Tuesday of his experience in camp. "Probably learned more in my [bullpen sessions] and things like that than the games. Things happen in the game that you can't really control. But I've learned so much, pounding the strike zone, keeping guys off balance -- guys at this level, you can make great pitches and they are going to hit doubles. So, not much you can do about that.
"It was fun to be around, a fun group of guys. I would say most of these guys are pretty young, and that's why it was so much fun to be around them. You don't get any guys who have huge heads or don't want to talk to you because you are the rookie. It's been awesome on the field. It's been fun to just face guys that I watched on TV last year, and having some success against them is definitely good going forward."
Gausman and Bundy, the top two prospects in the organization -- could be in the big leagues at some point this season. Bundy is also expected to start the season at Double-A.
Ishikawa, signed to a Minor League deal this winter, hit .265/.324/.294 in 25 spring games and is expected to be the first baseman at Triple-A Norfolk. Robinson had 11 spring at-bats with the big club and hit .364 in 10 games.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.