5/22/2013 12:30 A.M. ET
Johnson appreciates Showalter's patience
By Brittany Ghiroli and Derek Wetmore / MLB.com
BALTIMORE -- Orioles closer Jim Johnson, who blew his third consecutive save in Monday night's 6-4 loss to the Yankees, was hoping to get an immediate chance for redemption. A save situation did not arise on Tuesday against New York, but manager Buck Showalter showed faith in Johnson regardless, using the righty for the 10th inning of a tied game that was won by Baltimore, 3-2, in the bottom of the 10th.
"He's not going to sugarcoat it," Johnson said of Showalter's public and private support for him. "If he felt like he needed to do something, he would do it. But we are not at that point. He trusts me, and I trust him. We use that word a lot around here, trust. We hold each other accountable, and that's just the way this works."
Johnson, who saw a stretch of 35 consecutive converted saves snapped on May 10, entered Tuesday having allowed eight earned runs over his last three games (2 1/3 innings). In the process, the All-Star closer looked nothing like the shut-down reliever who led the Majors with 51 saves last year. Or did he?
"It's never as bad as you think it is, and you are never going as good as you think you are," Johnson said. "There were times last year I pitched terribly and somehow ended up getting the save. But nobody talked about that because they don't see it. Actually, there is one person that saw it -- it was [Hall of Famer and O's broadcaster Jim] Palmer. He called me out on it, and I knew he was right. It's just the way the game works.
"I feel like being consistent in this game is having a good work ethic. I think I have a good work ethic, and the results will come."
Johnson has watched video of all three of his blown saves and has been working on making a few adjustments that he hopes will get his command back on track. And while Showalter has stuck by his closer, Orioles fans have been divided over whether the 29-year-old should continue to hold ninth-inning duties. Johnson said on Tuesday that he doesn't pay attention to that type of speculation, but he did have high praise for the home crowd.
"I think our fans are a little bit smarter than most, honestly," Johnson said. "They understand the game a little bit better than I've seen at other ballparks. They understand it's not that easy. They are fans, and they want us to win -- there's nothing wrong with that. That's part of being a fan, [and] enjoying the game."
O's opt to DH Jones to rest sore right leg
BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter penciled in Adam Jones as the designated hitter against the Yankees on Tuesday night, adding that the center fielder is dealing with some soreness in his right leg.
"To be frank with you, he felt some soreness late in [Monday's] game," Showalter said. "I didn't like the way he described it."
In the ninth inning of Monday's 6-4 loss to New York, Jones reached on an infield single and stole second base. But as Chris Davis struck out to end the inning, Jones showed signs of discomfort in his right leg. Jones bent over in apparent pain and tested the leg while walking gingerly out to his post in center field for the top of the 10th inning.
"I'm good, man -- just been running a lot," said Jones, who played in all 162 of the O's games last year. "I've just got to make sure my legs stay in shape because if they are not, playing center field would be a lot more difficult."
Showalter said Jones felt better on Tuesday and that the star outfielder would prefer to play center field, "but I'll wear it," Showalter said.
Jones demurred when asked if Tuesday's partial day off would be good for him.
"Sort of, but I don't like DHing," Jones said. "I like to be in center field -- that's just me. But [Showalter] wants to keep our legs fresh, I'm sure. [Right fielder Nick] Markakis DH'd in Minnesota, and he just wants to keep our legs fresh, so he puts us at DH."
O's option Jurrjens as Gonzalez returns
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles optioned right-hander Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday, opting to keep Jake Arrieta to add some length to their bullpen on the night right-hander Miguel Gonzalez made his first start off the disabled list.
Manager Buck Showalter said he was trying to give lefty long man T.J. McFarland one more day off, and before sources indicated that the club is leaning toward starting No. 2 prospect Kevin Gausman at Toronto on Thursday, both Arrieta and McFarland were options to make that start, which would have been Jurrjens' turn.
Arrieta has been a starter all year -- for the Orioles and at Triple-A Norfolk -- although Showalter said he could throw between 75 and 90 pitches if the team chooses another starter on Thursday. Arrieta, who has had a nearly two-week layoff from pitching in a game, is 1-2 with a 7.31 ERA in three starts at Toronto, and the O's organization has been impressed with McFarland, a Rule 5 pick this past offseason. There has always been talk of giving a start to McFarland -- a starter his entire Minor League career -- and the rotation's recent struggles have made that more of a possibility.
As Showalter said, the deciding factor will be how the Orioles get through their games on Tuesday and Wednesday physically and whether one or both guys would be needed before Thursday's game. In Tuesday's win -- a 3-2 victory over the Yankees that took 10 innings -- Tommy Hunter and Jim Johnson were the only relievers to pitch.
Jurrjens, who made just one start for the Orioles, on Saturday, politely declined to speak to the media, and his opt-out clause is dissolved given that he's on the 40-man roster. He will remain a starter at Norfolk and is eligible to be recalled after spending 10 days in the Minor Leagues, unless an injury scenario arises, in which case he could come up sooner.
"Some people didn't think he would get that [one start] this year," Showalter said of Jurrjens, who allowed four earned runs over five innings to Tampa Bay and has seen his career get derailed by a knee injury. "I think he knows he's shown ... our guys where we're going when there's a need. We hope not, but I'm sure there will be another need this year."
Bumbry, Norton to assist O's during Draft
BALTIMORE -- On Tuesday, Major League Baseball announced each team's representatives for next month's First-Year Player Draft.
Al Bumbry and Tripp Norton will serve as the Orioles' representatives.
Bumbry, an outfielder, won the American League Rookie of the Year Award with the O's in 1973 and made the AL All-Star team in 1980.
Norton is the organization's director of baseball administration. He negotiates Major League player contracts and oversees baseball-operations budgeting. He previously served 12 years as the club's assistant director of player development.
The 2013 First-Year Player Draft will take place from June 6-8, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 6, at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 73 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. Rounds 3-10 will be streamed live on MLB.com on June 7, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m., and rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on June 8, starting at 1 p.m.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
• Nolan Reimold, sidelined with a right hamstring strain, could travel with the club to Toronto, Showalter said. That decision could be made on Tuesday. Reimold would likely still need at-bats at an affiliate before being activated.
• Taylor Teagarden (dislocated left thumb) is four or five days away from possibly playing in extended spring games, Showalter said. He'll catch a couple of bullpen sessions first, but he may play in a game in Sarasota, Fla., as early as next Monday.
• Catcher Matt Wieters turned 27 on Tuesday.
• Former World Series of Poker main event champion Greg Merson threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Tuesday's game. Merson, a Maryland native, won the main event in 2012 while wearing his Orioles jersey.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.