Former A's reliever Johnson works out for O's
WASHINGTON -- There are plenty of reasons why Orioles manager Buck Showalter would like Jim Johnson to return to the club. With several teams showing interest in him, Johnson may have more reasons not to make a Baltimore homecoming.
The relief pitcher, who was formally released by the Athletics on Friday, worked out for the O's in Sarasota, Fla., on Monday and spoke to Showalter later in the day.
Showalter said that he and vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette "have painted the picture very bluntly" to Johnson about a potential role within the organization. With the Orioles' bullpen pitching well, there's not an immediate need for Johnson on the big league roster.
"He's got to make the decision. He's earned that right," Showalter said. "People are wanting his services. We'll see. He's very respectful of our situation here and how well our guys are pitching in the bullpen, too. You can never have too many."
Johnson threw for Minor League pitching rehab coordinator Scott McGregor and coordinator of medical services Dave Walker in Sarasota, where Johnson has a home, before he went to work out at another facility.
There's nothing imminent between Baltimore and Johnson, but Showalter expects his former closer to make a decision about his future "sooner rather than later."
The O's dealt Johnson to Oakland during the offseason in exchange for infielder Jemile Weeks and catcher David Freitas. Johnson began the season as the A's closer, and after allowing five runs in his first two outings -- a total of one inning -- he was dropped from the role.
When the Athletics designated him for assignment on July 24, Johnson had a 7.14 ERA and two saves.
"I think the mistake you make is thinking that you've got some magic dust that you sprinkle on him," Showalter said. "There are some very capable people in Oakland, Jimmy being one of them, but I know [pitching coach] Curt Young, I know [manager] Bobby Melvin -- they're really good at what they do. Jimmy's got some work cut out for him, but he's certainly got a good pedigree and a history of having success.
"He's got a tough decision to make, but a good one. He's got people interested in him."