Johnson makes pitch for Orioles' starting plans; Clark thinks sale will lead to higher payroll - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Spring Training

Johnson makes pitch for Orioles’ starting plans; Clark thinks sale will lead to higher payroll

Photo Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel

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SARASOTA, Florida—One of the goals for the Orioles this spring training is to discover additional candidates for starting pitching. On Monday, manager Brandon Hyde finally saw Seth Johnson in action.

Johnson, a 25-year-old right-hander who was obtained from Tampa Bay in August 2022 as part of the trade for Trey Mancini, immediately had Tommy John surgery, and was rehabbing last spring.

Late last season, Johnson pitched in six minor league games across four levels with a 4.35 earned-run average. On Monday, he pitched against the Braves in North Port, tossing two hitless innings while walking a batter.

“I think I executed some good pitches,” Johnson said. “Overall, pretty happy.”

Johnson faced a strong Atlanta lineup, including National League Most Valuable Player Ronald Acuña Jr.

“I was a little amped up. It was my first big league spring training game,” Johnson said. “I get to face one of the best lineups in baseball. That was really fun. When you play against guys at that level, you’ve got to raise your level of performance.”

For the rest of spring training, Johnson said he has to work on “consistency, knowing what all my pitches are going to do and being able to execute the plan every time.”

Hyde recognized the significance of Johnson’s performance.

“Johnson is coming off missing a full year and not pitching at a high level yet,” Hyde said.

Though Johnson is on the 40-man roster, he has pitched only three innings at Double-A Bowie.

“We want to take a look and want to get him ready for the minor league season wherever he starts,” Hyde said.

Hyde didn’t get a chance to see 23-year-old left-hander Cade Povich, who threw two scoreless innings, and 25-year-old right-hander Justin Armbruester, who threw three shutout innings on Monday against Tampa Bay.

“Povich has more Triple-A time, so we’d like to take a look at him as well and Armbruester also. They’re upper-level starters. We’re trying to create starting rotation depth, and hopefully these guys can be a part of that and be in the mix at some point. We’re stretching them all out.

“With Johnson, we saw it yesterday. It’s really impressive major league starter stuff. Great to see him get back on the mound for the first time in a long time and pitch the way he did.’

Clark sees Oriole payroll increase

Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, thinks that the sale of the Orioles from the Angelos family to a group led by David Rubenstein will mean the team will spend more.

“The game is better when teams are putting the best players on the field,” Clark said on Tuesday after the MLBPA was making its annual visit to Orioles camp.

“Being in a world where this team has had a remarkable amount of success as of late and has a very bright future. If the goal is to be the last team standing, there’s going to be an opportunity to add to the talent they already have here to help them get across the finish line. We’re hopeful that that indeed does happen.”

Clark was asked about Oriole players being surprised that there was no advance warning about the sale.

“It would seem based on what I read publicly that not a lot of folks were aware of the sale,” he said. “You would like to think internally for all of those that are a part of the organization that news may make its way there, but at least based on what I’m hearing, the idea that a lot of folks were kind of caught off guard suggests that being kept quiet was purposeful.”

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