For three of the four innings he pitched Friday, right-hander Steve Johnson showed why he remains in consideration to be the Orioles' fifth starter.
The other inning, though, the 25-year-old St. Paul's alum would like to forget.
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In the Orioles' 6-3 road win against a Tampa Bay Rays split squad, Johnson retired the first eight batters he faced before temporarily losing control and walking the bases loaded in the third inning. Rays third baseman Evan Longoria followed with a sinking liner that left fielder Trayvon Robinson couldn't handle, resulting in a three-run double.
Johnson rebounded to set down four of the next five batters and salvage his outing.
"It's just very frustrating," said Johnson, who allowed three runs, two hits and three walks in four innings. "I go from having a pretty decent outing, cruising along, and three batters kind of screw it up."
Johnson is in competition with Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Zach Britton, among others, for the club's final rotation spot. Arrieta threw six scoreless innings on Thursday night, upping the ante for the others. So any struggles from Johnson are noticeable.
"You want to have good outings all the time, and especially now," Johnson said. "It's kind of crunch time. You don't want to have anything happen like this, especially a couple batters in a row."
Orioles manager Buck Showalter somewhat dismissed Johnson's third inning, saying: "Everything was good except that one inning."
"That was uncharacteristic for him. He may do it for a hitter, but he [usually] gets right back in sync," Showalter said. "Yeah, it wasn't good for him, but he's pitched well. Throw that inning out and he was pretty good."
Johnson, who has a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings during spring training, doesn't know when he'll pitch next, but he'd like to get another start to make up for Friday's third inning.
"Hopefully, I get another outing and show that was a fluke," he said.
Schoop leads Orioles to win
The Orioles' top position prospect, Jonathan Schoop, had been away for most of the spring while representing the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic. He returned Wednesday and, on Friday, he led the Orioles to the victory.
The 21-year-old started at shortstop and had a hit in each of his first three at-bats, including a RBI single in the fifth and a two-run home run in the sixth against Rays starter Jeff Niemann. He drove in three runs and scored twice.
"He was excited to play," Showalter said of Schoop. "I walked up to him [Thursday] night in the dugout and I said, 'How many more days do you think you'll need before you'll be ready to play?' And he goes, 'I'm ready to play right now.' … He was good. I'm happy for him."
The Toronto Blue Jays claimed right-hander Todd Redmond, whom the Orioles optioned to Triple-A Norfolk last week, off waivers Friday after the Orioles attempted to take him off their 40-man roster.
Redmond, 27, was 2-0 with a 5.63 ERA in five games this spring with the Orioles. He allowed five earned runs and eight hits with eight strikeouts and four walks in eight innings. The club had claimed him off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds in February.
The Blue Jays sent Redmond, who has appeared in one major league game in his career, to Triple-A Buffalo. The Orioles now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.