Orioles manager Buck Showalter watched from the home dugout at Prince George's Stadium last night as Jim Johnson pitched one inning for Double-A Bowie. Showalter arrived in the fourth inning and got a good seat.
Johnson entered the game in the top of the sixth and served up a home run to Thomas Neal on a high changeup. Johnson retired the other three batters he faced, striking out the last one. He threw 20 pitches after totaling 12 the previous night.
"I felt like I had better release on my fastball tonight," he said after the game. "Some location was better - not great, but better. Curveball was all right. It was all right the other night. Changeup today was a little hard coming out, a little flat, but I wanted to throw it. I wanted to throw it more because that's an important pitch for me. I got what I needed to get accomplished.
"I went into the outing wanting to throw changeups. I wanted to throw a changeup pretty much every at-bat. I didn't execute it and that's what's going to happen. Better it happens here than at the next level."
I talked to Rick VandenHurk a few minutes ago as he sat at his locker. He hasn't pitched since Aug. 12 with Triple-A Norfolk, so he's trying to stay sharp by throwing bullpen sessions and off flat ground. He threw in the 'pen on Friday.
Better to be idle here than busy in the minors, but it would be nice if Showalter could get him in a game. VandenHurk's the long reliever, so he's going through the same thing as Troy Patton. He's just not needed.
Give him an inning so he remembers what it's like to face hitters.