More cuts coming, Johnson on Johnson (updated)

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles lost to the Pirates today, 11-5, but nobody sang "We Are Family." The day wasn't a total bust.

The Orioles will make two or three more cuts later this afternoon.

"Nothing earth-shattering," manager Buck Showalter said. "Just another note. Nobody that would surprise you."

Alfredo Simon's schedule is being altered a bit because of some groin tightness.

Kevin Gregg hasn't pitched since Sunday's B game, but manager Buck Showalter said it isn't a health issue.

Here's Jim Johnson talking about his first spring outing today:

"It felt nice to get back out there. That's about it," he said.

Was he rusty?

"Yeah, a little bit, but whatever," he said. "It was the first real game action I've had, so it was good. Arm didn't hurt, back didn't hurt. That's a positive. The results were obviously not too good, but that's what we're here for."

Johnson will take off two days and pitch again on Saturday.

"Right now, everything is feeling good," he said. "It's really trying to get that explosive feeling back. Right now, everything feels fine. Like I told Rick, it feels like I'm kind of pitching underwater. Kind of a slow motion. It's not really that fast-twich stuff yet, but that will come for sure."

Johnson eventually will pitch in back-to-back games, which will be another hurdle to clear.

"Back-to-back is important. That will probably be one of the last progressions," he said.

Showalter was glad to have Nick Markakis back in the lineup. Markakis didn't get to run the bases, but there were some subtle tests that he passed.

"He kind of looked over in the dugout when he walked, but he needs to be out there," Showalter said. "I thought little things, like the short wild pitch that the catcher blocked where he started and stopped. I asked him about it and he said it felt good.

"It will be a process. I'm sure that's a big step for him today, just to get out there. The trainers and Nick have done a great job. I've seen all the work they've done with the rehab to get back to this point. That's a good start for us."

Update: The Orioles announced they have optioned first baseman Joe Mahoney to Triple-A Norfolk. Perhaps they're only making one move today.

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