SARASOTA, Fla. - Former Orioles pitcher Jason Johnson is in camp and hoping to get a tryout as he attempts a comeback from labrum surgery.
Johnson lives in Tampa, about an hour away from the Ed Smith Stadium complex. He contacted special assistant Brady Anderson, a former teammate, who invited him to camp this morning.
Johnson is getting ready to throw off one of the bullpen mounds. He's hoping that a team will sign him and send him to extended spring training.
The San Francisco Giants worked him out a few weeks ago, but didn't have a spot for him.
Dr. James Andrews repaired a tear in Johnson's right labrum two years ago. Johnson tried to throw a year ago, but he wasn't fully healed.
Johnson spent parts of five seasons with the Orioles and compiled a 34-53 record with a 4.84 ERA in 133 games. He's 56-100 with a 4.99 ERA in 11 major league seasons, the last coming in 2008 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, his eighth team. He appeared in 16 games with the Dodgers and went 1-2 with a 5.22 ERA.
Johnson said his fastball reaches 92 mph. He used to pitch at 93-94 mph, so he's close.
I didn't recognize Johnson initially because he was wearing shades and his hair's longer. He kept looking in my direction, remembering me from my earlier days on the Orioles beat. Finally, it clicked.
OK, it clicked after someone identified him.
Update: Johnson just left the complex. His fastball topped out at 90 mph.
I couldn't tell you the last time I wrote about Johnson before doing it twice in the last two months. I referenced him after news broke that former Orioles outfielder Danny Clyburn was shot and killed in South Carolina. The Orioles traded Clyburn to Tampa Bay for Johnson in March 1999.