Orioles bring back Steve Johnson on minor-league deal

The Baltimore Orioles have reached an agreement with right-handed reliever Steve Johnson on a minor-league deal, according to Roch Kubatko of MASN. Kubatko also reported that the deal includes an invitation to big league spring training.

The 27-year-old Baltimore native has not pitched in the majors since the 2013 season, after he was sent down to the minors while battling control issues, as he had walked almost a batter per inning pitched during the 2013 campaign. During the 2012-13 seasons, pitched to a 5-1 record and 3.67 ERA, while compiling a 115 ERA+, 3.80 FIP and a 1.259 WHIP in 54 innings pitched over 21 games pitched (five starts).

After his season with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Johnson had to undergo surgery to remove a bone spur that was in his right shoulder. According to Kubatko, Johnson “has been pain-free while playing catch.”

Besides the Orioles, the Toronto Blue JaysPhiladelphia Phillies and the Seattle Mariners had expressed interest in the free-agent right-hander. Johnson is expected to start the 2015 campaign in the bullpen at the minor league level, specifically at the one of Triple-A Norfolk.

Johnson had been limited to thirteen appearances for Triple-A Norfolk last season, as he battled shoulder tendonitis, which led to command issues and a stint on the disabled list. In 38 innings pitched in 2014 at Triple-A, he posted a 7.11 ERA.

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