Johnson shut down with elbow problem

Johnson shut down with elbow problem

BALTIMORE -- Orioles right-hander Jim Johnson has been shut down with the same right elbow discomfort that has hampered him all season. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said prior to Wednesday's game against Oakland that the plan is to let Johnson rest for three to five days and hope the situation improves, so he can get back up on the mound.

"In speaking to our medical people, right now they think that's the best course of action," MacPhail said.

Johnson, who was diagnosed with a slight tear in his right elbow, had been throwing off a mound with no reported problems last week at the team's Minor League complex in Sarasota, Fla. O's pitching coach Rick Kranitz said the decision to back off on Johnson is more of a precautionary move, and hoped to touch base with the right-hander by telephone on Wednesday night.

Johnson was 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA this season and had allowed 15 hits and four walks over 9 2/3 innings when he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. After tossing one scoreless inning for the Tides, Johnson decided to get his elbow examined. He was diagnosed with a strained ulnar collateral ligament and a "low-grade tear," something he had been pitching with since the second game of the season.

Johnson was initially placed on Norfolk's disabled list May 7, and the expectation was he would be sidelined for eight to 10 weeks if all went well. While this setback could be minor, if Johnson's elbow doesn't improve he could be facing season-ending Tommy John surgery.