Johnson said he got back to about 120 feet at the team's Minor League Complex in Sarasota, Fla., before he had to stop and get examined by one of the trainers.
"[The trainer] said it looks more like it's the same kind of thing I was dealing with a couple days ago," said Johnson, who was diagnosed with a low-grade tear in his elbow in mid-May and was shut down for four days last week with discomfort.
"It's not nearly as bad [as it was]. So, we're taking the positive out of it."
He was also encouraged that the problem doesn't seem to be the actual ligament, but the muscle around it, and will spend the next week to 10 days doing treatment and strengthening exercises.
"We are going to take a couple more days off this time and get it totally pain-free before we go any further," said Johnson, who remains optimistic that he can avoid Tommy John surgery.
"What's going on now isn't with the ligament, so we aren't looking at surgery, not right now. We are going to try to do as much as we can right now and rule out every possibility," he said. "I think we're on the right track."
Pitching with elbow discomfort since the second game of the season, Johnson went 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA before the Orioles optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk. Johnson got his elbow examined after throwing one inning for the Tides on May 4.