Johnson could return by month's end

Johnson could return by month's end

BALTIMORE -- Orioles reliever Jim Johnson will throw back-to-back rehab outings for Class A Advanced Frederick beginning Friday, and he is thought to be at least a week away from returning.

Johnson, on the 60-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation, tossed two scoreless innings for the Keys on Tuesday night with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail in attendance. He will take the next two days off before throwing consecutive games this weekend, and manager Buck Showalter said the team will evaluate Johnson after that.

"He's not completely back," Showalter said of Johnson, who has admitted to being a little rusty on the hill. "He's not ready to come here yet. So, we will see where we are after those two back-to-backs."

Johnson has been on the shelf since May 28, and while he won't be ready for Tuesday's start of a six-game road trip, there's a possibility Baltimore could activate him for next weekend's three-game set in Anaheim.

Given the length of time Johnson has missed, the O's could also err on the side of caution and hold off until their next homestand, which starts on Aug. 31.