Baltimore manager Dave Trembley had hinted earlier in the week that he may need to go to that arrangement, and the Orioles made that decision for him by logging two long days in relief. Baltimore used five relievers in Thursday's doubleheader and three more in Friday's 10-5 loss to Tampa Bay, a game that caused Trembley to reevaluate his roster.
Johnson will likely provide an extra relief arm, but he could also be a candidate to start on Monday. Both Steve Trachsel and Adam Loewen pitched in the doubleheader and would need to pitch on short rest to go Monday. Trembley said he wasn't willing to do that with either Trachsel or Loewen, setting up a roster move or a spot start for a reliever.
"There's a possibility on both ends -- it could come on our own staff and it could come as a roster move," Trembley said. "I can tell you that Tuesday will be Trachsel and Wednesday will be Loewen. ... Monday, I'm not sure of."
Trembley acknowledged before the game that reliever Matt Albers could easily make Monday's spot start, but he also said that was pending the results of Friday's game. Albers got up twice in the bullpen but never entered the game, preserving his status as the team's top contingency plan. If not Albers, southpaw Garrett Olson could get the call from Norfolk.
The Orioles have done their best to stockpile pitching depth at the highest levels of the Minor Leagues, and Trembley said he's been paying close attention to the organizational box scores in an attempt to keep himself in the know.
"We'll have to see what direction we're going to go in," he said before Friday's game. "I'm aware of what those guys are doing down there. What we want to make sure of, especially if we're talking about a starting pitcher, is that they've had enough success [down there] that they can have just as much success if they can come up here. I don't think we want to get ourselves to the point where somebody comes up here to start, and they take a step back by not being successful."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.