With O's 'pen taxed, Britton optioned for Johnson

With O's 'pen taxed, Britton optioned for Johnson

With O's 'pen taxed, Britton optioned for Johnson
BALTIMORE -- In the wake of Tuesday's 14-inning game, the Orioles have optioned Zach Britton to Triple-A and will recall Steve Johnson to make his first Major League start on Wednesday in place of Tommy Hunter.

As Tuesday's game wore on and the O's bullpen became thin, Hunter began to warm up in the bottom of the 14th. Although Adam Jones' walk-off single ended the game before Hunter was needed, the team elected to use Johnson for Wednesday's 7:05 p.m. ET start.

Hunter will be available out of the bullpen on Wednesday if the Orioles need a long reliever.

Johnson -- who is the son of MASN broadcaster Dave Johnson -- is 4-8 with a 2.86 ERA in 19 games for Triple-A Norfolk. In 91 1/3 innings he has allowed 66 hits and 31 walks with 86 strikeouts.

Wednesday will mark the beginning of Johnson's third stint in the Majors. He has made one appearance for the O's out of the bullpen this season, throwing two innings and allowing one run -- a homer -- and two walks.

Britton fell to 1-1 with an 8.10 ERA in five starts since making his 2012 debut on July 17 by allowing seven runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks in five-plus innings against the Mariners on Tuesday.

"I felt like I had good stuff, and it was just a matter of battling through it," said Britton. "I tried to do the best I could with what I had, but it's got to be better than that. I understand that. I've got to get back on track and find a way to do it and not get frustrated, because that's not going to help me at all. I just need to come in, focus and get ready to go."

The Orioles may be forced into an additional roster move on Wednesday, as utility player Ryan Flaherty is suffering from acute tonsillitis and could be placed on the disabled list.