The Orioles are welcoming back their pitching prospect Steve Johnson who was returned to the organization by the San Francisco Giants. Johnson was selected this fall as part of the Rule 5 draft. In order for Johnson to remain with the Giants, he would have had spent the entire season with their major league club. He has been assigned to the Bowie Baysox and will finish up spring training in the minor league camp.

As bad as I feel for Johnson, I am happy to see him back in the Orioles fold. I’m sure working out with a big club was a phenomenal experience for him, but he is still very much wanted and needed in the Orioles organization. I do find it a bit odd that he is starting the year at Bowie, since he was there last year. That being said, he will have the opportunity to pitch alongside Zach Britton and Chorye Spoone. That will be one good starting rotation.

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In other news, the O’s sent 7 players back down to the minor league camp. The Orioles optioned Brandon Erbe and Troy Patton to Triple-A Norfolk and Luis Lebron and Chorye Spoone to Double-A Bowie, sending all four to minor league camp. Armando Gambino, Chris George and Michael Hinkley were also assigned to minor league camp.

This is no shock to anyone. Patton still has a little work to regain his form and Erbe is still young. I am glad to see that Erbe was promoted this season. He had some amazing performances at Bowie last season. As for Spoone, he can relate to Patton as he is trying to make his comeback following a torn labrum. He spent most of last season rehabbing before making it to Aberdeen in July and then Frederick in August.