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O’s closer Jim Johnson (back) one week behind

Feb 19, 2012, 12:51 PM EDT

jim johnson getty Getty Images

From MASN’s Roch Kubatko comes word that Orioles closer Jim Johnson has been bothered recently by back tightness and is one week behind the other pitchers in big league camp.

But there isn’t much concern about his ability to get back near full health by the start of the season.

Johnson said the condition is “subsiding.” And as a reliever with little need for a major Grapefruit League innings total, he should be able to play catch-up rather easily.

The 28-year-old right-hander posted a cool 2.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 69 appearances last season, striking out 58 batters and issuing only 21 walks in 91 innings. He’ll be saving games for Baltimore this year.

  1. proudlycanadian - Feb 19, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Baltimore had better hope that he is OK. The alternative is Kevin Gregg.

    • borninfellspoint - Feb 19, 2012 at 1:49 PM

      the alternative is anybody BUT Kevin Gregg.

  2. watermelon1 - Feb 19, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Do the Orioles really need a closer? Do we expect them to be in the lead. In many games, especially late in those games?

    • dowhatifeellike - Feb 19, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      I’d argue that a closer is even more important for bad teams than for good teams. Sure, they won’t have as many opportunities, but that makes each opportunity crucial. If you’re a 94 win team and you blow 8 saves, you’ve still had a decent season. If you’re a 77 win team and you blow 8 saves, someone is getting fired.

  3. QuothTheRaven - Feb 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Putting it in writing right here, Jim Johnson will be one of the best closers in baseball this year. He may not lead the league in saves by any means, seeing as how the O’s will probably only win 60 games, but I will bet the car that his ERA and WHIP will be tops among closers barring injury ofcourse. He has the ability to be a quality starter and he has proven that he has nasty stuff, and this will be his first full season in the closers role. He will make for a late round gem in fantasy leagues.

    • proudlycanadian - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:16 PM

      Hello Raven. Are you saying “Nevermore” to Gregg?

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