By Paul Taylor
Earlier this week, I had the chance to check out the Norfolk Tides, the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, as they hosted the Louisville Bats, a Cincinnati Reds affiliate. I had a chance to catch up with Steve Johnson after one of the games, a game the Tides would come back from an 8-0 deficit and win 14-8, scoring 11 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning.
Johnson made a couple of rehab appearances with the IronBirds last season. He was recently activated off the Orioles’ Minor League Disabled List, recovering from right shoulder soreness. Tuesday marked his second start since being activated, but unfortunately his shoulder flared up again. He pitched through two innings before being lifted. “It felt good after a while,” he said of his shoulder. “But after my last start, I felt some extra soreness. I was hoping I’d be able to pitch through it and hoping that something would loosen up, and it just never did. It kind of got worse.” Earlier this week, the Orioles placed him back on the Disabled List, due to the shoulder issues.
Johnson also told me about his memories from Aberdeen last season. “It was always a good crowd. I live close by, and I knew several people in the stands when I played there. It’s a pretty special place for guys who are just drafted to come and play professional ball. It’s a pretty special place to play.”
Harbor Park is a terrific setting for baseball, and the Tides certainly put on a good show. If you have a chance to visit Norfolk this summer, make sure Harbor Park is on your to-do list.
Don’t forget that the Orioles have a special promotion for visiting the Orioles’ Minor League Stadiums (Aberdeen, Delmarva, Frederick, Bowie, and Norfolk) called ‘The Birdland Passport.’ Find out more information here: http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/bal/fan_forum/passport.jsp
One month from today, the IronBirds will be playing their fourth game of the season! See you at Ripken Stadium on June 20th for the IronBirds’ home opener against the Brooklyn Cyclones!