As the struggling Orioles look for any sort of boost to the pitching staff, right-handers Steve Johnson and Jason Hammel are back with the club, the Orioles announced Thursday afternoon.
Hammel, 31, was reinstated from the disabled list, where a forearm injury has had him since late July. He is 7-8 with a 5.20 ERA and 1.51 WHIP this season. Last year, Hammel was one of the more effective pitchers in baseball for much of the first half. He finished 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 2012.
Hammel may initially join the bullpen before being called upon to start. Without demoting anyone, the Orioles have a full rotation right now (Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, Scott Feldman).
Johnson, 26, has been recalled from the minors to join the expanded roster. In 10 appearances for Triple-A Norfolk, Johnson was 2-3 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. He struggled in his time with Baltimore earlier this season -- posting a 7.82 ERA in 12 2/3 innings -- but, like Hammel, was good last season. In 2012, Johnson was 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in 38 1/3 innings.
The Orioles enter Thursday ranked 12 in the AL in ERA, so they're trying to see if either of these guys parties like it's 2012. Something has to be done. The Orioles are 16-22 since having a five-game win streak broken in late July, have fallen to fourth in the AL East and trail the second wild card by four games -- not to mention that the Indians and Yankees are between them and the wild-card Rays.