From time to time in baseball, there are injuries where you have to wonder if there's more to it than the official story. The official story is that the Orioles were looking to add Steve Johnson to the roster for bullpen help after it's been hammered lately. Pedro Strop has a lower back strain and is a candidate for the disabled list, so there you go. One reliever to the DL, one reliever onto the roster. It's all very convenient. The move is retroactive to May 24, meaning he'd be eligible to return on June 8.
Has Strop looked like a man with a lower back strain? Not that I know what such a man looks like. He looks like someone whose real problem is he can't find the strike zone. Jim Palmer points it out every time: it's all mechanical, not being able to repeat the delivery, whatever. Oh, sure, you might say that a lower back strain would cause some mechanics issues.
I imagine a little conversation between Dan Duquette and Strop along the lines of something that might have transpired between Eddie Valiant and Roger Rabbit. "Pedro, you've got a back injury," Duquette would say. "I don't," Strop replies. "I do," Duquette insists. "I don't," says Strop. This goes back and forth for some time, until eventually Duquette gets a mischievous look in his eye, "You don't." Strop now says, "I do." And this too goes back and forth for a minute until Strop forcefully insists, "If I say I've got a back injury, then by Joe, I've got a back injury!"
Strop then smashes a plate over his head and shakes hands with Duquette while he has a buzzer pressed into his palm.
You know Strop has been a mess, because you've watched him pitch. How about a 7.13 BB/9 mess? That's bad. Really, really bad. That will get you a 6.11 ERA that you completely deserve, especially since he's been serving up home runs like they're going out of style.
Maybe it's a real injury, maybe it isn't. Conveniently, Strop to the DL means they can get him some time pitching in the minors, as he can go on a rehab assignment when he is ready to resume pitching, and such rehab can last for up to one month. A healthy Strop could not pitch in the minors without being exposed to waivers, as he is out of options.
In the meantime, Johnson joins the bullpen until he is the next winner of roster roulette. The O's need a guy to soak some of the innings the starters are forcing them to soak. Johnson is going to be that guy for a while.