News and notes on Wolf, Thome, Patton, Hammel, the rotation (updated)

"There are no Cinderellas in baseball. Those pumpkins don't play in this league." - Orioles manager Buck Showalter

Veteran left-hander Randy Wolf is headed to Baltimore and is expected to throw here before signing a contract. The Athletics were among the teams that held serious interest in Wolf, but the Orioles apparently have won out.

Wolf could pitch in relief or be used as a starter, Showalter said. It sounds like Wolf will be a bullpen guy unless a starter goes down with an injury.

"There was competition for him," Showalter said. "Right now, he finds us as a place he'd be interested in."

Designated hitter Jim Thome, on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his neck, has been cleared to swing a bat in a few days. Thome didn't get a second epidural, though it had been discussed as a possibility.

Left-hander Troy Patton did some pool running today and could throw for the first time Thursday as he makes a slow recovery from a sprained right ankle. The Orioles won't have a timetable for his possible return until seeing how he progresses this week.

Jason Hammel is still scheduled to start Saturday at Single-A Frederick after throwing a bullpen session here on Thursday. He'll be limited to 70-75 pitches with the Keys.

If Hammel's knee responds favorably, he'll throw a bullpen session in Toronto and the club will decide whether to activate him for a Sept. 6 start or assign him to Double-A Bowie, assuming the Baysox are in the Eastern League playoffs.

Left-hander Joe Saunders will make his Orioles debut Wednesday, followed by lefty Zach Britton on Thursday. Miguel Gonzalez will start Friday unless he's needed in relief in the next few days. Steve Johnson "could fit in, too," if the Orioles need another starter, Showalter said.

Gonzalez hasn't pitched since Aug. 20. He's rested.

Infielder Wilson Betemit will play at Bowie the next two nights, facing right- and left-handed starters. He could play first base, third base or serve as the designated hitter.

For the White Sox:
Dewayne Wise CF
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Adam Dunn DH
Paul Konerko 1B
Alex Rios RF
A.J. Pierzynski C
Dayan Viciedo LF
Alexei Ramirez SS
Gordon Beckham 2B

Chris Sale LHP

Update: Showalter said the Orioles will take it "one step at a time" with Wolf "and get him here."

"I know there was some competition for his services and he's coveted, and right now he finds us a place that he would be interested in. And I don't have to remind anybody that that hasn't always been the case.

"We're going to take a look at it. We all know what September brings. It's very hard to acquire players after Sept. 1. And we're going to continue to try and be proactive. Knock on wood, you're two line drives off an elbow or shoulder from scuffling for starters again, so you're better off covering your you-know-what as much as you can."

Jake Arrieta is scheduled to start Wednesday for Triple-A Norfolk.

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