Updates on Hunter, Flaherty, Hammel and Thome

Tommy Hunter is expected to start on Sunday against the Royals, taking Zach Britton’s spot in the rotation, unless he’s needed in relief tonight.

Manager Buck Showalter said the Orioles may have kept Britton on the 25-man roster if last night’s game hadn’t gone into extra innings. Once it crept into the 14th, they needed to send him down and bring up Steve Johnson to start tonight and Miguel Socolovich to add depth to the bullpen.

Ryan Flaherty actually was sent home before the last two games because of his illness. We only knew about last night.

Doctors have ruled out mononucleosis, but the tonsillitis has caused severe swelling in his glands. The Orioles have been told that the next 24-48 hours are crucial. He needs to limit his activity and prevent the bacterial infection from getting worse.

Doctors say that Flaherty isn’t contagious. I hope not, considering how long I talked to him yesterday afternoon.

The Orioles want Flaherty to begin a rehab assignment at Single-A Frederick over the weekend or on Monday. He also could play at Double-A Bowie before being activated from the 15-day disabled list.

Flaherty could use the at-bats, no matter his health.

I’ve been the minister of misinformation today. Disregard what I told you in the comments and on Twitter about Flaherty needing to stay on the roster all year as a Rule 5 pick. It only applies to the regular season. He could be removed in the postseason without having to go on waivers or be offered back to the Cubs if the Orioles are still playing in September.

Jason Hammel played catch from 120 feet in Sarasota today without any discomfort in his right knee. He’ll throw off a half-mound before rejoining the Orioles on Saturday.

Hammel could throw off a regular mound soon after reporting to Camden Yards, though no date has been set.

Jim Thome will stay with the Orioles for part of this homestand before returning home to continue receiving treatment on his neck.

According to STATS LLC, the last time any team won 11 or more extra-inning games in a row was the Cleveland Indians (14) between Aug. 7, 1994-Sept. 30, 1995.

The record is 21 straight by the Pittsburgh Pirates between June 8, 1959-July 1, 1960.

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