Pregame notes on Hunter, Johnson, Strop and more

WASHINGTON - Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Tommy Hunter will likely have an X-ray taken on his right hand today, though the reliever said this morning that it wasn't necessary.

"There's different levels of X-rays. We're at level two," Showalter said.

"Richie (Bancells) said he felt pretty good, all things considered, so I'm hoping we dodged an injury. Not necessarily the ball.

"Richie's pretty upbeat about what he was hoping he would see today, compared to yesterday. He got ice and some anti-inflammatory stuff that they put right on it yesterday."

Hunter fielded Jose Bautista's comebacker with his bare hand yesterday and flipped the ball to first base to end the eighth inning and preserve a one-run lead over the Blue Jays.

"I told him, 'You know, (Alexi) Casilla was playing up the middle there. He had that ball,' " Showalter said. "He said, 'You just react.' He's a little bruised there. I'm hoping it's just a bruise. We'll see."

Showalter wouldn't comment on Jim Johnson's availability today after the right-hander threw 37 pitches yesterday while allowing four runs in the ninth and suffering his fourth blown save in his last five chances. Showalter doesn't want Nationals manager Davey Johnson to know who's able to pitch today.

"Like we do every day, we have a little throwing program," Showalter said. "We're doing it right now. And Rick (Adair) goes around and we sit down about half-hour before the game and see what we've got and what we don't have."

Showalter said Jim Johnson "may have had his best inning the day before. He was filthy. I think that's what was probably frustrating for him yesterday."

Starters Jason Hammel and Kevin Gausman will replace the designated hitters in the Orioles lineup for the next two games because of National League rules. Gausman bats from the left side, which exposes his right arm and leaves Showalter a little nervous.

"We'll make sure we get an elbow pad for Gausman tomorrow," Showalter said. "I think he's more excited about that than pitching. I'm not excited about it."

Reliever Pedro Strop could begin throwing during the homestand that starts Wednesday. He's on the DL with a lower-back strain.

Catcher Taylor Teagarden was still scheduled to play in an extended spring training game today in Sarasota. He's on the disabled list with a dislocated left thumb.

"If Tea gets through today, he could move at a different pace," Showalter said.

The Orioles will visit Walter Reed Army Hospital on Tuesday, as they do every year during a series with the Nats in D.C.

Triple-A Norfolk lists Josh Stinson as today's starter, followed by Jair Jurrjens on Tuesday, Jake Arrieta on Wednesday and Zach Britton on Thursday.

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