Did everyone enjoy the off-day?
The Orioles flew to Chicago last night, and outfielder Nolan Reimold must have been with them. He wasn't in Double-A Bowie's lineup, which pretty much confirmed that he would be activated from the disabled list before tonight's game.
The trick is making room for him on the 25-man roster.
In any other series, Danny Valencia would be the logical candidate to be optioned. Remove one right-handed DH-type for another, with Reimold also able to replace Nate McLouth in left field. However, the Orioles are tempted to keep Valencia this week because the White Sox are starting three left-handers - John Danks, Hector Santiago and Jose Quintana.
Valencia is in the organization primarily because he hits left-handers. He was supposed to be part of a DH platoon with Wilson Betemit, but he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk and Betemit suffered a Grade 2/3 tear of the PCL in his right knee.
So much for that plan.
Betemit, by the way, has been extremely slow in his recovery. To the point where I wouldn't be surprised if Cuban outfielder Henry Urrutia beats him to Baltimore.
Anyway, does Valencia get optioned today, or is it Kevin Gausman, who currently serves as an extra reliever? Wei-Yin Chen could be activated and rejoin the rotation later this week, but Thursday's starter is listed as TBA.
I'm done predicting. I'm still scarred from the whole "designated off the 25-man roster" fiasco with Jair Jurrjens.
I do know that Jason Hammel is starting tonight for the Orioles, and he hasn't won since May 27 in Washington. He's gone 0-2 with three no-decisions.
Hammel was 0-2 with a 5.34 ERA and 1.256 WHIP in five starts in June. He went 3-1 in May, but he also posted a 6.44 ERA and 1.705 WHIP in five starts.
In his last outing, Hammel held Cleveland to two runs over seven innings, but closer Jim Johnson blew the save. Can't hold that one against him.
In 16 starts this season, Hammel is 7-4 with a 5.09 ERA. He hasn't been as sharp as the 2012 version, and with free agency looming, he would be a prime trade candidate at the non-waiver deadline if the Orioles were sellers.
They're not sellers. They're trying to add pitching, not subtract it. And Hammel has gone six innings or more in six of his last seven starts, the exception being his ejection against the Tigers at Camden Yards. The Orioles need his innings.
Hammel is 1-1 with a 3.65 ERA in seven career games against the White Sox, including three starts. He's 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in four games (two starts) in Chicago.
Adam Dunn is 6-for-15 with three doubles and a home run against Hammel. Paul Konerko is 4-for-11 with two home runs.
Adam Jones will be starting in center field, as usual, and most likely batting fourth. However, he's 1-for-24 against Danks.
That's hard to do.
Brian Roberts is 8-for-22 (.364). J.J. Hardy is 7-for-18 (.389) with four doubles and a home run. Valencia is 4-for-15 with two doubles - in case he remains on the roster.
Chris Davis is 0-for-9 with three strikeouts against Danks, who still may want to proceed with caution.