Hammel completes another bullpen session, and other notes

Jason Hammel threw 60 pitches in the bullpen today and will report to Double-A Bowie for Thursday's game against Binghamton.

"As of right now, everything is good to go," Hammel said.

"I threw an extra inning's worth of pitches today. I probably threw 45 like I did yesterday, and then after that I did some sequences, throwing all pitches to simulated batters, stuff like that."

The Orioles want Hammel to throw 45-50 pitches for Bowie on Thursday and are hoping to get him through three innings.

Hammel is expected to pitch twice in the minors before coming off the disabled list when rosters expand.

The Orioles are off Monday and open a three-game series in Boston the following night. They're expected to activate Wilson Betemit from the 60-day disabled list, since his rehab assignment ends on Monday.

The Orioles wanted to wait until Sept. 1 to activate Betemit, who tore the PCL in his right knee in late March, but that doesn't appear to be an option.

The club has an opening on the 40-man roster, so a corresponding move won't be required.

Betemit still seems to be restricted in his movements.

"He's improved, he's getting there," said manager Buck Showalter. "It's not something that just improves overnight, but it's a lot better than it was when he first started."

The Red Sox are starting left-handers Felix Doubront on Tuesday and Jon Lester on Thursday, which will most likely keep Betemit out of the lineup. You've seen the splits.

The Orioles are starting Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris and Chris Tillman in the three-game series at Fenway Park.

I wrote yesterday about Darren O'Day's splits this season. Left-handers are now batting .325 against him, compared to .159 for right-handers. In O'Day's career, left-handers are batting .252 against him, compared to .201 for right-handers.

"He actually improved a lot with the left-handed hitters over his initial career path, but this year has been a little different," Showalter said.

"When he's right, he can attack both of them. He's got a pitch that he uses, without talking about it, that allows him to defend himself against left-handed hitters. He's done a good job with it at times this year, but I think a lot of it has come in the last month or so. But that's probably some factors, also, out of Darren's control."

The Orioles would like to add at least one left-hander reliever to their bullpen when rosters expand. Mike Belfiore is on the 40-man roster. Mark Hendrickson and Chris Jones are not.

The Orioles will have to put Jones on the 40-man after the season if they want to protect him in the Rule 5 draft. Jones, acquired from the Braves for reliever Luis Ayala, is 3-3 with a 2.81 ERA in 27 games with the Tides.

Left-handers are hitting .174 against Jones in Triple-A this season, compared to .325 by right-handers.

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