Hammel expected to start Thursday at Bowie

Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel is scheduled to make his first injury-rehab start on Thursday at Double-A Bowie.

The club also discussed Wednesday as a possibility, but Hammel is expected to take the mound Thursday against Binghamton.

The Orioles want Hammel to pitch in two minor league games before activating him from the disabled list and placing him on the expanded roster. He could be used as a reliever in the second game and remain in that role with the Orioles.

Hammel, on the DL since July 29 with a strained right flexor mass, is slated to throw 45-50 pitches in his start with Bowie. He will throw another bullpen session on Sunday before reporting to the Baysox.

Infielder Wilson Betemit's rehab assignment ends on Monday. The Orioles are hoping to extend it until rosters expand, but they would need his consent. Betemit's mobility remains the issue. It's gradually improved, but not to the point where he's running the bases without restrictions.

"The big thing is physically, station-to-station, cutting bases in Bowie was still a little tentative," said manager Buck Showalter. "It seems to get a little better every week."

A reminder that players on the DL remain eligible for the postseason roster, which has to be set on Aug. 31.

Miguel Gonzalez is available in the bullpen for the next two or three days. If he isn't used, he'll start Friday night's game at Yankee Stadium.

Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in five career starts against the Yankees, and 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts in the Bronx, with 25 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings.

Showalter indicated that Kevin Gausman could be recalled before Sept. 1. The Orioles could take advantage of the rules by optioning a pitcher after his start, bringing up Gausman and recalling the pitcher once the minor league season ends. The 10-day minimum requirement no longer applies.

While gradually expanding their roster, the Orioles could send some of their Triple-A players to the instructional league in Sarasota to stay sharp. Pitchers could throw down there and wait for the possible call.

The Orioles have some interesting decisions to make regarding their call-ups. One example is infielder Jonathan Schoop. Should he be rested before the fall league? It's being discussed. There's also no guarantee that outfielder Henry Urrutia will return.

Showalter will be challenged to add non-roster players that he'd like to bring up, including left-hander Mark Hendrickson and outfielders Jason Pridie and Chris Dickerson.

"There's a lot of moving parts," Showalter said. "I'll just be glad when all the dust has settled and they're here. But there also will probably be some guys down in instructional league that we can go get."

The first seven games of this homestand have averaged 3 hours, 24 minutes in duration.

Thirty years ago today, Orioles reliever Tippy Martinez picked off three Toronto Blue Jays in the top of the 10th inning at Memorial Stadium - Barry Bonnell, Dave Collins and Willie Upshaw. Infielder Lenn Sakata was behind the plate.

The starting pitcher that night? Current bullpen coach Scott McGregor.

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