Showalter talks about Wolf and Ford (Hammel update)

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis has a new cast on his left hand and is still expected to have the pins removed from his thumb while the Orioles are in Tampa Oct. 1-3. The cast will be replaced by a splint.

Today’s pregame media session was dominated by injury news and updates, beginning with pitcher Randy Wolf, who’s experiencing discomfort in his surgically repaired left elbow and will be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Appointments with Yocum and Dr. James Andrews rarely lead to good news.

Yocum is familiar with Wolf’s elbow, having performed ligament-reconstructive surgery on it, and that’s why he’s being brought into the discussions.

“He’s the one guy who’s seen inside of (Wolf’s) elbow and knew exactly what he had to do last time, and he’s able to look at these pictures and see where it is compared to where it was there,” said manager Buck Showalter. “This is about, not just this season, but from Randy’s standpoint, the rest of his career.

“We’ll see what direction we’re going to go. There are two or three options there. Randy still has some questions he wants to ask Dr. (John) Wilckens and Dr. Yocum before he and we make a definitive decision about his availability for the rest of the year.

Wolf seemed despondent earlier today and Showalter didn’t offer much encouragement while remaining somewhat vague about the issue. He didn’t rule out Wolf pitching again this season - that would be one option - but the club is preparing for the worst.

“He’s having a blast here, contributing to a team trying to compete to get in the playoffs, and anything that may cast a shadow of doubt over whether he’d be able to continue to do that is emotional for all of us,” Showalter said.

“Randy’s a pro. He’s been a contributor for a long time at a high level of pitching, and has been here, too. But it wasn’t like one pitch or something. His last inning (Saturday), he reached back for a curveball and felt some things that were a little different than normal discomfort that pitchers feel. It’s not a normal thing to do to jerk your arm down violently 100 times. This was a little different and that’s why he wanted to get it looked at and we wanted him to get it looked at.”

Wolf is 2-0 with a 5.28 ERA in five games with the Orioles, including two starts. He went 3-10 with a 5.69 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) with the Brewers before they released him.

Lew Ford has a sore left groin and is sitting out against a left-handed starter, Aaron Laffey, which puts Steve Tolleson in the lineup as the Orioles’ designated hitter.

“I’m not going to tell you about his availability and what he could do and couldn’t do, but I didn’t think it was in his best health interest to start the game today or yesterday,” Showalter said.

Update: Jason Hammel threw 35 pitches in a regular bullpen session today and seemed encouraged by the results.

Hammel thought he would “hit a wall” around 20 pitches, but he still felt strong at the end.

“I was actually surprised,” he said. “The last few pitches I felt weakness and a little discomfort, but it was a step in the right direction.”

Hammel, who’s wearing a new brace on his right knee, said he tried to throw a few pitches with maximum effort, but “I’m definitely not 100 percent.”

Asked if he’s more encouraged now that he could pitch again in the regular season, Hammel replied, “I really don’t know. I’d like to be, obviously. That’s the game plan, but it really depends on how it reacts tomorrow. It feels great right now and I could come back and it could be really sore tomorrow. But I’m definitely encouraged.

“I didn’t want to set my expectations too high last night, but I really was encouraged.

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