Showalter on Hammel, Hardy, Betemit and call-ups (updated)

Orioles starter Scott Feldman won the first battle today with Rockies first baseman Michael Cuddyer, retiring him on a force play to end the top of the first inning.

Cuddyer began the day 7-for-13 with three doubles, two homers and five RBIs lifetime against Feldman.

Manager Buck Showalter provided updates on some injured Orioles before today’s series finale against the Rockies at Camden Yards.

Showalter revealed that Jason Hammel will throw on flat ground Monday and Wednesday before moving to a mound on Friday.

“He told me - I think he was semi-kidding - he said, ‘I could go for you Sunday,’ ” Showalter said. “I think that was when we thought we might have a problem with Frankie (Rodriguez). I think he feels pretty good today.”

Hammel will need a few rehab starts in the minors before the Orioles activate him.

“We can always get a game,” Showalter said. “It depends on how you define a game. We have instructional league. We go from one right on to the other. I’m real hopeful that we have some teams in the playoffs. We can do it. It’ll just be to a different degree.”

Rodriguez told Showalter again today that he could pitch after straining his right groin Friday night.

“It’s like a non-conversation with Frankie,” Showalter said. “You bring it up, he gives you the hands - I got it, I’m good.”

We’ll see. Rodriguez did some light jogging in the outfield today and appeared to be limping as he headed to the dugout.

Showalter explained why he kept shortstop J.J. Hardy out of today’s lineup.

“J.J.’s improved,” Showalter said. “Could probably push the envelope if I wanted to, but I think we’ve got a chance to get him back 100 percent tomorrow. Don’t want to take a chance. He hit a little bit today and ran a little bit.”

Orioles executive Brady Anderson watched Wilson Betemit play last night at Double-A Bowie.

“Saw about three at-bats,” Showalter said. “Said he had a couple good at-bats. Seems to be hitting right-handed... it’s falling a lot. He won’t do a lot of that here.

“I asked Brady, I said ‘Bring him in and DH him tomorrow?’ He said, ‘Not yet.’ Just watching him in between at-bats, you can tell he’s kind of feeling his way a little bit. I don’t see it going much longer than the period we have. We could ask for an extension.”

The Orioles are seeking another bat. Could Betemit be the answer?

“Potentially,” Showalter said. “That’s why we’re going to look from within first. That’s why Brady went over there last night. That’s why Dan (Duquette) watches the tape every day. You want to make sure the answer’s not in your own backyard, something you’re already paying for. We don’t have to trade Bowie anybody for Betemit, so we want to make sure with Wilson.”

The Orioles can expand their roster starting Sept. 1, but they’re in the early stages of sorting through the candidates.

“We haven’t gotten that far,” Showalter said. “There’s a lot of variables there. I don’t think there’s anybody there that we would call up just to look at that couldn’t help us. Try to mesh those two things. Somebody that might fit in the future plans, but also could help us some.

“I have looked at it a little bit. After the game’s over and everybody’s gone, kind of look at the board and seeing where we are, but Dan and I haven’t really compared notes yet. We’ve really got some information yet to be gathered. See how certain people’s health is, see who might benefit more from being, say, in the instructional league as opposed to being here sitting around. There might even be a contractual obligation on a couple about call-ups in order to keep them here. We have to keep that in mind. I think there’s one or two, if I remember right. If they’re still with us.”

Game update: Alexi Casilla drove in his 10th run of the season to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

Casilla’s last RBI came on July 6 in New York.

Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts singled before Casilla stepped to the plate. Roberts is 10-for-21 in his last seven games.

Feldman has retired nine of the first 10 batters he’s faced today. He’s thrown 37 pitches in three innings, including 25 for strikes.

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