Jason Hammel, who has been on the disabled list since July 31 with a flexor mass strain in his right forearm, was activated but likely won’t pitch before Saturday, unless he is needed in an emergency Friday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. He is expected to pitch out of the bullpen, at least initially.
Hammel, the club’s Opening Day starter who has made 21 starts this year (5.20 ERA) said he’ll do whatever is needed. He just wanted to re-join the club.
“It was tough watching the guys on TV,” Hammel said. “I want to be there with them. And be able to go through the ups and downs together. But it is what it is right now. So obviously I know I can help and I just tried to get back as quick as I could.”
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The Orioles also brought up Steve Johnson, who had been pitching at Triple-A Norfolk and then went to the organization’s spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla., to work out and stay ready. He was needed when the club decided to demote lefty Zach Britton to short-season Single-A Aberdeen, which is the organization’s lone affiliate to make the playoffs.
Britton, who lasted just 2 1/3 innings and threw 54 pitches in Wednesday’s loss to the Cleveland Indians, could have stayed with the Orioles, but Showalter said he wanted Britton to quickly get back on the mound – and that wouldn’t have happened in Baltimore. He could possibly start Sunday or Tuesday for the IronBirds.
“He’s eligible to pitch there. That’s another good thing about having clubs in the playoffs,” Showalter said. “I’d like to get that taste out of his mouth, if I could.”
Showalter would not dismiss the possibility of Britton returning to the Orioles this month.
‘We’ll see,” Showalter said. “We could bring him back here or we could send him to Sarasota, either one.”
Catcher Taylor Teagarden, who was designated for assignment on Saturday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. Showalter said Teagarden could return to the Orioles, but there would have to be room created on the 40-man roster for him.
Outfielder Eric Thames, who the Orioles acquired in a minor league trade with the Seattle Mariners earlier this year, was claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros on Thursday. Thames, who was also designated for assignment on Saturday, did not appear in a game for the Orioles.
One other Orioles note: Right fielder Nick Markakis was not in the starting lineup. Markakis went 6-for-36 on the road trip (.167) and was getting a “backoff day.”
“I don’t want him taking batting practice. I don’t want him watching video. I want him to stroll out about game time,” Showalter said. “I want him to have a mental day off.”
Mike Morse starts in right field.