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Bud Norris will resume throwing Sunday and could rejoin rotation in Tampa

TORONTO — Orioles right-hander Bud Norris, who has been shelved since Wednesday with lingering stiffness in his elbow, will resume throwing Sunday in hopes of returning to the starting rotation next week.

If everything goes well Sunday – when he will play catch and throw long toss – Norris' next step will be a bullpen session Tuesday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. If Norris comes through that well, he could rejoin the rotation Friday or Saturday in Tampa Bay.

If Norris isn’t ready, the Orioles could turn to right-hander Jason Hammel, who filled in for Norris and made his first start since late July on Friday night, allowing three runs in five innings.

"It's a moving target right now because we have to see where we are with Bud," Showalter said. "Until we test that out a little bit. … I can't tell you if he's feeling better, worse or the same because we haven't thrown any with it. … We've got some tentative starters for Boston and we'll see how Hamm and Bud fit into that."

Showalter has Scott Feldman and Wei-Yin Chen starting the first two games against the Red Sox on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. And Monday's off day allows Saturday's starter, Chris Tillman, to work Thursday's series finale on normal rest. Tillman has pitched to a 1.93 ERA in four career starts at Fenway Park.

Throwing Norris – or Hammel – Friday would also allow right-hander Miguel Gonzalez an extra day of rest so he could start Saturday in Tampa Bay.

Norris, who is 4-2 with a 4.67 ERA in nine appearances since the Orioles acquired him in a trade with the Houston Astros on July 31, said he had been dealing with the tightness for the past several starts, but he hoped the issue would be alleviated with rest and that he’d miss just the one start.

Davis happy to have historic ball

Asked about retrieving his 50th home run ball after Friday's game, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis didn't sound optimistic about getting it back, especially in a road ballpark.

But moments later, he was given the ball by Ellicott City resident and Orioles fan Steve Houff, who said he gave a Blue Jays fan $100 for the ball.

"Obviously, it's really cool, the fact that Baltimore fans [got] the ball," Davis said. "It says a lot about our following with all these crazy Blue Jays fans. The fact that some guys from Baltimore were there and the fact that they were willing to give up the ball, I thought that was pretty cool."

Houff, who received an autographed bat and ball from Davis, also received five received tickets right behind the Orioles dugout for the final two games of the series courtesy of the team and Davis.

Clevenger had quite the debut

Baltimore native and Mount St. Joseph grad Steve Clevenger said he received about 50 text messages after Friday night's game, in which he made his Orioles debut.

Clevenger, acquired from the Cubs with Feldman in the deal that sent Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to Chicago on July 2, was called up from Triple-A Norfolk when rosters expanded on Sept. 1. He didn't know he'd get the start Friday — Showalter wanted to give starter Matt Wieters a day off and give Clevenger his first game action since Aug. 30 — until he arrived at the ballpark.

"It was surprising," Clevenger said Saturday. "I really didn't think I was going to start yesterday, but you've got to prepare yourself every day to come in and start."

Clevenger, who grew up in the Pigtown neighborhood and lives in Linthicum, hit a big two-out, two-run double in Friday's seventh inning that tied the game at 3.

"To come home and play for your hometown team, the team you watched growing up, it's just a great experience," Clevenger said, "[as is] being a part of Chris Davis hitting his 50th home run and being a part of a team that's in the wild-card hunt in September."

Around the horn

Heading into Saturday's game, 14 of the Orioles' past 20 games had been decided by two runs or fewer, including seven one-run games. … J.J. Hardy's double Friday night gave the Orioles three players with 25 homers and 25 doubles (Davis and Adam Jones are the others) for the fourth time in club history. Hardy, Jones and Mark Reynolds did it in 2011. … Entering Saturday, Hardy was batting .294/.346/.497 since the All-Star break, posting the second-highest OPS (.843) among major league shortstops behind Hanley Ramirez's .931.

eencina@baltsun.com
twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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