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Orioles notes: Gentry hopeful for quick return; Hardy aiming for this week

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Orioles outfielder Craig Gentry said he's willing to put protection on his fractured right middle finger and return as a pinch runner as soon as possible, provided the hand specialist he sees Sunday allows it.

Gentry, who went on the 10-day disabled list Sunday, suffered the injury Friday night and saw it end a hot month at the plate.

"It's extremely disappointing, you know," Gentry said. "We're in the playoff run, and I was getting to play a lot. I felt like I was playing well, and getting a chance to contribute, and then this happens. It's just really frustrating. ... I can put a guard on this thing and be able to pinch-run, for sure. But that's up to them. I'm definitely willing to do any of that kind of stuff."

Manager Buck Showalter said "if the doctor clears him, we're hoping you'll see him be a pinch runner for us in eight days."

However, the Orioles are light on the speed and defense elements Gentry brings off the bench to the outfield. With Joey Rickard starting Sunday, there were no candidates for defensive replacements or pinch runners on the bench, and Showalter lamented the lack of serviceable options at Triple-A Norfolk.

At Double-A Bowie, outfielder Austin Hays could provide all that plus one of the minors' best bats, but Showalter said that would be premature.

"I think we'd look at all options, but what does he do better than some people that we have in Triple-A or already here?" Showalter said. "You could ask that question about three or four guys. ... I think if you jump a guy's time to the roster before you have to do it, there's some real things that you may regret. It's one of those things you'd rather have happen next spring. As Andy MacPhail used to call it, that's front-office malpractice."

Hays is batting .329 with 31 home runs over two minor league levels this season.

Hardy could be activated this week

Shortstop J.J. Hardy, whose return from a fractured wrist has been delayed by an elbow problem that cropped up during his rehabilitation, said he had a cortisone injection Friday and expects to be back "hopefully soon."

Hardy said he'd throw for the first time since the injection later Sunday, and would hit Monday. Showalter's hope was that Hardy would be available at some point during the three-game series this week against the New York Yankees that starts Monday, and if not, then after Thursday's day off at the latest. If not, they'll likely need to add another infielder.

Before the elbow problem cropped up, Hardy said he was on a good pace for a return.

"I tried to squeeze six weeks of spring training into a week and a half, and spring training for me is always the time to get my shoulder and everything loose," Hardy said. "It usually takes that time for me, so a week and a half, I felt like it was getting better. It was going to be good enough. But this elbow thing kind of came up out of nowhere."

Sisco glad for debut

Catcher Chance Sisco said the opportunity to catch the ninth inning Saturday night and get his major league debut knocked out was "awesome."

"First one, I was definitely excited about it," Sisco said. "It's been a day I've been looking forward to for a long time. I was absolutely excited for it. It was fun. ... I've got to keep reminding myself that it's just baseball and have fun with it."

Sisco caught right-hander Alec Asher, who he's spent time with in Triple-A this year, making things a little more comfortable in the outsized moment.

"He hasn't been there all year, but I do know him and I know the stuff he has, so it definitely made me feel a little more comfortable, that that wasn't something I had to worry about," Sisco said. "I know what pitches he has, and I know what he likes to throw."

Around the horn

Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, and Asher, who allowed a run on two hits in two innings Saturday, was optioned to Bowie. Ynoa has a 5.25 ERA for the Tides. Showalter indicated before the game that anyone sent down would be optioned just to continue to pitch regularly. The Baysox begin the Eastern League playoffs Wednesday. ... Outfielder Seth Smith was credited with a hit on a fifth-inning ball that was initially ruled an error  Saturday night. … Showalter said 2015 first-round pick DJ Stewart has impressed with his solid year at Bowie. Stewart hit two home runs Saturday to give him 21 for the season. He's one stolen base from being the only 20-20 player in Double-A.

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