By Eduardo A. Encina, The Baltimore Sun
9:23 PM EDT, August 27, 2012
Orioles infielder Wilson Betemit, who has been out of action for two weeks with an injured right wrist, could rejoin the team for this weekend's series against the Yankees in New York, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Betemit participated in batting practice before Monday's game, testing his wrist against live pitching for the first time since the injury.
"I want to see because I didn't get a chance to hit outside in Florida," Betemit said. "They said [Monday] , to see how it feels."
Betemit, who arrived from Sarasota — where he was hitting off a tee — Sunday in order to beat Tropical Storm Isaac's arrival, is scheduled to participate in batting practice in Baltimore again on Tuesday and could begin a minor league rehab assignment as early as Wednesday. Showalter said he could join the Orioles on Saturday in the Bronx.
"[Betemit would] play at least two days and activate him on [Saturday] at the earliest," Showalter said.
Before suffering torn cartilage and a bone bruise in his right wrist, Betemit had hit safely in his past 11 starts, going 16-for-42 in that span. His .306 average against right-handed pitching leads the team, but Manny Machado's arrival to play third base has created a pinch for playing time.
Betemit last played in a game on August 11 and was placed on the disabled list on August 16.
Right-hander Jason Hammel, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in mid-July, took another step toward returning by the end of next week.
Hammel threw roughly 60 pitches in a three-plus inning simulated game on Monday afternoon. If he feels well Tuesday, he will pitch his first minor-league rehab game on Saturday, likely for Class-A Frederick. Showalter said he will be limited to five innings.
If he comes out of that start OK, Hammel would be an option to make his first start off the DL on Sept. 6 against the Yankees at Camden Yards.
"There's a different level of intensity that you can never mask," Showalter said, "that you can never simulate pitching in a major league game unless you're pitching in a major league game. There are just things that you can get in a game that you can't get in a sim game. … He's been out of this for a while."
Showalter said he spoke with newly acquired left-hander Joe Saunders and told him he would make his Orioles debut either Wednesday or Thursday. Saunders hadn't arrived in Baltimore by game time on Monday, but Showalter said he is expected to be in uniform for Tuesday's game.
Chris Tillman, who was scheduled to pitch Sunday's rained-out game, will pitch Tuesday.
Showalter also said that left-hander Zach Britton will likely pitch on the day that Saunders doesn't. That leaves Miguel Gonzalez, who last pitched last Monday in Texas, and Steve Johnson, who beat the Blue Jays on Saturday, as options for Friday's opener at Yankee Stadium.
"I think our guys understand the position we're in and how this, this is something we've talked about, and how we're going to go forward with the 30-odd games we have left," Showalter said.Around the horn
Former left-handed reliever J.C. Romero opted for free agency after he was designated for assignment on Friday. … Center fielder Adam Jones entered Monday's game homerless in his last 104 at bats, the longest drought of the season and four at bats shy of the longest homerless stretch of his career. … Over their last 162 games, the Orioles have a 89-73 record, 16 games above .500. … Showalter evened his record as Orioles manager to .500 (173-173) with the win. … Top-pitching prospect Dylan Bundy, whose start at Double-A Bowie on Sunday was rained out, will now start on Tuesday.
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