Baltimore Orioles

Jason Hammel could return for postseason even if he doesn't pitch in final week

Right-hander Jason Hammel, shelved the past two weeks after tweaking his right knee, came out of his first bullpen session off a mound with no pain and remains a possibility to return this season.

Hammel threw 35 pitches Tuesday, the first time he threw off a mound since limping off the mound and leaving in the fourth inning of the Orioles' Sept. 11 game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

On Wednesday, Hammel said the knee felt good. "I see it as a success," he said.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Hammel could be a possibility for the postseason roster — even if he's unable to make a start before then.

"In a perfect world [you'd like to], but it's not always that way," Showalter said. "He's not that far removed from a couple starts. It would be different if it had been 2-3 months."

Hammel felt pain in the knee in just his second start after returning from arthroscopic surgery in mid-July, a procedure that cost him nearly eight weeks.

With six games left, it's still uncertain whether there's enough time for Hammel to make a regular season start. Showalter said his next step would likely be either another bullpen session or a simulated game. If it is a sim game, his next step would likely be a start.

Hammel, acquired in February in the trade that sent Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado, emerged as the Orioles' best starter early in the season, winning eight of his first 10 decisions before his knee began to bother him.

He appeared to have regained his early season form in his first start off the DL on Sept. 6, holding the New York Yankees to one run on six hits over five innings.

Around the horn

Outfielder L.J. Hoes is scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League, which opens play Oct. 9, so the Orioles are considering whether to send him to instructional league to prepare for the fall season instead of keeping him with the big league team. … Showalter said he wasn't ready to announce the starting pitchers for this weekend's series against the Boston Red Sox, only saying that right-hander Chris Tillman will be one of the starters. … Catcher Ronny Paulino, who had been working out in Sarasota, has left to work out with Licey of the Dominican League.