Orioles pregame: Hammel a possibility for postseason start this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.  -- After throwing a five-inning simulated game in instructional league on Monday morning, Orioles right hander Jason Hammelcould an option to start a postseason game as soon as Saturday.

Hammel, who tweaked his surgically repaired right knee on Sept 11 against the Rays, threw 73 pitches in Monday's sim game and shined through no limitations.


"[Orioles pitching coach] Rick [Adair] is hard to impress and he was impressed with his stuff and his arm strength. That was as good as could be expected. It was smoking too, he said. He got a good sweat going. It's been a while."

Barring no setback Tuesday, Hammel could make his first start in three weeks on Saturday – on regular four days rest -- in a possible American League Division Series game. He would not be available for a AL wild card game on Friday.


Hammel missed eight weeks recovering from arthroscopic surgery in the same knee in mid-July.

Here's what else is going on in the Orioles clubhouse:

-- Right fielder Nick Markakis saw local hand specialist Dr. Brian Schofield and was hoping to get the pins taking out of his left thumb today, but doctors want to keep it in for another week. Markakis will still need to be in a split for another one to two weeks after that.

-- The Orioles received good news on Wilson Betemit (sore right wrist), who also saw Schofield. Betemit was cleared to begin a hitting progression in five to seven days. The Orioles didn't believe Betemit would be able to return this postseason, but it appears he isn't far from returning.

-- Right hander Steve Johnson is day to day with a strained left knee. An MRI on the knee was negative.

-- Showalter has yet to announce a starter for Wednesday's regular season finale. Right hander Miguel Gonzalez will start Tuesday, but Showalter said he had four different options for Wednesday depending on the situation. One would think that right hander Chris Tillman would be saved for any winner-take-all wild-card game.

-- Rookie outfielder L.J. Hoes is in Baltimore taking a couple days off before flying to Florida to participate in instructional league before playing in the Arizona Fall League.

Here are tonight's starting lineups:

Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Jim Thome DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Manny Machado 3B
Wei-Yin Chen LHP

Desmond Jennings LF
B.J. Upton CF
Ben Zobrist SS
Evan Longoria 3B
Jeff Keppinger 1B
Ben Francisco DH
Sam Fuld RF
Ryan Roberts 2B
Chris Gimenez C
Alex Cobb RHP

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