Orioles pregame notes: Hammel will be activated and pitch Thursday

TORONTO -- The Orioles are just one game out of first place in the AL East, and they'll be rooting for the Rays to beat the Yankees tonight to give them a change to have a share of first place for the first time since June 7.

The Orioles can also claim a series win in Toronto with a victory tonight. It would mark the first time they've won two series here in a season since 2005. Their next win over the Jays also guarantees no worse than a series split with the Jays. The last time the Orioles won a season series with Toronto? 2004.


Here's whats going on in the Orioles clubhouse:

-- After a bullpen session today, right-hander Jason Hammel will be activated from the DL on Thursday and make his first start since arthroscopic right-knee surgery on Thursday against the Yankees at Camden Yards. Hammel had the surgery in mid-July.


-- Chris Tillman's MRI revealed no structural damage but showed a inflamed ulnar nerve in his right elbow. However, he hasn't been scratched from his next start yet, which would be scheduled for Saturday. Read more on Tillman HERE.

-- Zach Britton, who joined the team yesterday, was formally recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. He will start tonight against the Jays. Over his last three starts, Britton is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA. This will be his first career start at the Rogers Center.

-- Left-handed reliever Troy Patton (right ankle sprain) threw from 120 feet for 10 minutes today in Sarasota, which was 30 feet longer and two more minutes than yesterday's throwing session. He's progressing slowly, but the next step would likely be another session from 120 feet and then throw off a half mound.

-- Jim Thome's herniated disk continued to improve. He will see a specialist on Thursday in Sarasota.


-- Even though Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez won this month's AL Pitchers of the Month award, both Jim Johnson and Miguel Gonzalez were among the leading votegetters. Johnson was also among the leading votegetters in the MLB Delivery Man of the Month, which went to Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman, while Gonzalez was one of the leading votegetters in AL Rookie of the Month voting.

-- The Orioles are selling tickets for next week's pivotal home series against the Rays at 1992 "throwback" prices. Seats in the Eutaw Street bleachers will be $5 and the left-field lower box will be sold for $8, which were the prices during Camden Yards' first season in 1992.

-- The Sports Legends Museum is hosted a pre-game block party before Saturday's game against the Yankees from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Before the signing, there will be a book signing with former Yankees PR director Marty Appel. Julia Ruth Stevens, the daughter of Babe Ruth, will also be part of the pregame program. Ticket options are $65 for a game ticket, all-you-can-eat food and drink and admission to the block party and and $35 for those who already have a game ticket.

Here are tonight's lineups:

Nick Markakis RF
J.J. Hardy  SS
Nate McLouth LF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Manny Machado 3B
Robert Andino 2B
Zach Britton LHP

Blue Jays
Rajai Davis LF
Colby Rasmus CF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Adam Lind 1B
Yunel Escobar SS
Kelly Johnson 2B
Moises Sierra RF
Jeff Mathis C
Adeiny Hechavarria 3B
Carlos villanueva RHP