After his second series of taking batting practice against live pitching, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is ready to start a brief minor league rehabilitation assignment over the All-Star break that should have him ready to return from a right oblique strain when the Orioles resume play after the break Friday night against the Chicago Cubs at Camden Yards.
Davis is scheduled to play Monday night for High-A Frederick, then on Wednesday for Low-A Delmarva.
"He's ready to go," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's had his All-Star break."
Showalter said Davis would probably get at least three or four at-bats and play first base for at least seven innings.
"I think it's actually just getting into the game flow, actually playing defense," Showalter said. "Just the game itself, playing the game, [getting] ups, innings."
Showalter wanted to wait until after Sunday's game to finalize his starting rotation coming out of the break, but he said right-hander Kevin Gausman would likely start the first game back Friday night against the Cubs, followed by left-hander Wade Miley.
The Orioles would like to give right-hander Chris Tillman the benefit of two workdays over the break, especially since he hasn't pitched since June 30 because of being away from the team for the birth of his first child.
Because of that, Tillman wouldn't likely pitch until the Orioles' fourth game out of the break, which would be next Monday night's series opener against the Texas Rangers. Right-hander Dylan Bundy has already been slotted to pitch fifth in an attempt to help manage his innings.
In the team's current rotation, that leaves right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez to start next Sunday's game against the Cubs — he said after Sunday's game against the Twins that he hadn't been told he was starting then — though left-handed Jayson Aquino, who would be eligible to return from Triple-A Norfolk, could also be an option.
Rule 5 draft pick Anthony Santander, who has spent the entire season on the disabled list with a right forearm strain, has resumed throwing at the team's spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla.
"I've got a feeling of what can happen if he can get healthy this year," Showalter said. "He's got a chance to be a good one if we can keep him healthy. At the very worst, I am hoping he could help us in September, but I'm holding hope he can join us before that."
And while the Orioles can no longer fulfill the 90-day term on the active roster this season to fulfill his Rule 5 requirements, the club can still retain him without needing to send his requirements deep into next season.
Conceivably, the Orioles could activate Santander to join the team when rosters expand in September — he wouldn't clog roster space while accruing major league time — and he would begin logging his required time and then carry it over to the beginning of next year.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy will have a follow-up appointment with a hand specialist to get his broken right wrist reassessed and could be cleared to strengthen his range of motion after that. He's still not scheduled to return to the team until mid-August. … Shortstop Rubén Tejada had his first three-hit game since Sept. 23, 2015. … Designated hitter Mark Trumboenters the break with an eight-game hitting streak, and rookie first baseman Trey Mancini has hit safely in seven straight games.