HOUSTON -- Right-hander Tommy Hunter, on the disabled list with a left groin strain, will throw a bullpen session on Sunday, likely at Double-A Bowie, Showalter said.
Showalter said he believed Hunter would need two bullpen sessions before going on a brief minor league rehab assignment. He would then likely only need one or two rehab games at a minor league affiliate before being able to return to the Orioles, which puts him in play to be activated when he's eligible to come off the DL on June 5.
"He's got a shot of making it," Showalter said. "It will be good to get him back. I think Tommy's going to come back and really help us."
Hunter has thrown four side sessions off flat ground, but Sunday's throwing session would be his first off a full mound.
After the first two months of the season, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said he's pleased with the game's expanded replay system.
"I was one of the last ones in on replay," Selig said before Friday's Civil Rights Game. "I think Tony [La Russa's] assessment before he left ... was accurate. He called me one night on a Sunday night three weeks ago. He said … 'there have been six replays this afternoon and we got them right every time. The average time was two minutes. We had no way to expect that something so new would be this good this fast.'
"Fortunately, we haven't had too much controversy," he said. "There's still work to be done. I'm the one who worried about this, but it became obvious that it was the right thing to do. … So far I'm very, very pleased."
The Orioles might beg to differ, especially after their challenge in Thursday night's game, in which Showalter asked for a review on a close play at the plate. The Orioles said pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez tagged Jason Castro's foot before he touched home and one replay definitively showed Jimenez's glove on Castro's cleat while his foot was still in the air.
After winning their first two challenges this season, the Orioles have lost three of their last five.
Catcher Caleb Joseph received his second straight start on Saturday, with both coming against a left-handed pitcher.
Showalter said he prefers Joseph, who entered the game with just one hit in 25 at bats this season, against lefties and also wanted to give recent trade acquisition Nick Hundley the opportunity to see all of the starting pitchers. Both are right-handed hitting catchers.
"We're still feeling our way around with Nick," Showalter said of Hundley, who is a career .198 hitter against left-handed pitching and hits righties at a .253 clip.
Showalter said right fielder Nick Markakis nearly didn't play in Saturday's game because he was suffering from a stiff neck most in the morning. "It kind of loosened up during the latter part of BP," Showalter said. ... Showalter said catcher Matt Wieters felt well on Saturday, the day after throwing for the first time since going on the DL with a right elbow strain. Wieters will throw again on Sunday. … Showalter said he will likely tweak the starting rotation following Monday's off day to give one pitcher some extra rest. … Showalter said he's encouraged by Nolan Reimold's progress in extended spring training. Showalter said vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson called Reimold on Friday. "He said it's the best he's felt in a long, long time," Showalter said. … Right-hander Luis Ayala, who was signed to a minor-league contract and was pitching at Double-A Bowie, exercised an opt-out clause on Saturday. He had allowed three runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings in five outings for the Baysox. … Joseph's eighth-inning walk on Friday was the Orioles' first walk in 21 innings, dating back to the fourth inning of Wednesday's game in Milwaukee. … Saturday was Adam Jones' 1,000th career major league game. He's played 926 of them in an Orioles uniform, 19th on the club's all-time games played list. … Triple-A Norfolk infielder Alexi Casilla was activated from the minor league DL on Saturday.