Hernandez will not return until September

Hernandez will not return until September

BALTIMORE -- David Hernandez (left ankle sprain) has started throwing at the Orioles' Spring Training facility in Sarasota, Fla., but manager Buck Showalter said he doesn't expect the reliever to return until rosters expand in September.

Showalter said on Wednesday that he would be "real happy" to have Hernandez back right on Sept. 1, but he acknowledged that it will probably take longer than that.

"That [sprained] ligament there is tough," Showalter said. "It's his landing leg. You got to be careful trying to maintain his arm strength -- you don't want a long period [off] where you can't get [that arm strength] back."

Hernandez injured his ankle while running to cover home plate during a win over the Angels on Aug 4, and he exited the clubhouse on crutches. An MRI reaffirmed the injury and Hernandez flew to Sarasota after the O's homestand wrapped.

Hernandez said the flight down to Florida caused considerable swelling in his ankle, and Showalter indicated on Wednesday that's it been slow to come around.

A converted starter, Hernandez had been one of the O's best late-inning options out of the bullpen. He pitched to a 3.29 ERA over 27 1/3 innings.