"It could be potentially a tad better than that, could be a little worse than that," manager Buck Showalter said prior to Wednesday's game. "We'll see. I think we'll know more when he actually starts throwing the ball and driving down off of [that leg]."
Showalter said Hammel, who last pitched July 13, is already asking for extra rooms for the team's upcoming road trips, which is an encouraging sign. He will need several rehab starts before being activated, but the 29-year-old Hammel would certainly provide a boost to the Orioles' rotation. A Final Vote All-Star Candidate, Hammel is 8-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 18 games.
"I look at it more as a case of when as opposed to if," Showalter said of Hammel's return. "It will be a shot in the arm for us."
Meanwhile, outfielder Nolan Reimold is going to Jacksonvile, Fla., to be with his family and continue his rehab. Reimold, who had season-ending neck surgery, is progressing well, and the team is optimistic he will be healthy by next spring.