O's will wait to make decision on Hammel's return

O's will wait to make decision on Hammel's return

NEW YORK -- Right-hander Jason Hammel had an impressive first rehab start, but manager Buck Showalter said the team will probably wait until his bullpen session before determining if Hammel is ready to come off the disabled list.

Hammel tossed five scoreless innings for Class A Advanced Frederick on Saturday night, striking out seven and allowing three hits and a walk with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette in attendance. The righty, who turned 30 on Sunday, is expected to join the team in New York on Sunday afternoon and will fly to Toronto and throw a bullpen session under the watchful eye of pitching coach Rick Adair.

"I want to talk to Ham and get a little more detail from Dan and see where he fits," Showalter said of Hammel, who would line up to pitch Thursday's game versus the Yankees if deemed ready. "But that was real encouraging last night. That was about as good as you can expect."

Hammel has been sidelined since mid-July after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, and his return would help add some stability to an Orioles rotation that has been piecing it together day by day. Newly acquired Joe Saunders will start Monday's game in Toronto, with Zach Britton in line to start Tuesday after Triple-A Norfolk's season ends. The rest is still to be decided.

"It'd be great to get Ham healthy and pitching and we can actually give you a rotation two series in advance," Showalter said.