Hernandez set to throw first bullpen session
Reliever optimistic he can rejoin Orioles in early September
CHICAGO -- Reliever David Hernandez is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session Wednesday at the team's Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla., and he remains optimistic that he can rejoin the Orioles in early September.
Hernandez said in a text message that he's "almost pain-free," though he is expected to still experience some level of discomfort until the ankle is fully healthy in November.
Hernandez was placed on the 15-day disabled list after exiting Aug. 4's game with a Grade 2 left ankle sprain suffered while trying to cover home plate. An MRI reaffirmed the injury on his landing foot, and given the slow healing nature of that particular ligament, it was assumed that Hernandez would need longer than the minimum DL stay.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said last week he would be "real happy" to have Hernandez back on Sept. 1, and acknowledged that he probably wouldn't return until some point after that. Showalter also said at this point there hasn't been any talk of shutting down Hernandez for the rest of the season.
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 prior to the injury.
Johnson could be back as soon as Friday
CHICAGO -- In what could be his final test, Orioles reliever Jim Johnson threw two scoreless innings for Double-A Bowie on Tuesday afternoon, allowing one hit and striking out three.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the key would be evaluating how the right-hander bounces back from Tuesday's outing, and if all goes well, Johnson could rejoin the team as soon as Friday in Anaheim.
"He loves being able to go out there and know that he can use all of his pitches and get a feel for it," said Showalter, who watched Johnson pitch in Bowie over the weekend. "Even though things went well today, we want to know how things feel [Thursday] before we get ahead of ourselves."
The O's could choose to be cautious with Johnson -- who is on the 60-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation -- and have him throw one more time in Bowie before being activated for next week's homestand. Johnson hasn't appeared in a Major League game since April 30, and he has been shelved with an injury believed to be suffered in the second game of the season.
Second opinion on Berken confirms results
CHICAGO -- Following Tuesday's second opinion on his right shoulder, the Orioles remain confident that Jason Berken will be able to avoid surgery on his labrum and use a combination of rest and rehab to come back full-throttle next spring.
"He'll just continue down the path that we were going to go with him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said after Berken's appointment with Dr. David Altchek in New York confirmed the original results.
"You could actually push that envelope if you wanted to. We just think it's proven wise to not push him physically. We think with the rehab and the things that he's doing, he should be available and ready to go next year."
The O's placed Berken on the 15-day disabled list after an Aug. 16 MRI showed a slight tear in his labrum along with rotator cuff inflammation. Prior to that, Berken had been experiencing right shoulder soreness which hadn't been alleviated with treatment, and given his dip in performance -- which included 13 earned runs in his past 17 1/3 innings -- the Orioles decided to undergo further testing.
Showalter also confirmed what has long been speculated: that Berken is done for the remainder of the season.
"That's one of the questions I asked [head athletic trainer Richard Bancells]," Showalter said. "Would this have been a little bit different if we were a half-game out? We could push it and try to get him back for September, but it's just not real smart right now."
Machado, signees to work out at Camden Yards
CHICAGO -- Third overall Draft pick Manny Machado, along with several other Orioles top signees, will work out at Camden Yards next month for a two-week long unofficial instructional league.
Given the construction involved in the renovations to the team's Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla., the organization had to cancel instructional league. The thought is that next month's workouts will help supplement that, as well as give new Orioles manager Buck Showalter a closer look at some of Baltimore's top prospects.
"It's still kind of in the infancy stage, when and where," Showalter said of the workouts, which have been discussed by president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail during organizational meetings. "[MacPhail is] not doing it for me. He's doing it for the players. You signed some of the talent we signed, [you want] to give them everything you do before the season starts next year so they are that much further ahead.
"It's also good to kind of let them see what the carrot is, too. Looking at Manny and some of the other young men we signed that came for physicals, seeing them walk around the locker room a little bit, you can tell that it's impressive for them."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.