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08/20/12 8:49 PM ET

Ahead of schedule, Thome set for Sarasota

ARLINGTON -- First baseman Jim Thome will start his rehab in Sarasota, Fla., on Wednesday, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Monday, way ahead of the original schedule doctors set for him.

Thome, out since July 27 with a herniated disk in his neck, will start swinging off a tee and in the cages this week.

"He's feeling good. He talked to the doctor and he is a little ahead of schedule. We'll see how the next couple days go," Showalter said. "Let's take it day to day, I don't want him to think about going to Aberdeen or Frederick. If we did it, it would be at a high level."

Showalter's news was a bit of a surprise, since the veteran slugger was supposed to out at least 30 days and not play until September. Now Thome could go on a rehab assignment next week with one of the Orioles' higher affiliates.

"That was as much to slow him down," Showalter said. "He still has got some bulging disk there, but the inflammation has calmed down, so he is going to go down [to Sarasota], and in the next three or four days, if he doesn't have any problems, I'm going to feel pretty confident about getting him back."

O's Teagarden relishes Texas homecoming

ARLINGTON -- Catcher Taylor Teagarden and five other ex-Rangers were back in Texas on Monday as playoff contenders with the Orioles. All of them played some role in helping the Rangers win consecutive American League pennants the last two years.

For Teagarden, it was special returning to his home area -- the Orioles' backup catcher grew up in nearby Carrollton, a suburb of Dallas, and played at the University of Texas. He said prior to Monday's game that his parents would be at all three games.

"It's a unique experience for myself," said Teagarden, who played for the Rangers for parts of four seasons from 2008-11. "I've never been in this visitors' locker room. We have a lot of you guys, there's a lot of energy over here. It's fun to come back to Texas to play impactful games in August. It should be three good games with two really good teams."

The Orioles had two former Rangers in the starting lineup Monday night -- designated hitter Chris Davis and shortstop Manny Machado. Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day were in the bullpen. Tommy Hunter, who started Game 4 for the Rangers in the 2010 World Series, will start Wednesday night's game.

Hardy gets rare breather from starting lineup

ARLINGTON -- Shortstop J.J. Hardy had the day off Monday, just the fourth time he hasn't started a game this season for the Orioles, who played No. 122 in the series opener against the Rangers.

Omar Quintanilla, familiar with the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington infield, got the start at shortstop, keeping rookie Manny Machado at third base.

"We're fortunate we have three guys who can play shortstop at a high level," manager Buck Showalter said.

Showalter said there's no one more deserving of a day off than Hardy, who has 13 RBIs in his last 16 games.

Worth noting

• Left-hander Troy Patton, who has been out since Aug. 12 with a right ankle sprain, is getting treatment with athletic trainer Richie Bancells three times a day, manager Buck Showalter said. "They're trying to go as fast as they can go," Showalter said. "He is still pretty sore and swollen." Showalter also said it's unlikely Patton will be ready to go Aug. 28, the day he is eligible to come off the disabled list.

• Still no word on any punishment for first baseman Mark Reynolds from Major League Baseball on his umpire-bashing following Friday's game against the Detroit Tigers.

• Starting pitcher Jason Hammel is with the team in Texas and continues rehabbing his right knee. He could resume baseball activities Tuesday.

• Showalter said he wants to give rookie Manny Machado as much time at third base as possible. "We want to give him every experience," Showalter said. "It bodes well for him."

• Phenom Dylan Bundy was scheduled to make his second start in Double-A on Monday night.

Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.