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08/21/12 7:53 PM ET

Hammel's next step could be simulated game

ARLINGTON -- Jason Hammel took another positive step Tuesday, throwing 41 pitches in the bullpen and taking ground balls before the Orioles' game against Texas.

Hammel, the Orioles' best starting pitcher before injuring his right knee on July 13, could throw two or three innings in a simulated game in Baltimore on Friday, if he comes out of Tuesday's work OK.

"We'll have to wait and see how he feels tomorrow," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He was pretty gassed. He got after it pretty good today."

Hammel fielded bunts and covered first on "tweener" ground balls between first and second, Showalter said. Hammel was 8-6 with a 3.54 ERA before getting injured against Detroit.

Machado progressing at third base with Orioles

ARLINGTON -- Rookie Manny Machado, who played shortstop in the Minor Leagues, made his 12th start at third base Tuesday night since being called up.

He said Tuesday he's still getting acquainted with the position and called it a work in progress.

"I can't complain," Machado said. "It's been an adjustment. It's different footwork. It's all about reaction."

Manager Buck Showalter said Monday that he wants the 20-year-old Machado to get every experience possible in his first season in the Major Leagues. The bonus is Machado getting to play on a playoff contender.

"This is great, playing on a young team and winning games," Machado said.

Emotions involved for Orioles returning to Texas

ARLINGTON -- Much has been made of the six Orioles returning to Texas to play against their former team -- one they helped win the American League pennant the last two years.

Reliever Pedro Strop didn't appear in Monday's 5-1 loss, but manager Buck Showalter wasn't surprised to hear that the 27-year old told reporters he's not sure how he'll react to pitching against the Rangers for the first time.

"That's Pete," Showalter said. "He's an emotional pitcher."

Showalter said he had a talk on the bench with Wednesday night starter Tommy Hunter about pitching against the Rangers earlier this season. Hunter started Game 4 of the 2010 World Series for the Rangers.

"Sometimes old guys like me don't take that into perspective as much as we should," Showalter said. "It means something to them. They're very proud of their time here."

Worth noting

• First baseman Jim Thome heads to Sarasota on Wednesday, where he will begin his rehab. The Gulf Coast Orioles end their season Saturday, so Thome is likely to get his rehab assignment in Aberdeen.

• Top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy allowed two runs on five hits in six innings in his second start for Double-A Bowie on Tuesday night. Bundy allowed a home run while striking out four. He threw 97 pitches.

• The latest on infielder Wilson Betemit was a little discouraging. Showalter said he's not optimistic that Betemit, out with a right wrist injury, will be ready to come off the disabled list on Aug. 28. Showalter did say he wants to see what happens in the next few days.

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