09/27/12 12:07 AM ET
Eyeing postseason bid, O's don't feel pressure
By Todd Karpovich / Special to MLB.com
Shortstop Manny Machado and pitcher Dylan Bundy played ping-pong, while several other players simply mingled around prior to batting practice. The O's entered Wednesday night's game against the Blue Jays trailing the American League East-leading Yankees by two games.
Baltimore owns the top spot in the AL Wild Card, just a half-game ahead of Oakland and two games in front of the Angels. Still, the players said they have not resorted to scoreboard watching or pressing too much with each at-bat.
"There's no stress in here, there's no pressure on us," center fielder Adam Jones said. "We're not supposed to be here according to everybody in the media. We're just playing. We know what's at stake. We have seven games to go."
The Orioles were looking to split a four-game series with the Blue Jays before hosting the Red Sox for a weekend series. Outfielder Nate McLouth said most players view games in April and May as being every bit as important as games in September and it's useless to think too far ahead.
"The scoreboard is irrelevant if you don't take care of your own business," McLouth said. "We've come back in plenty of games. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Last night it didn't. It's been a great atmosphere here and a lot of fun to play in front of."
Wolf lands on DL, likely needs Tommy John surgery
BALTIMORE -- Reliever Randy Wolf was placed on the 60-day disabled list Wednesday with a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow and will likely need a second Tommy John surgery.
The announcement came shortly after Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed Wolf's Tommy John surgery in 2005, and Orioles team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens consulted Wolf on how he should proceed with the injury. Manager Buck Showalter was hoping for the best a few hours prior to Wednesday's 12-2 win against the Blue Jays, but ultimately the news was not positive.
Showalter said Wolf is welcome to remain with the club even though he cannot pitch. Wolf was in Baltimore's dugout on Wednesday night, but he was not in the clubhouse following the game. Showalter said Wolf has not yet made a decision to have surgery.
"He had an impact here," Showalter said. "He got some big outs for us and pitched some innings that we needed pitched well. He's a pro. He impacted this club and he continues to by being in there tonight. If he wants to continue to be with us, then that's his call and I'll support that. He's going to think about it tonight and tomorrow."
Wolf appeared in five games for the Orioles, including two starts, going 2-0 with a 5.28 ERA.
As a result, the Orioles added infielder/outfielder Bill Hall to the roster. Hall played seven games with the team in May and June, batting .222 with one homer and one RBI.
The Orioles could use more depth as Lew Ford continues to battle a groin injury.
Sanders takes BP, shows he can still hit
BALTIMORE -- Former NFL and Major League Baseball player Deion Sanders sauntered into the Orioles' clubhouse prior to Wednesday's game against the Blue Jays and gave manager Buck Showalter a bear hug, lifting him off the floor.
Sanders then moved to his ad-hoc locker next to Adam Jones, changed into an Orioles uniform with his staple No. 21 on the back and took batting practice. Now an analyst for the NFL Network, Sanders was in town for the Browns/Ravens game Thursday night, and he wanted to pay a visit to Showalter, who was his former manager at Double-A Albany and was a coach with the Yankees when Sanders played in pinstripes in the early 1990s.
"I think Buck is going to sign me," Sanders said after spraying balls around Camden Yards. "It's an audition really. Last time I hit, Buck was in Arlington, [Texas], with the Rangers. He told me then, 'Can I get you to pinch-run late in the game?'"
Sanders also has a connection to Baltimore, having played one season with the Ravens. He had some advice for the Orioles as they make a push for the playoffs.
"Stay focused, man," Sanders said. "They got what it takes. They got the pitching, the hitting and the fielding. They just have to stay focused every game and treat like every game like a playoff game."
Hammel takes step forward with bullpen session
BALTIMORE -- Starter Jason Hammel, who has been sidelined with right knee discomfort, said he was feeling better Wednesday, one day after throwing a 35-pitch bullpen session.
That was good news for the Orioles, who are still determining whether Hammel will get another start this season. Manager Buck Showalter said he had not yet talked to Hammel on Wednesday so it was still too early to determine the right-hander's next step.
"Whether we go into a bullpen or in a [simulation] game type of situation, that's a decision we're going to have to make," Showalter said.
On Tuesday, Hammel said he's not at yet "100 percent" on the mound, but he was optimistic about how well his knee responded with a brace. Hammel had aggravated his surgically repaired knee in his second start back from the disabled list earlier this month. He is 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 20 starts despite battling knee injuries.
Showalter not ready to name rotation for Sox series
BALTIMORE -- Manager Buck Showalter on Wednesday declined to name his three starting pitchers for this weekend's series against the Red Sox.
Showalter said he had a good idea of at least two starters who will appear over the weekend, but he planned to wait before making a formal announcement. Chris Tillman will likely start one of the games, with Joe Saunders, Steve Johnson or Wei-Yin Chin filling the final spots.
"I'm not going to get locked into anything," Showalter said. "I need to see if we need something tonight. I know Tillman will pitch somewhere there against Boston. I got a pretty good idea of one of the others and am down to two or three options for the third one."
Todd Karpovich is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.