4/24/2014 7:31 P.M. ET
Webb emerges as standout in O's bullpen
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
TORONTO -- With the Orioles' starters having some trouble consistently going deep into games, manager Buck Showalter has gotten a good look at his bullpen in the season's first few weeks. And one of the team's new additions, right-hander Ryan Webb, is becoming a regular fixture.
Webb has pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings on the Orioles' road stretch and has retired 17 of 19 batters he has faced since April 7. He allowed a combined four earned runs in his first two outings but has since made seven scoreless appearances, including pitching in three consecutive games entering Thursday.
"He's capable of doing both," manager Buck Showalter said of whether Webb, who recorded one out Tuesday and Wednesday, is more of a situational guy. "[He's capable] of doing more. But the situation called for it."
Webb, signed to a two-year contract as a free agent this winter, struck out the side Monday in Boston for the first time in his career. He is adjusting to the American League after coming from Miami and is developing into another potential late-inning guy for Showalter.
"I definitely feel like I'm comfortable on the mound and getting acclimated to the AL East and these hitters," Webb said. "First, second time around, kind of figure out how I'm going to pitch guys. I'm just going out there and having a little more confidence in what I'm doing, and I'm more comfortable on the mound."
"I think he came along slow in spring, which you can tell with some of the things he's showing now that he didn't show early this spring and part of the season," Showalter said. "Maybe that's our fault as much as his. He's been a weapon for us."
Hardy no longer answering contract questions
TORONTO -- Shortstop J.J. Hardy, who returned to the O's lineup on Wednesday night for the series finale against the Blue Jays, will no longer discuss the status of his contract, which has him set to be a free agent at the end of this year.
Hardy, who has respectfully fielded questions from reporters since Spring Training, said he did not want to distract from the Orioles' pursuits on the field and that rather than comment and risk a misunderstanding, he would refrain from speaking on the matter until there was actual news.
"There's nothing to discuss," Hardy said of any extension talks between his agent and the Orioles. "I don't want to make stories that don't need to be made. There's been no discussions, so I do not want to talk about it anymore until something changes."
• Manny Machado, who will start a rehab assignment with the Class A Advanced Frederick Keys on Friday, is slated to bat second and play third base for nine innings. He will be re-evaluated after the weekend and could return by early May.
• Dylan Bundy was cleared to throw curveballs in his most recent bullpen session, and the club's top prospect will throw a 40-pitch 'pen again Friday. Johan Santana, who is on a five-day rotation schedule in his rehab, will also throw a side on Friday.
• The Orioles are 0-5 in games in which they make an error and 10-5 in games in which they do not. They have made five errors in five games entering Thursday.
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.