NEW YORK -- Orioles lefty Zach Britton threw a bullpen session Wednesday, his third, with no problems, and the plan is for him to pitch a three-inning simulated game on Saturday, throwing three 15-pitch innings at the team's extended spring training facility in Sarasota, Fla.
Britton, who started the season on the disabled list with a left shoulder impingement, is slated to throw in extended spring games on May 10 (45 pitches), 15 (60 pitches) and 21 (75 pitches), which would make him eligible to go out on a rehab assignment on May 26. There's a chance -- depending on how he feels and how the Orioles' current starters are faring -- that he will be sent out to an affiliate sooner, but the organization is adopting a cautious approach right now.
In following that schedule, an early June return would be the best-case scenario for Britton to be activated. Once the 24-year-old is sent out on a rehab assignment, he will have 30 days to get to the 100-plus pitch mark and get back to in-season form. Britton went 11-11 with a 4.61 ERA in 28 starts in 2011, his rookie year.
O's flip Hammel, Hunter for weekend series
NEW YORK -- The Orioles tweaked their rotation for the upcoming weekend series against the Boston Red Sox, flipping Tommy Hunter and Jason Hammel, with Hammel now scheduled for Saturday.
"Tommy's had an ingrown toenail that he's had a cut on," manager Buck Showalter said. "I just want to give him a couple extra days and get him back to 100 percent. He'll tell you that he is, but we had an opportunity and we'll see if we can give him a couple extra days there."
With Thursday's off-day, the Orioles' arms will each get an extra day's rest, and Hunter -- who has also been one of several players under the weather -- will now start the series finale on Sunday afternoon.
"He threw today, he's fine," Showalter said of Hunter, who is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA. "He feels good. I just thought we weren't going to have this opportunity much up north. We'll try to fresh up his everything a little bit."
Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 2.22 ERA) will start Friday's series opener, facing Boston for the first time in his career.
Jones, Andino visit Fan Cave in NYC
Numbers 10 and 11 on the Orioles were walking around Greenwich Village in black jerseys during the day on Wednesday, slapping the new Baltimore logo stickers on objects and pedestrians alike. It was for a funny video skit that will be available to share in the next week at MLBFanCave.com -- part of a visit to the Fan Cave for Adam Jones and Robert Andino.
It was all in fun. When it comes to making a real statement in Yankees country, the players said they will continue to do their talking on the field, as they have over an impressive first month.
"It's still early, but it's a good start, the whole team is going out there to battle and win games," Andino said. "That's what we're here for.
"Same old thing -- we're gonna go out here and just play the game. Keep us in the back of your mind, but we're just going out there and playing hard. That's all we're going to do, have fun."
On his way out of the Fan Cave, Jones was asked about the "Pretender or Contender?" status that was posted on MLB's official Facebook account at the start of the Yankees series, and he shrugged it off.
"Right now, leave us alone," Jones said. "We don't even want you to talk about us. Write us off like it's already been, [as it was] in the beginning. Let us mind our own business and play our own baseball. That's our mindset, we're not really worried about anybody else. We just want to play our baseball, and pitching and defense ... that's what's going to do it.
"We know we've been playing all right so far, but [we have] five more months to do it. Our goal is to take the series tonight, it's not really [about] any other day but today's game."
After a day off on Thursday, the Orioles' next stop is Fenway Park, and then that series against the Red Sox is followed by the Rangers and Rays, an onslaught of preseason favorites.
"Welcome to the [American League] East," Jones said. "You're going to have to face some tough pitching. So what? We gotta eat, they gotta eat. We're coming in hungry. Dog-eat-dog world."
-- Mark Newman
Hitting coach Jim Presley returned to the team after missing Tuesday night's game, passing his second kidney stone in two weeks.
Nolan Reimold (bulging disc) was still a little sore on Wednesday, according to manager Buck Showalter. The Orioles hope that Reimold, who went back to Baltimore on Tuesday morning, can rejoin the team for Friday's game in Boston.
Reliever Darren O'Day has recorded nine consecutive scoreless appearances, including 1 2/3 innings on Tuesday night, and has held opposing batters to a .067 average.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.