BALTIMORE -- Jason Hammel is expected to be with the Orioles on Saturday to throw off of a slope for the first time since going on the 15-day disabled list July 15 due to a right knee injury that required surgery.
Manager Buck Showalter said Hammel will not be throwing off the mound, but will be on a slight incline in order to "test the knee a little bit."
"If that goes well, [pitching coach Rick Adair] and the trainers have a schedule set up for him starting on Monday and Thursday, where he actually throws off the rubber," Showalter said. "So, we'll see how tomorrow goes. That's the plan on him."
Hammel, an All-Star Final Vote candidate, had pitched to a 3.54 ERA before the injury.
Because Hammel's injury hasn't impacted his arm strength, Showalter believes the right-hander could return to the rotation relatively quickly, as long as his knee can withstand the workload.
"Once he gets healthy, it can move pretty quickly," Showalter said. "It's not like he's going to have to go out and throw one or two innings the first time out, and then two or three innings the next time out."
Showalter said more important than working off the incline on Saturday will be how the knee responds to that work on Sunday.
"If he doesn't have any issues there, then we can proceed with the plan to have a little more definitive date about when he'll be able to pitch for us," Showalter said.
Machado follows first HR with another, to same fan
BALTIMORE -- Manny Machado held up the ball from Thursday night's triple -- his first career Major League hit -- and grinned as he remarked he was hanging on to the keepsake forever.
The way this is going, Machado might want to rent out some extra locker space. The Orioles rookie connected for his first Major League home run in the fifth inning of Friday night's 7-1 win against the Royals, then went deep again the following frame, hitting a three-run shot to chase Royals starter Luke Hochevar from the game.
The pair of homers -- which invoked chants of "Manny" from 17,277 at Camden Yards -- culminated with a standing ovation and an eruption of cheering as the young Machado came out for a quick curtain call during just his second Major League game.
"Jonesie pushed me out there," Machado said of center fielder Adam Jones, part of a tag-team with infielder Robert Andino that -- not even 30 minutes later -- enveloped the rookie in a shaving cream pie that perhaps has never been more celebratory.
"They got me real good," Machado admitted with the Orioles cap hanging in his locker still completely covered. "I think I've still got some in my ears."
But no amount of shaving cream could drown out the exuberant chants of an Orioles fanbase witnessing history as their long-awaited "infielder of the future" became the youngest player in franchise history -- at 20 years and 35 days old -- to post a multihomer game, beating the previous record set by Boog Powell, who was 20 years and 258 days old when he hit a pair of homers on May 2, 1962.
"It was the best feeling ever," Machado said after depositing Hochevar's pitch into an already-standing crowd and simply putting his head down and running, allowing the fans' chants to take hold of the stadium. "The crowd here loves me, and for them to support me like that, after my first home run, it just felt great."
It was his second home run, a 1-2 curveball, that propelled Machado into greatness. Since 1918, only 11 players younger than Machado have recorded a multihomer game, with the most recent having come on Aug. 30, 2011, when Angels superstar Mike Trout was 20 years and 23 days old.
"It's one of those nights that you're really honored and lucky just to watch," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I look at it more from a city of Baltimore standpoint. [Machado will] put it behind him and realize there's another challenge tomorrow."
In his first two days, Machado has passed every test, and made quick work on the record books. His first homer marked the youngest by an Orioles player since Hall of Famer Jim Palmer did it as a 19-year-old on May 16, 1965. His second -- which also scored Wilson Betemit and Nate McLouth -- amazingly landed in the same spot: Adam Corder's hands. Corder, 15, is a Millersville, Md., native who currently lives in the United Arab Emirates and caught both of Machado's homers from section 78, row 14 at Camden Yards.
"I was surprised," said Machado, who met with Corder after the game and exchanged some autographed balls and a bat for his first home run ball. "I heard it in the dugout somebody told the officer the same kid caught both balls. I was like: 'What? That's crazy.'"
So is the immediate effect Machado -- whose promotion was heavily debated around baseball -- is having in Baltimore. Coming off a 2-for-4 debut, Machado was back in the starting lineup on Friday night, playing third base and moving up a spot to eighth in the batting order, with struggling infielder Mark Reynolds shifted to the bench.
With the Royals starting Hochevar, Betemit made his first start at first base since July 3, while Reynolds -- batting .188 with seven of his nine homers against righties -- the odd man out. Betemit entered the game batting .306 with 11 home runs against right-handed pitching, and Friday's start marked his 12th start at first base, with the Orioles having gone 7-4 in the previous 11 games.
While Showalter has stuck with Reynolds despite a prolonged power outage, the arrival of Machado at third base could change things. Chris Davis has taken over most of the team's designated-hitter duties as Jim Thome recovers from an injured neck on the disabled list, and with the Orioles trying to shore up a defense that leads the Majors in errors, Reynolds' playing time could diminish, particularly against right-handed starters.
"We'll take each day as it comes," Showalter said when asked if Friday's lineup was an indicator of things to come. "We're going to serve our team's needs first and then keep in mind where Manny is in his day-to-day development. So today, it worked best this way. We'll see what tomorrow brings."
Machado, a right-handed hitter, tripled and scored a run in Thursday's debut, and both Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette made it clear that the highly regarded prospect's promotion was made because they feel he can help the club win games.
While Machado's natural position is shortstop, he held his own at third base on Thursday, recording a pair of putouts and an assist, and he fared well again on Friday night.
Reynolds started the season as the team's third baseman before being moved to first base, shifting Davis, who has played all over the diamond, to third base, left field and some time at DH. The team's leader in home runs (37) and RBIs (86) last season, Reynolds entered Friday with a .210/.327/.378 line, including nine homers and 34 RBIs in 87 games. Friday marked just the second game Reynolds did not start since July 4.
Flaherty could begin rehab assignment soon
BALTIMORE -- After suffering through 36 miserable hours earlier in the week, Ryan Flaherty is nearing the point where he could begin a rehab assignment.
Manager Buck Showalter said Flaherty would "probably stay with the team today, and he could go out on a rehab not before Sunday."
Flaherty has been on the disabled list since Wednesday due to a bacterial infection that caused severe swelling in his tonsils. After enduring a period where it was difficult to even breathe, Flaherty started on antibiotics, which he said have had a significant impact.
On Friday, Flaherty said he felt his energy level was fine, but was still waiting for the swelling to fully subside.
A Rule 5 Draft selection who has taken on a utility role with the O's, Flaherty has hit .205 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in 60 games and 117 at-bats this season.
• Jim Thome, on the disabled list since July 31 with a herniated disc in his neck, has been running in a pool and doing light upper-body work.
• Endy Chavez has opted to remain with the team rather than become a free agent after he was designated for assignment on Aug. 4. Chavez will be reporting to Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday, and Showalter said Chavez would be a September call-up.
• The Orioles will operate with a four-man starting rotation until Aug. 18, at which point they will be in need of a fifth starter. Steve Johnson's 10-day window before he can be recalled will not have passed by that point, leaving Norfolk pitchers Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz as the most likely options.
• Norfolk's L.J. Hoes was 18-for-39 in his last 10 games entering Friday, prompting Showalter to say that the outfielder "continued to be on the map." Although Hoes may be useful to the O's, there is a value in him continuing to get regular at-bats with Triple-A.
• The Orioles announced that the Aug. 30 game against the Chicago White Sox will start at 12:35 p.m. ET.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Greg Luca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.