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Hunter could start rehab games next week

HOUSTON -- Orioles pitcher Tommy Hunter threw his first bullpen session on Sunday since hitting the disabled list with a left groin strain, and the right-hander will fly to Texas on Monday night to throw another side for the O's coaching staff before they determine the next step.

"He may fly back with us [to Baltimore] on Thursday, or he may go pitch with a team on Thursday, so we'll see," manager Buck Showalter said of Hunter, who threw at Double-A Bowie's stadium on Sunday. "He felt great today, threw breaking balls, changeups, fastballs."

Hunter won't be ready the first day he's eligible, which is Thursday, and Showalter said he misspoke when making that statement on Saturday.

"The earliest he could throw a rehab game would be Thursday," Showalter said. "He'd probably do it again on Saturday, so the first time we might see him is on [June 9], a week from [Monday]."

Hunter has allowed 11 earned runs on 25 hits, five walks and a hit batsman over 16 1/3 innings this season. He has 11 saves in 14 opportunities and was removed from the closer role shortly before hitting the DL.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli.
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