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Hunter set for 'pen session, could return next week

HOUSTON -- Tommy Hunter will throw his first bullpen session on Sunday at Double-A Bowie's stadium as he continues to progress favorably in his recovery from a left groin strain.

Manager Buck Showalter said Hunter would probably need two rehab games and he "has a shot" at being activated off the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, which is the first day he's eligible to be activated.

"It'll be good to get him back," Showalter said. "I think Tommy's going to come back and really help us."

Hunter has said the injury didn't hamper him while throwing, so it's not an excuse for his struggles on the mound so far this season. He converted 11 of his first 12 save opportunities, but blew his last two before hitting the DL. Hunter has allowed 11 earned runs on 25 hits, five walks and a hit batsman over 16 1/3 innings.

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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