BALTIMORE -- The Orioles get a fresh start on Friday, as the second half of the season commences with the O's in need of a solid run to vie for a postseason spot. With a few days' rest under their belt, there's help on the way and plenty of your questions ...
What's the plan for Chris Davis?
-- Pat M., Bristow, Va.
Davis spoke on Thursday at the team's workout, and the plan is for him to be activated for the second-half opener against the Cubs. He got in some rehab at-bats during the All-Star break, and his presence should help bolster the middle of the O's lineup.
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When will Dylan Bundy be shut down?
-- Marc L., Baltimore
Nobody is saying when and where or what the exact plan is for Bundy, but this is what we know for certain: He'll face the Rangers in the fifth game out of the All-Star break, and the O's will look for every chance possible to give him extra rest. They started doing that toward the end of the first half, and that strategy could buy them a lot of time to avoid an early end to Bundy's season.
Despite some recent struggles, he's still been the Orioles' best starter. Bundy has thrown 108 innings this season after throwing 109 2/3 in 2016.
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Do you think the Orioles are sellers at the Trade Deadline?
-- Mike R., Washington
No. Even if they have a rough homestand out of the break, I don't really see a scenario where they have a fire sale and auction off guys like Zach Britton or Manny Machado. One, they're built to win now and there's not a big group of Minor League guys they can try to build around in the next few years. And two, the way the American League is set up, very few teams are really out of it.
So does that mean they'll be buyers? Maybe marginally. While their Minor League system is improving, it's going to be tough to get an impact guy before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. I'd expect they maybe make a small move or two, but if they're going to get better, it's going to come from this current group stepping up.
What's the latest on J.J. Hardy?
-- Kim S., Columbia, Md.
Hardy was cleared Wednesday to start moving his injured wrist, and he'll wait another 2 1/2 weeks before he's allowed to start strengthening it.
From there, he'll move into baseball activities. So you're looking at some point in August -- as of right now -- for his initial return, but it's really early to nail down a timetable.
Do you think Trey Mancini has a chance at AL Rookie of the Year?
-- Lynn M., Indianapolis
Right now? No. Look up what Aaron Judge is doing for the Yankees. This seems to be one-man race, assuming Judge stays healthy and continues to produce. To Mancini's credit, though, he's been terrific for the O's and absolutely should get some recognition.
Honestly, do you think this team still has a chance at the playoffs?
-- Jim E., Raleigh, N.C.
The Orioles enter the second half four games out of the AL Wild Card race, so yes. Much stranger things have happened when it comes to baseball's final few weeks. Are they a strong case right now? No.
If you're looking for a bright side, their pitching should not stay horrible and they had some big injuries (Britton, Davis, Hardy) and still find themselves in the postseason picture. On the other side, the O's are going to have to collectively turn it around as a unit. This isn't really the case of one guy stepping up -- it's going to take multiple players having a really good second half for this team to make a legitimate run.