I know the offense has been frustrating, but the pitching hasn't been much better. Do you see any changes coming?
-- Tom S., Crofton, Md.
There will be at least one addition, as Miguel Gonzalez won't make his scheduled start this weekend. Mike Wright, the club's No. 7 prospect who threw six scoreless innings for Triple-A Norfolk, is an option to pitch Saturday in Toronto on short rest. The Orioles could also pitch a guy out of the bullpen, like Steve Johnson or T.J. McFarland. With roster expansion, they can cover for a short start. Other than that, there's not a whole lot the O's can do other than hope their current staff can turn things around.
Why was Dariel Alvarez optioned to Class A Advanced Frederick?
-- Jeff L., Washington, D.C.
There was an issue with Alvarez's work visa, and he wouldn't be able to go to Toronto this weekend and leave on Sunday night. The Cuban outfielder apparently has just a one-way green card, so things couldn't get worked out to permit him to go to Canada. Optioning Alvarez to Frederick instead of a higher affiliate is because the Class A Advanced season should be done early next week, making him eligible to rejoin the Orioles. They could also send Alvarez to Triple-A after that if they decide to not recall him.
Are Hunter Harvey and Dylan Bundy ready yet?
-- Deirdre F., Aberdeen, Md.
Neither is even close to a possibility for the O's this season. Harvey is going to pitch in the organization's instructional league, and if that goes well, he will play in the Arizona Fall League to get some innings under his belt. He's been rehabbing back from an elbow injury.
Bundy, who has not pitch in a Minor League game since May 21, was cleared Monday by Dr. James Andrews to resume a throwing program. He will not be ready for instructional league. I haven't heard his name mentioned for the AFL, either. Bundy will be out of Minor League options next spring, meaning the Orioles will have to make a decision on him making the team or risk losing him coming out of Spring Training.
When is J.J. Hardy expected back?
-- Pat M., Phoenix
The O's hope Hardy will return on the first day he's eligible, which is Tuesday. He has been rehabbing with the team, and manager Buck Showalter wasn't sure on Wednesday of an exact plan for the shortstop over the weekend. The preference is for Hardy to remain with the team in Toronto and be activated as soon as he's eligible, but the Orioles may choose to have him play for an affiliate first. Keep in mind if he does come back on Tuesday, it will have just been the minimum 15-day period. You can make a case that Hardy may not need to get some at-bats, given how late it is in the season.