Duquette on Hunter being placed on the disabled list

BALTIMORE -- Right-hander Tommy Hunter, who lost the team's closer's job last week, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain prior to Thursday's series opener against the Indians.

Hunter said he first felt something while making a few throws during pregame on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, and manager Buck Showalter said later that the club played down a man. Hunter arrived at Camden Yards on Thursday not feeling any better and Showalter decided to make the move.

"Knowing the history with Tommy, Tommy has been out as long as two months with this [injury]," Showalter said. "He's had two DL stints that were extended. Like Chris Davis, we are hoping to catch this in the infancy of what could be a lot worse, and try to rectify it in the DL period."

Hunter said he hadn't been hampered by the injury prior to Wednesday, so it's not a reason for his recent struggles on the mound. He converted 10 of his first 11 save opportunities, but blew his last two and his failure to have a clean inning became a concern. Hunter allowed 11 earned runs on 25 hits, five walks and a hit batsman over 16 1/3 innings.

"There's really no excuses for those [games]," Hunter said. "Sorry. That's what everybody is fishing for. I apologize. I can't give you any of those answers."

To take Hunter's spot on the 25-man roster, the Orioles recalled right-hander Preston Guilmet from Triple-A Norfolk. Given that it was an injury situation, the club did not have to wait the required 10-day window to recall Guilmet, who gives the O's another right-handed relief option.

The 26-year-old, who had three days off before throwing 13 pitches on Wednesday, has appeared in two games for the Orioles, striking out three in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. In 15 games for Norfolk, Guilmet was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA over 18 innings.

Johan getting closer to making rehab start

Johan Santana signs Minor League deal with Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Johan Santana will likely make one more extended spring start before he goes out on a rehab assignment, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Thursday.

"I think that was the plan," Showalter said. "Whether that gets jumped up or not, I don't know."

Santana pitched his longest outing to date on Thursday, throwing four innings in extended spring. The lefty threw 10 additional pitches after that to get up to 58 overall. His velocity, which has been in the mid-to-upper 80s in previous outings, was also good, although Showalter wouldn't divulge an exact number.

"[He] threw the ball well," Showalter said. "Highest he's been [velocity-wise]."

Rehab assignments for pitchers can last up to 30 days, although there are ways around that if Santana were to have a setback. So far, it's been nothing but positive as the former Cy Young Award winner works his way back from a second shoulder surgery in three years.

Signed to a Minor League deal with incentives this spring, Santana is hoping to be a starting option for the Orioles by June.

Davis expected to go on paternity leave Sunday

Must C Classic: Davis goes deep three times vs. Bucs

BALTIMORE -- Chris Davis is tentatively scheduled to miss Sunday's game against the Indians at Camden Yards for the birth of his first child.

Davis' wife, Jill, is scheduled to induce labor on Sunday if she doesn't have the baby before then. Davis would miss that game, along with Monday afternoon's series opener in Milwaukee before rejoining the team.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Thursday that Davis will go on the paternity list, which is a minimum one day and maximum of three, and the O's will be allowed to add another player during that time. They'd like an extra bat, with infielders Steve Lombardozzi and Jemile Weeks strong options, but it will also depend on what their pitching situation is like at the time.

Davis entered Thursday's game hitting .286 and six homers and 21 RBIs. He would rejoin the team Monday night and play Tuesday if everything goes according to plan.

Worth noting

• Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and his wife, Amy, welcomed a baby boy named Colt early Thursday morning.

• With Hunter going to the DL, the O's were able to keep Brad Brach on the roster. Brach, who was a candidate to be optioned, threw a career-high four scoreless innings and was a bright spot in Wednesday's game. He said Thursday he felt better than he anticipated, considering he hadn't gone four innings in a game since college. Showalter said with the way Brach throws, the O's think he could be available as soon as Friday.

• Ravens kicker Justin Tucker will throw out the first pitch in Saturday afternoon's game.

• On Sunday, fans can join the USO, Darren and Elizabeth O'Day and OriolesREACH for a barbecue and Orioles game to support the troops. Net proceeds will go directly to USO programs. The BBQ starts at noon and tickets can be purchased at www.orioles.com/community.