Now batting second: Mora

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Perlozzo hopes move from No. 3 will shore up weak spot in order

April 27, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

TORONTO -- Seeking to jump-start his mostly slumping lineup, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo moved Melvin Mora from third to second in the batting order for last night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Perlozzo would prefer batting Mora third and Miguel Tejada cleanup, but said he had to take a chance to get some production from the No. 2 spot. Going into last night, the Orioles' No. 2 hitters had hit .191 with an on-base percentage of .258. Only the eighth spot in the order had given the club less production.

Without David Newhan, who was hitting second before breaking his leg on April 17, Orioles No. 2 batters had a .159 batting average through Tuesday's games.

Last night, Mora went 1-for-3 with a walk.

"I'd say [Mora is] probably going to be there for a little while," Perlozzo said. "With the absence of Newhan, no one's been really able [to produce from the No. 2 spot]. We've tried a few guys ... and it just doesn't look like it's going to work. I just feel like it's time to get ahead and shoot [Mora] back up there."

Mora batted second 81 times in 2005.

"I'm a teammate," said Mora, who has hit .305 over his career in the No. 2 hole. "I'm just going to go out there and do my swing. I'll just try to get on base for the big guys and move the guys around. I know how to do it."

Not panicking on Markakis

About four hours before last night's game, Nick Markakis and Corey Patterson were on the field at Rogers Centre, taking extra batting practice under the watchful eyes of Perlozzo and hitting coach Terry Crowley.

Markakis, the 22-year-old rookie who did not start yesterday with left-hander Ted Lilly pitching for Toronto, has one hit in his past 15 at-bats, his average since April 16 dropping 57 points to .200. Perlozzo said that the club plans to stick with him, hopeful that he'll work out of his slump in the majors, rather than the minors.

"We've got to go with him for a little bit longer," Perlozzo said. "We'll work with him for some more hitting -- if we need some more -- when we get home. Then we'll have to stick with him for a little bit, I'd think. There's been no talk, to me, on him not being here."

Perlozzo said that it wouldn't be fair to give up on Markakis, especially with so many of the team's veterans also struggling at the plate.

"I think he deserves some more time to get through this," Perlozzo said "We've got some veterans that are hitting less than him that we keep running in there. It's a natural learning progression for him. Hopefully, he'll be able to respond and get out of it."

Tejada enjoying ride

Miguel Tejada thought about it for a minute, trying to remember if he has ever felt this good at the plate over his career for such a prolonged stretch. He couldn't think of any particular time.

"I think it's the hottest I've ever been in my career," said Tejada, whose .425 average leads the major leagues. "I am trying to just do the right thing. I don't try to hit for power. I don't try to hit home runs. I just try to get base hits. I hit better that way."

Before going 1-for-4 last night, Tejada had six straight multi-hit games and had driven in at least one run in each of those games. In his 11-game hitting streak, the shortstop is batting .535 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. He attributed his success to using the entire field.

"I've been working on that every day," Tejada said. "I've been going into the cage and trying to stay to the other field. I am just trying to hit the ball where the ball is at."

Rough outing for Williams

After not giving up any runs in his first three rehab outings for Double-A Bowie, reliever Todd Williams was touched for four hits and two earned runs in an inning yesterday, blowing the save in the Baysox's eventual 3-2 victory over Erie.

"That was his first day of back-to-back," Perlozzo said. "They had a night game [Tuesday] and then they had a 11 a.m. game [yeserday]. The rebound period seems to me to be a natural thing. To me, that's not to panic on."

Perlozzo said that team officials will meet with Williams in Baltimore tomorrow and decide whether he needs another rehab outing or if he's ready to rejoin the team.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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