Hot Markakis won't stay 9th

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Rookie's move up in batting order just matter of time

Penn on horizon

August 16, 2006|By JEFF ZREBIEC | JEFF ZREBIEC,SUN REPORTER

NEW YORK -- It likely won't happen the next couple of days here, but it appears that it is only a matter of time before rookie Nick Markakis finds a different home in the Orioles' batting order.

Despite taking a major league-best .402 average since June 28 into last night's series opener with the New York Yankees, Markakis has been batting almost exclusively in the Nos. 8 or 9 hole. However, manager Sam Perlozzo said that he has discussed pushing him up in the order with Orioles executive vice president Mike Flanagan and vice president Jim Duquette, and a move could be made shortly.

"We're talking about it a little bit," Perlozzo said. "There is a good chance that it will happen sometime. I don't know that I want it to happen in New York. ... If he keeps hitting, he's going to be up there somewhere."

Perlozzo said the club is considering several spots for Markakis, who entered last night with the second-highest batting average (.301) and third-highest on-base percentage (.364) among Orioles regulars.

"I don't know where ... would be the best," Perlozzo said. "I don't know if it is second, third, fifth, sixth. Then somebody else has to hit ninth, not that that should be a major concern. ... I'm not saying that it's necessary to have it happen in the next three, four or five days or the next eight weeks. Maybe it happens the last week or two of the season. I don't know. Maybe he stays there the whole season. We want him to have a good year."

Caution with Penn

Orioles officials insist there is nothing wrong with Hayden Penn and they are just being extra cautious with their top pitching prospect. Penn's arrival to the big league club has been expected for a while now after his stay on the disabled list after an appendectomy.

But the 21-year-old remains at Triple-A Ottawa, where club officials say he is making progress rebuilding his arm and leg strength. Penn was hit hard yesterday, giving up five earned runs, including two home runs, in 7 2/3 innings against Rochester. He did strike out eight and walk none, rebounding nicely from a tough beginning.

In his previous two starts, the young right-hander allowed two earned runs and seven hits over 15 innings.

"Each outing he gets stronger and more consistent," said David Stockstill, the Orioles' director of minor league operations. "It takes time to get your rhythm and mechanics back when you have a month off in the middle of the season. I think he is getting very close to helping the big league club."

Said Duquette: "I think it's going to be sooner rather than later for the kid. He's going to be up soon."

Newhan close to rehab

On the disabled list since April after fracturing his right fibula, David Newhan will work out and take batting practice with his teammates for the next two nights, and if all goes well, the utility man could go on a rehab assignment by the end of the week.

"It feels pretty good," he said yesterday after taking batting practice. "I've been running the bases, hitting, fielding. I am doing everything I can to get back."

Snyder to have surgery

After a second opinion confirmed the initial diagnosis of a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder, catcher Brandon Snyder, the Orioles' No. 1 draft pick last season, is set to have surgery within the next week.

Stockstill said that Snyder will be out for about nine months, but the Orioles are hopeful it could be slightly less because the tear is in Snyder's non-throwing shoulder.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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