For the third consecutive game, Orioles manager Dave Trembley shuffled the top of his lineup, swapping No. 2 hitter Adam Jones with No. 3 hitter Nick Markakis.
With left-hander Jason Vargas on the mound for the Seattle Mariners, Trembley said he wanted to break up his left-handed and right-handed hitters and try something different against a lefty. Heading into Tuesday, the Orioles were batting .259 against left-handers, 10th of 14 teams in the American League.
"We have not hit very well against left-handed pitching. I don't think that is a secret," Trembley said. "We have proven guys that I am confident are going to break out of this thing, and we're going to get back to where we were."
The Orioles are getting worse each month against lefties. They batted .268 (57-for-212) with five homers and 32 RBIs in April, .255 (79-for-309) with nine homers and 37 RBIs in May and .247 (25-for-101) with two homers and three RBIs so far this month.
"I would like to break the lineup up as best as I can against left-handed pitching to see if we can find a spark and to get guys going," Trembley said. "Whether it is a permanent or temporary thing, let's play for a while and let's see where it goes."
Trembley switched Jones and Markakis for the first time Saturday against the Oakland Athletics' Trevor Cahill. On Sunday, he rested leadoff hitter Brian Roberts and cleanup hitter Aubrey Huff.
Trembley is looking for anything to help a suddenly punchless offense that has batted a league-worst .214 with a woeful .243 on-base percentage in six June games. Roberts, Markakis, Huff and third baseman Melvin Mora - four of the Orioles' five top hitters - hit just .167 in 84 at-bats since their 1-5 road trip started June 1.
"Brian Roberts is an All-Star player, Aubrey Huff has knocked in over 100 [runs], Nick Markakis is a .300 hitter," Trembley said. "All of those guys have their peaks and valleys. Everybody does. But who they are and what they are, the proof of the pudding, will be at the end of the year."
Not worried about Wieters
Catcher Matt Wieters, who was promoted May 29, is among the Orioles who have struggled at the plate. He had as many hits (four) in his first 28 big league at-bats as he did in his last game at Triple-A on May 26. Heading into Tuesday, he was batting .143 and his only extra-base hits came in the same game, May 30.
But Trembley has no concerns about the super-prospect.
"I don't see him chasing pitches out of the strike zone," Trembley said. "I see he has probably gotten tested very early by seeing pitching he did not see in Triple-A. He is seeing guys throw low to high 90s it seems like every night that he has played. I think he will be just fine."
Sarfate '100 times better'
On the disabled list since May 3 because of a circulatory condition in his right hand, Orioles reliever Dennis Sarfate continued his throwing program Monday, making two sets of 25 throws from 60 feet. He's hoping to move to 90 feet next week and graduate to throwing off the mound soon. The ultimate goal is for Sarfate to make a rehabilitation start on July 2.
Sarfate said that not only does his hand feel better, but the extra time off has also given his surgically repaired shoulder more time to heal.
"I feel like I'm back to where I was at last year with my arm strength," Sarfate said. "Everything is coming out good. My shoulder is actually stronger than it was. It gave it more time to heal after the surgery. I don't think I was ready to go when I got to spring training as much I did throw and all that. I just feel like it's giving me some extra rest and I've let the surgery heal and take its course. I feel 100 times better."
Shortstop Cesar Izturis, who is also on the DL after having an appendectomy Friday, went home to Miami and will rejoin the club and see team doctors next week.
Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.