For the first time in 2012, someone not named Adam Jones is starting in center field for the Orioles. Jones is still in the lineup at designated hitter, but Nate McLouth will be in center for the first time this year. The last time Jones hasn’t started a game in center field was September 19, 2011, a span of 122 straight games, and this is his first career start at DH.
McLouth has started the past two games in left field, batting in the third spot in the lineup for the third straight game after getting called up to Baltimore on Friday.
“I usually try to give guys who go to the All-Star game another day, to give them their true day off,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “But we haven’t really had a spot [to do that] for Jones. Nate has had a lot of experience in center field.”
In other pregame news:
** Utilityman Ryan Flaherty starts a rehab assignment in Triple-A Norfolk on Tuesday, trying to recover from a bacterial infection that landed him on the disabled list last Wednesday.
Flaherty has played six positions with the Orioles, and Showalter thinks the utility role will continue with the Tides, who are currently 4.5 games out of the International League playoffs.
“For me — now someone may think differently and change it — they should play him where it would best help them play a baseball game,” Showalter said. “Center field and catching probably wouldn’t be a good idea, but the rest of them, if that’s where it fits best for the lineup, go for it.”
** Right-hander Jason Hammel said that his rehab is going on schedule after a right knee surgery more than three weeks ago. Hammel threw off the front of the mound yesterday, and said he didn’t feel any pain this morning.
He will throw an undetermined amount of pitches off the actual mound tomorrow during the Orioles' off day, in hopes to return to the rotation by September.
“He said he got up this morning, got out of bed and didn’t even think about it,” Showalter said.
1. Markakis RF
2. Hardy SS
3. McLouth CF
4. Jones DH
5. Ford LF
6. Reynolds 1B
7. Machado 3B
8. Andino 2B
9. Teagarden C
1. Gordon LF
2. Escobar SS
3. Moustakas 3B
4. Butler DH
5. Cain CF
6. Francoeur RF
7. Hosmer 1B
8. Pena C