Markakis on track for return after All-Star break
Catcher Teagarden begins rehab assignment in Gulf Coast League
SEATTLE -- The reports on Nick Markakis' first few batting practice sessions have been positive, and the Orioles remain optimistic the right fielder will be activated immediately after the All-Star break.
"That's what the hope is," manager Buck Showalter said of Markakis, who is tentatively scheduled to start playing in rehab games for Double-A Bowie on Thursday or Friday.
Markakis, who has been working out with Class A Short-Season Aberdeen, will join catcher Taylor Teagarden and possibly left fielder Endy Chavez as Baltimore hopes to get a boost after the break with the return of several healthy players.
Teagarden started his rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League on Monday and is slated to catch for Double-A Bowie Friday after serving at designated hitter the day before that. Acquired in an offseason trade with Texas, Teagarden has been sidelined since the spring with a lower back injury. If he can prove he's healthy, he is expected to replace Ronny Paulino as the team's backup catcher.
"We wouldn't take him from the Gulf Coast league to here," Showalter said when asked if the team was considering easing Teagarden back in with extended time in the Minors. "But if we get him catching three or four games [with Bowie] if you think about what he might do here, we aren't going to be catching him every day. Hope not. Not that he's bad, but it means something's the matter with Matt [Wieters]."
Chavez (left hamstring strain) is behind both Markakis and Teagarden with his progression but has been cleared to run and participate in baseball activities at the team's spring facility in Sarasota, Fla.
Roberts to visit hip specialist in Baltimore
SEATTLE -- Brian Roberts flew back to Baltimore on Wednesday morning, and the second baseman will see a hip specialist and undergo an MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiogram) on the area to help the Orioles further diagnose his injury.
Roberts was put on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain prior to Tuesday's game, although manager Buck Showalter said the team isn't sure what they're dealing with yet. An MRA is similar to an MRI except contrast dye is injected into the area for a clearer picture. Roberts had an MRI on Tuesday that Showalter said was "pretty good, all things considered."
This is the second trip to the DL for Roberts this season, and it is an all-too-familiar scenario for the Orioles, who have had their leadoff hitter -- and longest tenured current player -- for just 115 games over the past three seasons.
Roberts made his season debut on June 12 after being activated off the 60-day DL, a triumphant return in which he went 3-for-4 with an RBI in his first Major League game since May 16, 2011. But he struggled to keep up that momentum, hitting the DL with a .182 batting average, five RBIs and two runs scored in 17 games.
The Orioles will go with an internal starter for Friday's game, which eliminates lefty Zach Britton, who would line up to pitch that day for Triple-A Norfolk. Dana Eveland is an option, as well as Miguel Gonzalez, according Showalter. While Gonzalez isn't being considered as a rotation candidate, he could make the spot start. Jason Hammel will pitch Saturday, and Wei-Yin Chen will go on Sunday.
Adam Jones hit his 20th home run of the season in the second inning of Wednesday's game, marking his second consecutive 20-homer season. The 26-year-old Jones did not record his 20th homer last year until Aug. 6.
Rookie Xavier Avery collected a career-high three hits in Tuesday's win after being activated just prior to game time. Avery is in his third stint with Baltimore and is hoping to use the experience in his favor.
"I saw how guys were pitching me [last time]," he said. "So when I went down to [Triple-A] Norfolk, I focused on hitting the ball the other way. It's starting to show. When I was down there I hit a lot of balls the other way. That's mainly what I started to work on more."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.