A noteworthy morning

Baseball returns to Camden Yards tonight after yesterday’s break.

Get used to them. The Orioles have five open dates in June.

Did you see that Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche went on the disabled list yesterday with a torn labrum in his left shoulder?

LaRoche is batting .172 with three homers in 43 games. He’s always been a slow starter, and playing all season with a torn labrum wasn’t going to reverse that tendency.

Derrek Lee’s also on the disabled list. He’s batting .231 with four homers and a .346 slugging percentage. Carlos Pena’s batting .216 with five homers and a .360 slugging percentage for the Cubs. Adam Dunn’s batting .194 with four homers, 58 strikeouts and a .347 slugging percentage with the White Sox.


The Orioles made offers to Lee (of course), LaRoche and Dunn. They didn’t make one to Pena.

My friend Jeff Zrebiec at The Sun wrote about Craig Tatum yesterday, and I’ll piggyback on that idea because I’m in complete agreement. Tatum will likely be the next roster move for the Orioles. And let’s face it, they’re due for another one after letting a few days pass.

Tatum is off the disabled list and back in Triple-A Norfolk’s lineup. He caught again last night. The Orioles could recall him before heading to the West Coast, allowing Jake Fox to be used more in a utility role.

With Nolan Reimold on the roster, Luke Scott is freed up to play first base while Lee’s on the disabled list. Fox also can play first, which could push Brandon Snyder back to Norfolk.

Snyder can get steady at-bats in the minors and hopefully force his way back onto the roster later this summer.

I’ve written how Brad Bergesen isn’t listed among the probable starters for the Royals series. Zach Britton goes tonight, Jake Arrieta tomorrow and Jeremy Guthrie on Thursday. Manager Buck Showalter hasn’t confirmed that Bergesen’s been skipped, but the pitcher picture should become clearer this afternoon.

Bergesen should be available in long relief, along with Alfredo Simon. Not that I expect Britton to make an early exit tonight.

In six home starts, Britton is 3-1 with a 1.45 ERA in 41 innings. Overall, he’s registered seven quality starts among his nine this season and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last two starts covering 16 innings.

This month, Britton is 1-1 with a 1.32 ERA in four starts spanning 27 1/3 innings.

Britton has never faced the Royals, who took two of three games from the Orioles in Kansas City earlier this month. Left-hander Danny Duffy has never faced the Orioles - or anyone else besides the Rangers in his major league debut six days ago.

Duffy, a third-round pick in the 2007 draft, allowed two runs and four hits, and walked six batters, in four-plus innings.

I’d make him throw strikes tonight.

I’d also start Reimold in left field. That’s pretty much a slam dunk.

I was going to suggest Fox at first, but he’s 2-for-24 against left-handers this season. He’s a career .205 hitter against them.

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