McLouth proving to be a bargain

The Orioles woke up this morning in Oakland while I woke up in Sykesville.

I'm having separation anxiety.

I'm completely detached from the Orioles for the first time since Feb. 11. We're on a break.

They're going to face a right-hander tonight, Jarrod Parker, who's 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA. Without seeing the lineup, I'm fairly confident that Nate McLouth will return to left field and the leadoff spot.

McLouth is 2-for-3 with a home run against Parker, but his career stats don't matter. He's pretty much the leadoff hitter against right-handers this season.

McLouth reached base in his first four plate appearances yesterday, collecting two hits and scoring three runs, and he lined out in his fifth to end the ninth inning and strand the potential winning run. He's reached base in 12 of his last 19 plate appearances and raised his average to .293.

It's becoming easier to figure out why manager Buck Showalter wanted the Orioles to re-sign McLouth, and why Tampa Bay tried so hard to steal him away. He gave the team another leadoff option, a threat on the bases and a plus-defender in left field

"Nate had a great game - defensively, all the way around," Showalter said after yesterday's 6-5, 11-inning loss. "Squared up a lot of guys - left-handed, right-handed. Nate had a good game.

"I asked him in spring training in a perfect world, where would you want to hit. I think Nate just tries to bring what you need. It's obvious the ball was jumping today. There were some balls I wasn't sure were going out that ended up being no-doubters. Nate's been solid. He's a baseball player. He brings it every day."

The Orioles are paying McLouth $2 million this season. He can become a free agent again over the winter and go for a much bigger payday.

It's a win-win for both sides. That's good business.

Adam Jones is 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs against Parker.

The Orioles will make a roster move later today. They need a reliever and they have room on their 25-man roster after optioning starter Josh Stinson.

Zach Clark and Mike Belfiore are on the 40-man roster. But Belfiore threw two innings yesterday, and Clark (UMBC) has a 6.27 ERA in four starts, with 26 hits allowed in 18 2/3 innings.

Tides closer Jairo Asencio intrigues Showalter. He's got a plus-changeup. He's also got a 1.29 ERA and five saves in seven games. He's allowed one run and three hits, with no walks nine strikeouts.

Very intriguing.

Asencio isn't on the 40-man roster, but Showalter always says that making room isn't an issue.

Left-hander Daniel Schlereth isn't on the 40-man either, but he's 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in five relief appearances.


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