McLouth won’t be left on the bench tonight

The Orioles will face right-handers in five of the final six games on this West Coast trip, and you know what that means.

Nate McLouth will be in the starting lineup in five of the final six games on this West Coast trip.

McLouth is pretty much in a platoon situation despite his red-hot bat. Nolan Reimold has been starting in left field against southpaws, with Steve Pearce serving as the designated hitter.

Before last night, McLouth had reached base safely in 22 of his last 36 plate appearances and was batting .517 (15-for-29) in his last nine games, with seven walks and 13 runs scored. From the leadoff spot, McLouth was batting .368 (25-for-68) with 12 walks.

It didn’t matter last night. He sat against Mariners left-hander Joe Saunders, and he may do the same on Friday against Angels southpaw Jason Vargas.

McLouth is 1-for-2 with an RBI against Vargas. Reimold is 3-for-9 with a double and home run. Steve Pearce has never faced him.

I know what you’re thinking. Put McLouth in left field and DH Reimold.

McLouth has only 10 plate appearances against left-handers going into tonight. He’s batting .200/.200/.500 with his only home run Saturday off Oakland’s Jeremy Blevins. In 79 plate appearances against right-handers, he’s batting .375/.487/.484.

For his career, McLouth is batting .261/.351/.449 against right-handers and .222/.302/.348 against lefties.

So, is McLouth sizzling this month because he’s mostly been platooned, or should he not be platooned because he’s sizzling this month? That’s the real question here.

I like him atop the order. I also like Nick Markakis atop the order. The Orioles aren’t suffering either way. And I really like McLouth’s defense in left field.

It would be difficult for me to sit him if I were making that call, but it’s not like the Orioles are facing a succession of left-handers. His down time is limited. And whatever’s being done with him is working out wonderfully.

Jumping topics, I was trying to decide yesterday whether the Dylan Bundy news was good or disappointing. Maybe a little of both.

It’s good that Dr. James Andrews didn’t recommend surgery, which so often happens when a player visits him. I’m thinking it even happens if the visit is for a backyard barbeque and a dip in his pool.

It’s disappointing that more than just rest was recommended, that Bundy won’t be picking up a ball this week and resuming a throwing program. He’s looking at six weeks rest after his PRP injection. Then he’s got to build up his arm before he can actually pitch for Double-A Bowie this summer.

Bundy could still make it back to Camden Yards this season, but right now, the only goal is to get him completely healthy and back to firing upper-90s fastballs.

I don’t care about his time to home plate. I want to see the old velocity. Get him right. Get him back to being Dylan Bundy, the top pitching prospect in baseball.

Note: As expected, the Orioles optioned catcher Luis Exposito after last night’s game to make room for new backup Chris Snyder. However, they still must create room on the 40-man roster.

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