A little of this, a little of that

According to various reports, the Orioles are still scouting starting pitchers and have been keeping close tabs on the Houston Astros.

Not a big surprise, since executive vice president Dan Duquette is always in the market for pitching. He goes to an actual market and has "left-hander" listed after "bananas" and "milk."

If he succeeds in bringing in another starter, it would have to be as a replacement for Jason Hammel. It's not like Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez and Scott Feldman are fighting to hold onto their respective spots. And the Orioles probably won't go to a six-man rotation, though it's an intriguing idea.

The next issue would be making room for Hammel in the bullpen - assuming that would be his destination. And yes, it's all speculation at this point. The Orioles may not bring in another starter. Hammel may go on a tear. Just tossing around ideas here.

The Orioles currently have eight guys in the bullpen. It's getting kind of crowded in there. Imagine trying to squeeze in Hammel. A relieve most likely would have to be dealt.

The Orioles held onto Jairo Asencio yesterday and went with a short bench, but it will be hard to keep him. At some point, they will return to seven relievers, and Asencio would have to be designated for assignment.

As for all the angst over the Erik Bedard rumors, I'll just point out that yesterday's FOXSports.com report didn't suggest that the Orioles are going hard after the left-hander. It had a rival executive saying he thought the Orioles were still looking to make a trade, or considering a bunch of stuff. However it was worded. They must be scouting the Astros, but Bedard isn't their only available pitcher.

I can't imagine the Orioles bringing him back into the organization unless they want to dangle him in front of the Mariners again. They don't need a starter who fails to work deep into games. They sure as heck don't need another lefty in their bullpen. And they don't need him to serve as Executive Vice President of Clubhouse Morale.

Bedard could be the face of the franchise. It would just be a smirk.

What the Orioles really need is for Manny Machado to hit a double. It's no longer automatic. He hasn't gotten one since July 6.

Get us hooked and then take them away. That's just not right.

Chris Davis hasn't homered since the All-Star break. I doubt that the Home Run Derby messed up his swing. It did a number on his right hand, but he claimed that he pops a blister once a year and it's no big deal.

Brian Roberts has four two-hit games in the last eight games.

Matt Wieters has 11 hits in his last 25 at-bats over six games. And he won't rest again until Sunday afternoon. Promise.

Henry Urrutia has five hits since the Orioles selected his contract on Friday. Four of them have gone to left field, including last night's single.

What's it mean? Maybe nothing, except he's not obsessed with pulling the ball.

Are the Royals willing to trade Billy Butler yet? The Orioles would pounce. But what would it take to get him?

Lemme guess: Young pitching prospects.

Biggest second-guess from last night: Chen staying in the game in the eighth inning to face Eric Hosmer, who hit his second home run to tie the score. Runner-up second-guess: Machado's bunts.

Gonzalez, who takes the mound tonight, is 3-3 with a 2.93 ERA and seven quality starts in his nine road starts this season, but the Orioles are only 3-6 in those games. In his only career outing against the Royals on Aug. 10, 2012 at Camden Yards, Gonzalez earned the win by allowing one run (a Salvador Perez home run) and six hits over eight innings.

I wrote on Tuesday that a few teams were interested in outfielder Chris Dickerson, designated for assignment last week, and Duquette was trying to work out a trade. He remains optimistic that it can happen.

Too late for a Bobblehead Night?

How many fans want an Orioles-Pirates World Series? Third time's the charm.

Triple-A Norfolk's LJ Hoes walked twice last night and now has more walks (55) than strikeouts (53) this season.

Charlie Haeger starts today for Pawtucket, the third straight knuckleballer to pitch at Norfolk's Harbor Park following Steven Wright's appearance for Pawtucket on Tuesday and Eddie Gamboa's start for the Tides last night.

Has to be some sort of record.

Somewhere, Phil Niekro is breathing heavily.

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