Updates on Markakis, the bullpen and more (Hammel to start Friday)

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis and wife Christina are the proud parents of a baby boy, Toby, born this afternoon in Baltimore. Toby Markakis weighs 8 pounds.

“Everything seems to be fine,” Showalter said. “I can tell how tired Nicky was because he texted 7 pounds and 16 ounces. That is 8 pounds, right? That’s a big boy.”

Markakis was waiting for his sister-in-law to arrive at the hospital before heading to Camden Yards, if he’s comfortable leaving after talking to the doctors.

He’s been at the hospital since 4 a.m., but he’ll probably try to talk Showalter into putting him in the lineup.

“I’m sure he’ll walk in and try to plead his case, so we’ll see,” Showalter said.

Showalter said he doesn’t expect the Orioles to add another reliever despite having at least two in the bullpen who are dealing with physical ailments. He won’t disclose the names, but as I wrote this morning, I’ve heard that Darren O’Day is experiencing some tingling in the fingers on his pitching hand that may be originating from his elbow.

O’Day has pitched twice since Aug. 28, most recently throwing two innings Saturday.

Showalter didn’t use O’Day or Tommy Hunter in the eighth inning last night. He wanted to lay off Hunter after using him in five games this month. Also, Troy Patton has pitched once since Aug. 31.

“We had some where there was a specific physical ailment that kept them from pitching, and there were some that, like Tommy had five or six out of his last nine,” Showalter said. “Felt like we needed to stay away from him last night. And we had another situation that wasn’t related to work load.”

Asked if it’s continuing, Showalter replied, “I don’t know yet. I’m going to check on that when the dust clears and see where we are with it today.

“I know you guys can probably figure it out. I’m not going to talk about who it is and when it is. I think you all are smart enough to figure it out if you don’t see them for a few days where you’d normally see them.”

Rosters can be expanded this month, but the Orioles apparently will stay with their current group of relievers.

“No, we’re fine right now,” Showalter said. “If we can’t get by with 11, somebody’s grossly mismanaging it, which I can do that, too. We’re in good shape physically.”

Triple-A manager Ron Johnson has been added to the coaching staff. He could alternate sitting on the bench during games with Tides pitching coach Mike Griffin.

“I’ve had so many guys ask me when Ronny was coming,” Showalter said. “His wife said it was time for him to leave. Said he made amends with his horse. He had been wondering where he had been. But he’s a good addition for us at a good time. I know I enjoy talking to him.

“Ronny’s never had a bad day in baseball. And I bounce a lot of things off him. I like talking to him about the players he’s seen, not only on our team, but other teams down there. He’s a great resource for information, a great evaluator. And he calls it like it is. And I think his bluntness is a reminder how much players, down deep, really enjoy that. There’s no agenda. We’re lucky to have Ronny. I can’t imagine having a better Triple-A manager than him.”

The Orioles have struck out 10 or more batters in each of the last four games, tying the club record set on June 7-9, 1966.

The Orioles recorded 12 strikeouts in each of their last three games against the Yankees for the first time in franchise history.

The Orioles will join Major League Baseball to commemorate the 12th anniversary of Sept. 11 by wearing special caps with the American flag for tonight’s game against the New York Yankees.

The game-worn, autographed and authenticated hats will be auctioned online at www.orioles.com/auction beginning at 7 p.m. tonight, with all proceeds to benefit the Frank J. Battaglia Signal 13 Foundation, which provides financial assistance to Baltimore Police Department personnel who suffer extreme personal emergencies.

The auction will be open until Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 11:59 p.m.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series in Toronto:

Friday: Bud Norris (10-11, 4.12 ERA) vs. Todd Redmond (3-2, 4.40 ERA)
Saturday: Chris Tillman (16-5, 3.66 ERA) vs. Esmil Rogers (5-7, 4.46 ERA)
Sunday: Miguel Gonzalez (9-7, 4.00) vs. Mark Buehrle (11-8, 4.18 ERA)

For the Yankees
Brett Gardner CF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Curtis Granderson RF
Mark Reynolds 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Brendan Ryan SS
Chris Stewart C

Andy Pettitte LHP

Update: Right-hander Jason Hammel will now start on Friday against the Blue Jays instead of Norris. The Orioles have not provided an explanation for the change. Showalter should explain the change after tonight’s game.

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