So who bats third for the Orioles now?

I’ll make two fearless predictions about the Orioles now that we know Nick Markakis is headed to the disabled list and set for surgery on his right wrist Friday morning.

I think there is a good chance that J.J. Hardy will be moved to the third spot in the batting order and I will guess that Lew Ford gets called up from Triple-A to take Markakis’ roster spot.

Maybe we will see some combination of Robert Andino, Endy Chavez, Ryan Flaherty and Steve Tolleson in those top two batting spots in the order. Xavier Avery could jump back in at leadoff if he gets called back to the team.

But Hardy moving to the three-hole seems a logical move. It would probably give the Orioles their best middle of the order for now with Hardy, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters hitting 3-4-5.

We could certainly see Chris Davis hit there, as he did last night or maybe Mark Reynolds, whose bat seems to be heating up, gets in there some.

But over his last 23 games, Hardy is batting .337 with seven doubles, a triple, six homers and 16 RBIs. That is 14 extra-base hits over a 23-game stretch. Hardy is hitting for average and power right now and having him bat third sure looks like the O’s best play to me.

Meanwhile, does this injury change the plan to send Avery to Triple-A to get his bat going again? We’ll see. Jai Miller, if he is bypassed this time, has missed a golden chance this year to get to Baltimore by hitting .197 with 80 strikeouts over 152 at-bats.

Ford, who has not played in the majors since 2007, is batting .370 with two homers and six RBIs in 12 games with Norfolk since the O’s signed him. He is DHing tonight and has already homered in Pawtucket. He has a hot bat right now and seems like a logical callup. He is not on the 40-man and someone would have to go to get him on the O’s roster right now.

By the way, maybe the Orioles would have some interest in Nate McLouth, who was put on release waivers by the Pirates. He is hitting just .140 this year but is a former All-Star.

Meanwhile L.J. Hoes is starting in right field tonight for Double-A Bowie at Akron after playing center all season. There is some intrigue there and I know the club is quite happy about Hoes’ play this year. It seems a stretch to think he would get the call to Baltimore now, but I know he has impressed the brass and I would not 100 percent rule it out.

He could also be moved to Triple-A to take the spot of a player that would be coming to Baltimore. A lot going on right now, so stayed tuned.

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