McLouth could bring a base stealing threat to top of order

There is no question that losing Nick Markakis is a big loss for the Orioles. But one thing they may add to the leadoff spot with Nate McLouth batting there is a base stealing threat atop the order.

McLouth said he has the green light to run and may look to do that more when batting first.

"I think that is a good point (that he can use his speed more batting first). Hitting third, having (Adam) Jones and (Matt) Wieters right behind me, a lot of times you want to let those guys hit. Not risking an out on the basepaths. But this will be a good chance to maybe get in scoring position quicker and be there when those guys come up," he said.

Manager Buck Showalter was asked if McLouth could bring a consistent base stealing threat to the top of the order.

"I'm not going to broadcast that if it is," Showalter said. "You know Nate, you look at his stolen base percentage over his career. He's been a smart guy, too. Nate's a baseball player. He gets the game within the game and is always thinking. He's one of the guys when he puts his hand up to ask a question in an advance meeting you say 'here comes a good one.' He's not going to be asking what time the game starts."

McLouth has made 281 major league starts batting leadoff and that is the spot in the order where he has batted most in his career. He has a career .254 average and .340 on-base percentage there. He has 46 steals from that spot and been caught stealing 12 times.

"I've done it in the past. I literally don't care where I hit in the order. It doesn't affect me one way or the other. Right now, my swing is coming around pretty good and I'm going to take the same approach in whatever slot in the batting order I'm in," he said.

This year with Triple-A Norfolk, McLouth stole 26-of-31 bases and he is 6-for-7 with the Orioles.

McLouth said it has been impressive how the Orioles have responded to adversity this year and now they have to do it again. Just why the club has been able to do that well, though, he can't quite explain.

"To be honest with you, I don't know. You know we don't look too far down the road. Just play today, play the first inning and worry about the second inning when that one is over," McLouth said.

"You can't feel sorry for yourself. You certainly feel for him (Nick) as a person, but now we have to pick ourselves up and play the game. Nick would put a professional at-bat up every time and he's going to be missed."

McLouth is having a good series against the Yankees. He is 5-for-9 with three doubles and two runs scored.

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