Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy can't wait to get injured teammate Nick Markakis back in the lineup.
Markakis, the club's No. 3 hitter, is currently on a brief minor league rehab assignment at Double-A Bowie, and could join the team — barring a setback — for Thursday's workout day before opening the second half of the season. He's been on the disabled list since June 1 recovering from surgery to remove a broken piece of the hamate bone in his right wrist.
"A lot," Hardy said when asked how much Markakis' return will help. "He's a great hitter; he's always been a great hitter."
Markakis' absence in the lineup has been glaring. Hardy is hitless in his past 19 at-bats following an 0-for-4 afternoon Sunday. He is hitting just .179 with two homers and eight RBIs in 33 games without Markakis in the lineup. Hardy is batting .260 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs in games with Markakis hitting behind him.
Hardy, who has played despite a sore right throwing shoulder, had a streaky first half. He was hitting just .181 on April 29, but caught fire through May and into early June.
Following the Orioles' 6-0 loss to the Angels, Hardy said he was looking forward to a break.
"I think the rest is everything," he said. "I think it will be fine four days from now, we'll come back and be refreshed and this first half will be behind us."
Wieters gets day off from catching
Matt Wieters received a day off from catching in Sunday's final game before the break, a move that had less to do with him catching in theAll-Star Game on Tuesday and more to do with the Orioles wanting their franchise backstop to get more rest.
"It has to do with him catching a whole lot," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's a very precious commodity for us and we're going to continue to monitor that. I've seen some managers, they have a guy who was in an all-star game and they let him pick a day [to have off] when he comes back.
"I'm not sure if I want to float that out there for anybody. But for our guys who are going, they probably wouldn't want it."
Wieters batted third as the starting designated hitter, going 1-for-4.
All-Star Game plans
Showalter said he'd watch the All-Star festivities on TV, but only "with the sound off."
"I'll watch for our guys," he said. "I'm not a big [fan of] the home-run derby thing. It's for the fans. I'll probably flip it on, but I won't be going through the pregame because I've been a part of the pregame before. It's a great event. It's still the best all-star game in all of sports and they do a good job with it for the fans. It's important, I hope it's important for us."
Around the horn
The Orioles have lost eight of the past nine season series against the Angels since 2004, with the only win coming in a 6-0 sweep in 2010. … The Orioles will enter the second half having been shut out in back-to-back games. They were shut out for three straight games just once in franchise history (1957). … Robert Andino's double to lead off the game was the Orioles' first extra-base hit to open a game since May 14 against the Yankees, when Xavier Avery led off with a double. It was also the first time the Orioles got any hit to open a game since Brian Roberts' single June 22 against the Nationals. … Dylan Bundy threw a scoreless inning in the MLB Futures Game, but allowed three hits.
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