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Hughes needs to heat up, no word on roster moves

First baseman Rhyne Hughes was not in the lineup on Sunday in the Orioles' 6-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins despite the fact that right-hander Nick Blackburn was on the mound for the home team. It marked the first time in 15 games since his April 24 promotion that Hughes was not in the lineup against a right-handed starter.

That's obviously not a good sign for Hughes, though Orioles manager Dave Trembley did say that "we'll continue to try and get him some at-bats." And Garrett Atkins isn't exactly knocking the cover off the ball either.

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The Orioles are waiting for Hughes to make some adjustments and get out of his slump. Since going 4-for-9 in his first two games following his callup, Hughes is 5-for-29 with 13 strikeouts, his average dropping to .237. He went 1-for-11 on the road trip, and is probably unlikely to be in the lineup tonight with ace lefty Cliff Lee on the mound for the Seattle Mariners.

"Word travels fast in the big leagues," Trembley said. "There are so many different scouting services and things to look at. There are so many advanced things here. He's getting pitched a little different. It's his move. It's like a chess match, it's his move now. We will see how it goes. He started out good, now they made some adjustments with him and he has to make some adjustments. But he has to stick with his strengths. He's pretty much a low ball hitter. We'll continue to try to get him some at-bats."

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Hughes, 26, was promoted because he was Triple-A Norfolk's hottest hitter (.353 avg., 3 homers and 11 RBIs), and because of his power potential. But of his nine hits in the big leagues, only two of them are for extra bases and they were both doubles. Hughes, who belted 25 homers in the minors last year, has hit very few balls hard.

"I'm still waiting for him and a couple of other guys to get their first [homer]," Trembley said. It's different there. This is the big leagues. If people find a certain way they can get you out, they are going to keep repeating it."

Hughes may not be in as much danger of getting sent out as perhaps outfielder Lou Montanez is, but I've heard nothing over the last 24 hours that leads me to believe there will be a roster move before tonight's game. As of a couple of hours ago, the people I spoke with said that they weren't aware of anything. That doesn't necessarily mean something won't happen closer to the game, but nothing was in motion earlier this afternoon.

Obviously, Trembley will probably address that later when he meets with reporters around 4 p.m. Just a guess, but perhaps with lefties starting the next two nights for Seattle (Lee, and Rowland-Smith), team officials didn't feel the need to bring up a left-handed outfielder like Corey Patterson. Again, just a guess, I'm not saying I agree with that, or that's the reasoning.

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