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Orioles news and notes: Fox, Scott, Pie, Bedard

For those who were clamoring for manager Buck Showalter to pinch hit Jake Fox for Luke Scott in the eighth inning yesterday against lefty Aaron Laffey, consider the following: Fox is 3-for-28 against left-handed pitching this season. He's also a .206 career hitter against southpaws with 41 strikeouts in 204 at-bats. Scott has obviously struggled against left-handed pitchers this season, going 2-for-27 with 10 strikeouts. Those two hits were both home runs. For his career, he's a .236 hitter against lefties. Just one man's opinion, but I'm still taking my chances with Scott over Fox at this point.

Speaking of Fox, it will be really interesting to see what happens when first baseman Derrek Lee is activated from the disabled list, which could happen later this week or early next week. The Orioles have options, especially since they are carrying a nine-man bullpen. But it has already been a struggle to get Fox at-bats, and I can't see where he would get opportunities with Lee back on the 25-man roster. It's obvious that Showalter prefers Craig Tatum as the backup catcher, and I don't see Fox getting time in left field, not with Scott, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold still on the roster. I would think there would be enough interest in Fox, who could be a valuable bench player if used in the right role, where the Orioles could at least get something back in a trade before they would designate him for assignment. I'm not saying that's the likely result, but it is hard to foresee where he fits when Lee's back.

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With Reimold swinging the bat really well and Pie adding the occasional spark, would now be the right time just to shut Scott down and have him get the surgery to repair the tear in his right labrum? The thought has crossed my mind, too, but Scott said yesterday that while he's immensely frustrated by his inability to get hot, he's still not even considering surgery until after the season ends. The temporary move to first base in Lee's absence has been a welcome change for Scott because throwing the ball is very painful. However, Scott is going to have to deal with it when he heads back to left field upon Lee's return.

I mention this only because I brought it up on one of the blogs yesterday, but it appeared that Pie forgot how many outs there were again in the Orioles' series-opening loss to the Mariners. With Pie on first base with two outs in the third inning, J.J. Hardy lofted a ball that was caught in right-center field. Pie stopped about three-fourths of the way to second base and started watching the ball before it had even gotten to Ichiro Suzuki's glove. Pie is one of my favorite Orioles to watch and deal with because he's such a character and an excitable personality, so I'm certainly not picking on him. However, these are the types of things that are going to drive Showalter crazy and get Pie even fewer opportunities to play. He has forgotten how many outs there were twice on this road trip, and he also committed a bad base-running miscue on the last homestand in the blowout loss to the Washington Nationals.

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I'm sure Orioles fans, who are tired of watching their team get shut down by any left-hander with a pulse, are dreading it. However, I'm looking forward to watching Erik Bedard pitch tonight for the Mariners. I haven't really seen Bedard healthy and at his best since he was the Orioles' ace in 2007. Although I never had any problems dealing with him, he wasn't a huge favorite of the Baltimore media -- and I'm probably understating things. But when he was on, there was no better pitcher to watch. His complete-game, two-hit, 15-strikeout performance against the Texas Rangers that season was probably the most dominant pitching performance I've ever covered, and that included Clay Buchholz's no-hitter against the Orioles that same season. There's always going to be skepticism because of Bedard's injury history, but all signs suggest he has moved beyond some of his shoulder issues. He has thrown 15 consecutive scoreless innings, and since falling to 0-4 with a 7.71 ERA after a loss to the Detroit Tigers on April 20, Bedard is 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA over his past five starts. He has also struck out 28 batters over his past 33 innings.

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