BALTIMORE - He found out late Saturday night he was rejoining the Baltimore Orioles, so Danny Valencia did what any ballplayer eager to get back to the major leagues would do - he hopped in his car and made the trip from Norfolk in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Not only did Valencia make his return to the big leagues, he found himself in the starting lineup against Seattle as the Orioles' designated hitter.
And he came through in a big way - Valencia went 2 for 4 with a double and a two-run home run in the sixth inning that gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead.
"It's always nice to be up here. It's where everyone wants to be," said Valencia, who earned the promotion from the Class-AAA Tides and replaced pitcher Steve Johnson after Johnson was sent to Norfolk following Saturday night's game. Valencia said he didn't arrive in Baltimore until around 4 a.m. Sunday.
Valencia was batting .298 with 12 homers and 46 RBIs in 55 games with the Tides. In his two other stints with Baltimore before Sunday, he was hitting .200 with four home runs and eight RBIs in 24 games.
He doubled in the fourth inning after reaching on a fielder's choice in his first at-bat Sunday.
"I think it's all about how much consistent playing time you can get to really get in a groove," Valencia said. "When you're not playing too much, it's very, very difficult, especially up here, to stay in a groove."
At LONG LAST: Wilson Betemit, who has been out since spring training with a right knee injury, is scheduled to begin playing baseball again starting Tuesday. Betemit's first rehab game will take place in the Gulf Coast League.
"I'm dwelling on the fact that, I remember running on the field when he did that and knew that there was no way he just kind of rolled an ankle," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "If you had said he's got a chance to play games in early August, I'd have signed up for it in blood in Sarasota.
"It's been a long road for him. He's had a tough year. He's had some people close to him pass away."
Betemit, 31, hit .261 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs in 102 games with Baltimore a year ago, and was expected to be the Orioles' designated hitter before going down on the base paths during a spring training game in March.
MANNY MANIA: Third baseman Manny Machado hit his 40th double and 10th homer of the season Saturday night, which made him the first Orioles player to reach those numbers as of Aug. 3. Machado is the fifth player since 2000 to achieve the feat, according to STATS (Carlos Delgado, 2000; Garret Anderson, 2002; Dan Uggla, 2007; Chase Utley, 2007).
TEACHER'S PET: Patricia DiLeonardi, a social studies teacher at Liberty High School, was part of a pre-game ceremony honoring the state's teachers of the year for 2012-13. DiLeonardi stood alongside other winners from various counties, and Maryland Teacher of the Year Rhonda Blankenship threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Blankenship earned her Master's degree from McDaniel College in 2005.
UP NEXT: The Orioles are off Monday and heading to the West Coast for an eight-game road trip starting Tuesday with a two-game set in San Diego. Showalter said Bud Norris (7-9) is stating Tuesday and Miguel Gonzalez (8-5), who was in the bullpen for Sunday's game, should be able to go Wednesday. The Padres' scheduled starters are Edinson Volquez (8-8) and Eric Stults (8-10).