Markakis left out, for now


TORONTO -- With another left-hander on the mound for the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday, Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis sat for a second straight day, although manager Sam Perlozzo acknowledged that he is planning to give the rookie more chances against lefties.

"I was thinking about it actually today," Perlozzo said when asked if he was tempted to give Markakis the start against the Blue Jays' Ted Lilly. "Unless it's a really hard-throwing, tough left-hander, he probably needs to see a little more action against those guys. I'd think that would be something he needs to go ahead and continue to do."

Markakis is hitting .133 in 33 at-bats against lefties this season. Against right-handers, he is hitting .239, giving him an overall .221 average. Perlozzo has been asked several times this season if the 22-year-old would benefit from a trip back to the minors.

The manager said Wednesday that the Orioles' glut of injuries - with Jay Gibbons being the latest to go down - essentially limits what the club can do. Team officials have watched Markakis carefully and say they see no evidence that his confidence has dropped significantly.

"I know that he is working hard and he's smart enough to know that there are some things going on," Perlozzo said. "He knows certain things he has to do to get a little bit better."

Loewen, it is

After considering other options, the Orioles appear set on giving rookie Adam Loewen another start Sunday against the New York Mets. Loewen would oppose Tom Glavine, meaning he will have opposed former Cy Young Award winners in his first four starts, a first in major league history.

Perlozzo also is in favor of adding another field player for the New York series, giving him more than a three-man bench. If that happens, pitcher John Halama is the likely candidate to be designated for assignment.

"Everyone has a preference," Perlozzo said. "It's not really an extra guy. Now, normally you have four and you automatically go to five when you're in a National League game, because of the DH. It's not asking for anything out of the ordinary. It's putting your roster back to a normal situation."

Penn, Byrdak on mend

Perlozzo said yesterday that Hayden Penn and Tim Byrdak are close to being ready to start throwing again. Penn was sent to the disabled list after having an appendectomy the day before his first scheduled start this season.

Byrdak is on the 60-day disabled list while recovering from surgery to remove bone chips in his left elbow. Perlozzo said that the club is planning to send an instructor, possibly Dennis Martinez, to its minor league facility in Sarasota, Fla., to work with the two pitchers.

Turf tough on Tejada

Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada was limping notice- ably throughout the first two months of the season. It wasn't as evident lately until the past couple of days. Perlozzo said that playing seven straight games on the turf has taken a toll on the shortstop, who is constantly walking around the clubhouse after games with ice on his knees.

"It's a continuous strengthening thing for him, to make that thing strong and not let it get out of hand again," Perlozzo said. "It certainly doesn't affect his hitting."

Around the horn

Yesterday's loss dropped the Orioles to 5-16 in games against left-handed starters. ... Thirteen of the Orioles' past 18 games have been decided by one or two runs. ... Daniel Cabrera's string of 12 scoreless innings was broken on Eric Hinske's bases-empty homer in the second.

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