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Pearce says he'll be back in the lineup soon; and other Orioles notes

New Orioles utility player Steve Pearce expects his arm injury won't keep him out too much longer.

Orioles infielder-outfielder Steve Pearce is confident he will not only avoid a trip to the disabled list but thinks he will be able to return to the lineup by the end of the week.

Pearce, who received a cortisone injection after leaving Sunday’s game in Chicago with a strained flexor mass in his elbow, said he’s continuing to feel better every day.

Pearce said his elbow is still sore — partially from the injection and also from the strain — but he should begin feeling relief from the shot 48 hours after receiving it.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Pearce said about getting back into the lineup this week. “I think right now we’re just trying to get it to calm down and just get it to where I can hit. … It’s feeling better than yesterday. It’s getting better day by day, so that’s the route we’re taking right now.”

Having Pearce avoid the disabled list would give the Orioles a boost. The club reacquired Pearce in a nonwaiver trade deadline deal with the Tampa Bay Rays to bolster their lineup against left-handed pitching down the stretch. Pearce is hitting .345/.449/.672 this season against lefties.

“I definitely feel that it’s good because I know I’m capable of doing it,” Pearce said. “Just to get this under control and we get this all behind us and move forward and try to make a run at the playoffs.”

Pearce, who stood at his locker at Oakland Coliseum before Tuesday’s game against the Athletics, his right arm jerking from an electronic stimulation treatment, said he’s been dealing with the arm problems for “probably a couple months.”

“It’s been under control,” Pearce said. “I think it just flared up going back in the outfield and throwing the baseball. Right now, we’re just trying to get it calmed down and get back on the field. … I went through this before a couple of months ago. It feels no worse than it did a while ago. This is something that is controllable, and we can get it under control.”

He played mostly first and second base with Tampa Bay — he also played parts of two games at third — and said one of the reasons he was kept out of the outfield was to manage the injury.

“We had a pretty good outfield down there,” Pearce said. “There wasn’t much of an opportunity for me. I was able to keep it under control by not playing the outfield.”

Practice makes perfect: Manager Buck Showalter said the rare sacrifice fly scored on an infield pop-up Monday was a play the Orioles practiced many times during spring training.

J.J. Hardy scored from third on Manny Machado’s fly ball to first baseman Yonder Alonso in Oakland Coliseum’s vast foul ground. Alonso snagged Machado’s pop-up with his back to the plate near the Orioles bullpen, and Hardy beat his long throw home.

“We actually talked about that in the advance meeting,” Showalter said. “This is a place where you’ve really got to be cognizant of defending pop-ups in foul ground first and third. And you have to be cognizant of advancing. There’s a lot of people who would probably tag and score on that ball, but the thing we were proud of is that all three runners advanced.”

Showalter said the play will go onto the defensive drill tape for next spring training.

“You work on it and then it doesn’t happen for two years. It’s a way to fill some time in a drill,” Showalter said. “I know the players look at us like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re just inventing something to take up another three minutes and show us how smart they are.’ I’m glad it came up. We put it on the tape, so we’ll see it again next spring."

Showalter gives take on Tebow: When Showalter was asked what he thought about former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow making an attempt to play professional baseball, the Orioles manager didn’t hold back.

Tebow hasn’t played baseball since his junior year of high school, instead choosing to focus on a prolific football career that included being on two national championship teams at the University of Florida. Tebow also played parts of three seasons in the NFL and hasn’t played since 2012.

“Somebody will sell some tickets in the spring,” Showalter said. “I should be careful. We might sign him. But I bet he was a good player in high school. I was, too. And I played quarterback.”

Showalter indicated that Tebow’s attempt to play baseball takes away from the work countless minor league players make to advance through organizations’ farm systems. Many of those players never get an opportunity to reach the major leagues.

“I think about what these guys do in our Dominican academy and at Delmarva and Aberdeen and the Gulf Coast League, Frederick and Bowie … and Norfolk,” Showalter said. “I take very seriously the stuff they have to do to get the opportunities to do what they’re doing.”

Around the horn: LHP T.J. McFarland’s scheduled Gulf Coast League outing on Tuesday – which was supposed to be his first game action since going on the disabled list with a left knee injury – was rained out. He is now scheduled to pitch Wednesday. … LHP Brian Duensing (left elbow inflammation) is eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list next Thursday, but Showalter said he’s not likely to make that date. He’s currently throwing off flat ground. “He’s not that far away. He’s making good progress,” Showalter said. … The Orioles will face Giants ace LHP Madison Bumgarner for the first time on Saturday in San Francisco. RHP Kevin Gausman will oppose him.

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