Steve Pearce discusses his return to Orioles

At 3 p.m. Wednesday, Steve Pearce was in Frederick preparing to take batting practice for his third rehabilitation game with the High-A Keys. By 7 p.m., Pearce was at Camden Yards, batting ninth as the Orioles' designated hitter in an 11-0 loss to the Houston Astros.

Pearce was a rare offensive bright spot for the Orioles in Wednesday's blowout defeat, going 2-for-3 with a strikeout in his first major league action since June 19.

"I was going about a million miles per hour," Pearce said. "Bottom line is I'm healthy. I'm able to play. I'll take it for what it's worth."

Pearce landed on the disabled list with wrist tendinitis in late June. He went to Sarasota, Fla., and took some time off from any baseball activity before beginning his rehab stint.

The time off to let his wrists heal paid dividends.

"It feels amazing," Pearce said. "When I started taking my swings down there in Sarasota, just the difference I felt down there just preparing to get ready to what I was going through the last month before I went on the DL, it's night and day. I was playing with pain for a while."

As part of the Orioles' designated hitter platoon, the right-handed hitting Pearce usually had extended periods of time off between appearances. So in the interim, Pearce would spend a significant amount of time in the batting cage trying to stay sharp.

The work ultimately hurt Pearce, and the 30-year-old has adopted a new philosophy because of it.

"Less is more," Pearce said. "That's going to be my approach."

Machado in the field

When Ryan Flaherty replaced Manny Machado at third base during Wednesday's loss, it was the first time in his career that Machado had been replaced in a game by choice. He'd played the entirety of 157 of his 158 previous games, the lone exception being his ejection against the Cleveland Indians on June 27.

Manager Buck Showalter has said many times that he's searching for ways to get some of his players time off. Entering Thursday, Machado, shortstop J.J. Hardy and center fielder Adam Jones led the majors in innings played at their positions, while first baseman Chris Davis, right fielder Nick Markakis and catcher Matt Wieters led the American League at their positions.

Machado has still started every game of his career, and Showalter won't commit to sitting him just yet. With a career ahead of him, Showalter said Machado needs the experience of playing every day, especially when it gets to late August and September.

"That's one of the things that's hard to simulate in the minor leagues, the challenge of playing every day and also doing it in September," Showalter said. "It's a different gig."

Around the horn

Infielder Wilson Betemit (knee) will begin a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League on Tuesday, barring any complications. … Right-hander Jason Hammel (flexor mass strain) is scheduled to have an MRI on his arm Friday morning. … Right-hander Steve Johnson (oblique) will make his third rehab start at Double-A Bowie on Saturday after two at short-season Single-A Aberdeen. … Right-hander Bud Norris was the 25th pitcher to appear in a game for the Orioles and 14th to start a game this season. … L.J. Hoes, who was traded for Norris on Wednesday, started for Houston in center field and batted second.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun