Infielder Wilson Betemit (knee) will begin a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League on Tuesday, manager Buck Showalter said before Thursday's game between the Orioles and Astros. He hasn't played since suffering a Grade 2/3 tear of his PCL in spring training.
"Probably going to kind of test drive it a little bit just to make sure everything's all right before we take him to a little faster level," Showalter said.
Betemit was the leading candidate to be the Orioles' designated hitter against right-handers this season after batting .302/.357/.502 in 255 at-bats against righties in 2012.
His injury was originally expected to keep him out only six to eight weeks, but the rehab has taken longer than the organization was expecting.
** Right-hander Jason Hammel, who was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Monday, will have an MRI on his right arm Friday morning.
** Right-hander Steve Johnson (oblique) will make a rehab start Saturday at Double-A Bowie. He's made two starts for Single-A short-season Aberdeen, most recently Monday. He's given up two runs on five hits in six innings of work while striking out six. He hasn't pitched for the Orioles since June 5 at Houston.
** Right-hander Bud Norris will the 25th pitcher to appear in a game for the Orioles this year and the 14th to start a game, the most starters the Orioles have used since 1998. The Orioles had more than 13 pitchers start a game for them between 1967 and 1998 only four times. The Orioles used 12 starters all of last year. Norris will also be the 18th player and 11th pitcher to make his Orioles debut this season.
** The Orioles have three players that lead the majors in innings played at their position and three more that lead the American League in innings played at their position. Third baseman Manny Machado (955 1/3 innings), shortstop J.J. Hardy (953 1/3) and center fielder Adam Jones (921 1/3) lead the majors, while first baseman Chris Davis (910 1/3), Nick Markakis (905 1/3) and catcher Matt Wieters (799 1/3) lead the American League.
** The Orioles are 9-5 in rubber matches this year, including 4-2 at home.
** Machado has gone 20 full games and 89 plate appearances without a double.
** Houston right-hander Jordan Lyles is 4-4 with a 4.92 ERA this season and is making his first appearance against the Orioles.
Astros: Villar 6, Hoes 8, Castro 2, Carter DH, Wallace 3, Krauss RF, Paredes 4, Dominguez 5, Grossman 7; Lyles 1.
Orioles: McLouth 7, Machado 5, Markakis 9, Jones 8, Davis 3, Wieters 2, Hardy 6, Urrutia DH, Roberts 4; Norris 1.