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Orioles notebook: Guthrie asks fans whether he should keep Flanagan's number

Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie is trying to decide whether he should keep the only uniform number he has known as an Oriole, No. 46, or switch to something else to honor the late Mike Flanagan.

And Guthrie wants as much feedback as possible.

"I really just want to do what people would view as the most respectful [thing] to honor him and his memory and what he did for the Orioles," Guthrie said.

Flanagan, a 1979 Cy Young Award winner, team executive, coach and longtime Orioles pitcher who wore No. 46, died Wednesday outside his home in Sparks.

Guthrie learned about Flanagan's death in the middle of Wednesday's game against the Minnesota Twins and continued to pitch the Orioles to a victory at Target Field. Guthrie joined the Orioles in 2007 — and was given the number then — when the club claimed him off waivers from the Cleveland Indians. Flanagan was the Orioles' top executive at the time.

After Wednesday's victory, Guthrie talked with people who knew Flanagan well — including Flanagan's good friend, former teammate and MASN broadcaster Jim Palmer — about whether he should continue to wear the uniform number as a living tribute to Flanagan. He said he also wants to hear what fans think.

"I've seen a lot of fan reaction, just through communications. Some say continue to wear it, wear it with pride," Guthrie said. "There's also been some sentiment that you can put the number away in his honor. It's such an emotional situation. … Whatever people think would be the right thing is probably the best thing."

The Orioles retire only numbers of their players who have gone into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But they have an unofficial policy of holding out some numbers — Cal Ripken Sr.'s No. 7 and Elrod Hendricks' No. 44 — of former Orioles that have special meaning to the organization.

"I thought about it a little bit, too, last night at the hotel," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Guthrie's keeping or returning the number. "I'm not going to weigh in [on it]. … It's a nice message, nice gesture. With Jeremy, it's nothing that surprises me."

No doubleheader Friday

Yankees manager Joe Girardi told New York reporters his club has "initiated talks" with the Orioles about having a doubleheader Friday at Camden Yards to get ahead of Hurricane Irene's pending arrival in Maryland, which could come as early as Saturday evening. Those "talks" appear one-sided.

The Orioles will not have a doubleheader Friday, according to a club spokesman. A doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday — because of a previous rainout — and the Orioles are not going to have back-to-back doubleheaders and don't want to cancel games before the situation plays out.

It's possible another doubleheader could be scheduled for Monday if Saturday night's or Sunday's game has to be postponed, but that will be decided by what happens with Hurricane Irene. The Orioles said they are monitoring the situation and are in contact with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Maryland Stadium Authority.

The Orioles and Yankees also have mutual days off Sept. 8 and 15, so those are possibilities for makeup games, as is scheduling one at the end of the regular season. Regardless, it will be at Camden Yards. The Orioles aren't going to give away a home date to assist their division rivals, who are a tremendous drawing card.

Pie to report to Triple-A

Outfielder Felix Pie, who was designated for assignment Tuesday, has cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk.

He could decline the assignment and become a free agent but is expected to accept it and report to Norfolk Friday or Saturday. If he had declined the assignment, he would have to forfeit his remaining 2011 salary, $985,000.

Pie batted .220 with no homers and seven RBIs in 164 at-bats with the Orioles this season.

"It's good for us, not particularly good for him right now," Showalter said about Pie clearing waivers, "but it may work out real well in the long haul for both of us,"

Jones doesn't start

Center fielder Adam Jones, who came out of the previous two games at Target Field — Tuesday in the second inning because of shortness of breath and Wednesday in the seventh with soreness in his chest, left shoulder and neck — did not play Thursday.

"Hopefully, it will be good for him and he'll be in there [Friday]," Showalter said. "Hopefully, it is a one-day thing."

Jones had started 124 of the club's previous 127 games this season. Rookie Matt Angle replaced him in the starting lineup.

Around the horn

Angle got his first major league hit in the fifth inning, a bunt single against Anthony Swarzak. It broke a 0-for-13 start to his career. He is the sixth Oriole to collect his first big league hit this season. … Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero returned to the lineup Thursday after missing Wednesday's game with a bruised left wrist. … Twins star Joe Mauer was out of Thursday's lineup with a stiff neck. … Robert Andino went 0-for-4 to end a career-best 10-game hitting streak. … The Orioles have hit 102 homers since June 1, the most in the majors. … The Twins held a moment of silence for Flanagan before Thursday's game.

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