Orioles @ Mariners

Greetings from Seattle, where the Orioles will open a three-game series against the Mariners before heading to Anaheim to close out the first half.  Lots of pregame notes today..

*Chris Tillman will fly to Seattle on Tuesday and right now it’s set up that he pitches on Wednesday, which gives Jake Arrieta an extra day of rest and pushes him to Thursday. Manager Buck Showalter said that hasn’t been decided yet –the pair could flip– but given that Tillman was supposed to start today, it makes the most sense. Friday’s starter remains to be determined with Dana Eveland an option out of the bullpen if he’s not needed in the interim. The O’s could also recall Zach Britton, who is slated to start Friday for Norfolk already, although the sense is Britton needs one more good outing in Triple-A first. He’s close, with his velocity and location back to normal, but the sense is he’s not there quite yet and the team would prefer to leave him down there if they can.

*Brian Roberts was not in Monday’s starting lineup and is dealing with some groin soreness that Showalter said started during Sunday’s game. The team is being cautious with Roberts, who was absent from pregame stretch and batting practice as well.

*Nick Markakis (right wrist) took 20-25 swings at about 70 percent while working out with the short-season Aberdeen team, and he reportedly said he felt better Monday then he did when his wrist was healthy. He will up that workload on Tuesday –more swings and a high intensity — and could play in a rehab game for Double-A Bowie as early as Thursday.

Markakis will not be back before the All-Star Break, but the team is hoping he can play through Monday and then return right after the break.

*Right-handed pitcher and local product Steve Johnson was officially recalled and will be making his Major League debut for the Baltimore Orioles. Johnson was added to help bolster the bullpen’s depth and called the experience “a dream come true”.

*In case you missed it earlier, Dontrelle Willis announced he is retiring. He had been pitching for the Orioles’ Triple-A team since being stretched back out as a starter. You can read more on that here.

*Catcher Taylor Teagarden started his rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League today and will stay there for about a week before heading out to play with one of the team’s affiliates up north. There’s no timetable on Teagarden, but Showalter was cautiously optimistic he would be available to help the team in the second half.

*The Washington Nationals and Orioles have partnered together to help send the “Beltways Ballot” of potential first-timers outfielder Bryce Harper and right-handed pitcher Jason Hammel to Kansas City for this year’s All-Star Game.

Harper and Hammel are candidates on Major League Baseball’s Final Vote ballot, in which five players each are chosen from the National and American Leagues to compete for the final spot on their respective league rosters. Fans are encouraged to go online or use their mobile phones from now through 4:00 p.m. ET this Thursday, July 5, to vote as many times as they can for both Harper and Hammel.

Fans who vote for Harper at nationals.com/finalvote will be eligible to win a VIP Meet & Greet with the Nationals rookie sensation during batting practice as well as tickets to a future 2012 game. In addition, fans who vote for Harper and choose the Nationals as their “favorite” or “other favorite” team at least 21 times can receive a 50% OFF discount offer for two tickets to a select Nationals home game of their choice. Voting for Harper can also be done via mobile devices by texting N3 to 89269. For mobile voting in Canada, fans should text N3 to 101010. Standard data and messaging rates may apply.

Fans voting for Hammel will be eligible to win a VIP Meet & Greet with the pitcher, parking and four (4) field box seat tickets to an Orioles home game in July or August. In addition, fans who vote online at orioles.com/finalvote at least 20 times for Hammel and select the Orioles as their “favorite” or “other favorite” team can receive a 50% off discount offer for up to four tickets to an Orioles home game July 24 through 29. Voting is also available via mobile phone by texting A4 to 89269.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Robert Andino 2B
J.J. Hardy SS
Wilson Betemit 3B
Adam Jones CF
Jim Thome DH
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis RF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Steve Pearce LF

Jason Hammel RHP

MARINERS LINEUP
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Casper Wells CF
John Jaso DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Miguel Olivo C
Dustin Ackley 1B
Chone Figgins LF
Munenori Kawasaki 2B
Brendan Ryan SS

Hisashi Iwakuma RHP

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