Orioles vs. Mariners lineups and pregame notes

*Jim Thome is expected to be out at least four weeks, as the designated hitter is responding well to an epidural done late last week to help alleviate the symptoms associated with a herniated disk.  Thome, who last played Friday July 27, told the media that he was instructed to not do any baseball activitiy for at least 30 days following Thursday’s epidural.

So an early September return is pushing it at this point. Thome, when asked if this changed the way he viewed his retirement, said this could actually make him want to play one more year even more.

*The Orioles vice president of planning and development, Janet Marie Smith –who was the visionary for the team’s brand-new Spring Training complex and Camden Yards construction– has left for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The team released the following statement from Baltimore’s managing partner Peter Angelos:

“The Orioles greatly appreciate Janet Marie Smith’s efforts over the past three years, as she has overseen the construction of our widely lauded ballpark in Sarasota and many significant enhancements to Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  In Sarasota, the goal was to create a ballpark that the local community and all of our fans would be proud to visit, and after two record-setting springs, this has clearly been achieved.

“At Oriole Park, we asked Janet Marie to enhance the fan experience, honor our history, and revitalize some areas of the ballpark with new, more contemporary concepts.  And in this 20th anniversary season, those objectives have resulted in bringing our fans the Roof Deck, Dempsey’s and the Orioles Legends sculptures.

“Janet Marie was the perfect choice to oversee these projects, and we wish her the best of luck in her new role with the Dodgers.”

*Jason Hammel got positive reports today as the right-hander continues to throw off flat ground, getting up to 120 feet. The Orioles are optimistic both Hammel and Thome can rejoin the club by September 1.

*They are less optimistic regarding Nick Johnson and Stu Pomeranz. Johnson’s right wrist injury isn’t getting any better, and is a “long shot” to return next month, while Pomeranz is dealing with a leg injury that is causing him some back problems in extended spring.

*The Orioles will have Wei-Yin Chen T-Shirt Thursday for the lefty’s start against the Royals. The first 10,000 fans 15 and over attending the Orioles’ game will receive a T-shirt featuring Orioles on the front and Chen’s name on the back, both written in Mandarin Chinese.

Chen, a native of Taiwan, is in his first season with the Orioles after spending four seasons with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan Central League. Among qualifying rookie pitchers, Chen ranks among the leaders in: games started (T-1st, 22); ERA (2nd, 3.46); wins (2nd, 10); innings pitched (2nd, 135.1); opponents’ average (2nd, .231) and strikeouts (3rd, 109).  He struck out 12 batters over 5.2 innings on July 29 against the A’s, setting a major league record for most strikeouts in a game by a Taiwanese-born pitcher and becoming the first Orioles pitcher to strike out 10 or more batters in fewer than six innings.

*Kevin Gausman, the Orioles top pick in this year’s Draft, will make his professional debut tonight for the Aberdeen IronBirds, pitching in State College.

*Top position player prospect Manny Machado was named Eastern League Player of the Week.

Machado hit .476 (10-21) for the week and hit for the cycle Saturday night, including the game-winning two-run home run. He finished the week with five runs scored, two doubles, a triple, a home run and three RBI.  In 106 games this season, Machado is batting .262 and leads with team with 56 runs scored, 26 doubles and a .425 slugging percentage. He is also second on the team with 57 runs batted in. Machado hit for the cycle for this first time in his career Saturday night, and he also set career highs with four hits and three runs scored.

*On Saturday Hall of Famer Eddie Murray will be the fourth Oriole honored as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series. A larger-than-life bronze sculpture of Murray will be revealed in a ceremony in the Legends Area beyond center field beginning at 5:15 p.m. All gates open at 5:00 p.m., and all fans in attendance will receive a replica of the sculpture. Murray will also be honored in an on-field ceremony and will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.

ORIOLES LINEUP

Nick Markakis RF
Robert Andino 3B
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Chris Davis DH
Lew Ford LF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Omar Quintanilla 2B

Chris Tillman RHP

MARINERS LINEUP
Dustin Ackley 2B
Michael Saunders CF
Jesus Montero DH
John Jaso C
Kyle Seager 3B
Mike Carp 1B
Casper Wells LF
Eric Thames RF
Munenori Kawasaki SS

Jason Vargas LHP

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