SEATTLE -- Jason Grimsley had no idea he was part of Rafael Palmeiro's climb toward history. The Orioles relief pitcher was strolling around the clubhouse before Friday's game with Seattle as Palmeiro was sitting on 2,999 hits. Grimsley then was informed that he gave up Palmeiro's career hit No. 1,500 on May 20, 1996 while Grimsley was with the then-California Angels. Palmeiro was in his first stint in Baltimore. "That's pretty sweet," he said when told he yielded 1,500. "I can't believe it. I got him halfway there. That's pretty cool."
What's more, Palmeiro has collected eight of his 2,999 hits against Grimsley. Being the pitcher who gives up a historic hit is not an easy role but one Grimsley said you have to embrace. Grimsley was with the Angels when Eddie Murray was closing in on 500 homers and he told Murray he was going to challenge him. "My best pitch is a fastball and Eddie is a fastball hitter and I told him I was going to throw fastballs," he said. "You don't pitch around him. If you give the guy your best and he gets a hit, it doesn't bother me a bit that you got it off me." The pitcher who has allowed the most hits to Palmeiro is none other than Roger Clemens, who has given up 30 hits to him over his career. "When you are facing a guy like that, you don't pitch him any differently, because you are trying to win a ballgame," Grimsley said. "When you are facing someone like Palmeiro, there isn't a whole lot of weaknesses. You have to be careful, he is one guy that you don't want to let beat you." Talks with Marlins: The Orioles and Florida Marlins have intensified talks about right-handed pitcher A.J. Burnett and perhaps third baseman Mike Lowell coming to Baltimore in a six-player deal that could include outfielder Larry Bigbie and pitchers Hayden Penn, Jorge Julio and Steve Kline. Club officials realize they are going to have to deal Julio and Penn to get a frontline pitcher. Bigbie has been inconsistent this season and might need a change of scenery, and Kline has all but requested a trade -- and a National League team might be a good fit. Burnett is a free agent at season's end, and the Orioles would not be interested in a deal unless they can sign the 28-year-old to a contract extension. Burnett is potentially a dominant starter but has yet to harness that potential into results. He is 5-6 with a 3.64 ERA, and in his start Thursday against the Phillies, Burnett was tagged for six earned runs in five innings. Lowell has had a rough year for the Marlins, hitting .226 with four homers and 36 RBIs after hitting 27 homers with 85 RBIs last season. With Melvin Mora cemented at third base, the Orioles could use Lowell in left field or first base. He has played neither in his career. Injury updates: Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said he has no idea when catcher Geronimo Gil will be able to resume baseball activities. Gil has been out since July 3 with a bruised left thumb and is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday. Meanwhile, Javy Lopez hit off a tee Thursday and could take live batting practice this weekend. The Orioles are hoping to have Lopez back July 25 against Texas. He has missed the past two months with a broken right hand. Farm report: John Maine allowed one run over six innings with five strikeouts and Walter Young clubbed his 11th home run, as Triple-A Ottawa beat Pawtucket, 7-6, on Thursday in Canada. David Newhan went 3-for-5 in his first game with the Lynx since being optioned to Ottawa, while Midre Cummings gave Ottawa the lead with a two-run double in the eighth. Coming up: The Orioles take on the Seattle Mariners in the third game of a four-game series at Safeco Field. Left-hander Bruce Chen (7-5, 3.87 ERA) takes on left-hander Jamie Moyer (8-3, 4.64 ERA) on Saturday. Moyer is 15-3 with a 3.06 ERA lifetime against the Orioles.
Gary Washburn is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.