Montanez ready to get back on the field

Montanez ready to get back on field

BALTIMORE -- One more day to heal. Orioles manager Dave Trembley gave left fielder Lou Montanez another day off to recover from a sprained right thumb on Wednesday in the hope that he'd be able to return to the lineup Thursday. And now, after a rain-shortened win over the Twins, Trembley has his outfield set the way he wants.

"Today the swelling in his hand has gone down considerably," Trembley said before Wednesday's game. "I think he's almost ready. ... I told him he will play left field tomorrow."

Montanez has settled in as a key figure on the Orioles due to the continued struggles of incumbent Felix Pie, who has been demoted to a part-time player after a slow start. Baltimore is reportedly considering the promotion of prospect Nolan Reimold, but until that happens, Montanez appears to be first in line for playing time.

The former first-round draftee starred last season, when he won the Triple Crown in the Double-A Eastern League and hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat. Montanez, who has a 29-game hitting streak in the Minors, has received limited playing time with the Orioles and hurt his hand on a diving catch in Toronto.

Trembley approached him Tuesday and said he needed resolution on his status sometime soon.

"He was a little reluctant to hit," said Trembley. "I needed to find out where he was, so I went out to the outfield and talked to him and said, 'Hey, why don't you give it a shot and just see where you're at.' ... I asked him how he felt and he said he was about 75-80 percent. There was a little pain, but if I needed him to go, he could go."

If the injury persists, the Orioles may be forced to either send Montanez back to Triple-A Norfolk or place him on the disabled list. But if he gets through it, there may well be a changing of the guard in left field. Baltimore also has Luke Scott, who played left field last season, getting the majority of at-bats at designated hitter.

Pitching matchup
BAL: RHP Brad Bergesen (1-0, 5.17 ERA)
Bergesen recorded his first quality start in three Major League starts on May 1 against the Blue Jays. He allowed six hits and three walks with one strikeout in six innings. Bergesen gave up three runs in the second inning of that no-decision against the Blue Jays. He finished up strong in a 90-pitch outing. It was an improvement against a hot-hitting team in Toronto over his previous outing when he allowed five earned runs and 10 hits in four innings to the Rangers on April 26 in a game the Orioles went on to win, 8-5.

MIN: LHP Glen Perkins (1-2, 3.34 ERA)
Perkins had to work to get through six innings in his last start against the Royals. The left-hander allowed five runs on 10 hits while striking out four. Two-out hits proved to be a problem for Perkins late in his outing. He gave up a two-out solo home run to Willie Bloomquist in the fifth inning of his start -- the first homer for the Royals second baseman since June 6, 2007. He also gave up three straight two-out hits in the sixth inning that scored two runs and erased his club's one-run lead.

Bird bites
The Orioles played through four rain delays that totaled nearly four hours on Wednesday night before the game was ultimately called in the sixth inning. Baltimore only used two pitchers -- Mark Hendrickson and Brian Bass -- in the abbreviated victory. The Orioles' last rain-shortened game came last September, and it resulted in a 2-1 win over Toronto. ... Nick Markakis homered off the right-field foul pole to give the Orioles an early lead. Luke Scott homered later to provide the final run.

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Up next
• Friday: Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie, 2-2, 5.05) vs. Yankees (CC Sabathia, 1-3, 4.85), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Orioles (Adam Eaton, 1-3, 7.18) vs. Yankees (Phil Hughes, 1-1, 2.70), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Orioles (Koji Uehara, 2-3, 4.42) vs. Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 1-1, 3.77), 1:35 p.m. ET

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.