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Atkins takes Hughes' start in stride

Atkins takes Hughes' start in stride

BOSTON -- Orioles first baseman Garrett Atkins saw Rhyne Hughes' name in Saturday's lineup -- in lieu of his own -- and didn't take it personally.

"It's one of those things. I'm not going to read into it until something happens," Atkins said. "I know that if I can do the things I'm capable of, all that stuff will work itself out. So I'm not too concerned with that stuff. I'm just here to win ballgames, and anything we do to help that, I'm all for it."

Atkins hit safely in his first five games in an Orioles uniform, but he has been struggling as of late, dropping his season average to .224 with an 0-for-4 performance Friday. In that 4-3 series-opening loss to the Red Sox, Atkins twice left the bases loaded and grounded into an inning-ending double play in his first at-bat.

He was equally unproductive on the defensive side, letting Dustin Pedroia's liner pop out of his glove in the eight inning and turning a would-be double-play ball into just one out. That play would prove critical when the O's later let the Red Sox score the game's decisive run with two outs.

Hughes was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday -- and made his Major League debut -- in an effort to help bolster a beleaguered Orioles offense. Atkins' struggles are hardly an anomaly in an O's lineup that is averaging just 2.89 runs per game and entered Saturday a Major League-worst 6-for-63 (.095) with runners in scoring position and two outs.

"I just view [Hughes playing] as a guy swinging the bat well; not too many guys [are] swinging the bat well," Atkins said. "Hopefully he can spark the offense and get things going a little bit."

Orioles manager Dave Trembley wasn't ready to discuss a possible platoon between Atkins and Hughes, although that largely depends on Hughes' production.

"I haven't thought about that," Trembley said. "Hughes is going to play first base [Saturday], and [we'll] see where it goes from there. The way we have been swinging the bats and the way we have been going, we've got to try something."

In his first big league at-bat, Hughes recorded his first hit and RBI with a single down the first-base line in the second inning.

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