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Slumping lineup could soon see changes

Slumping lineup could soon see changes

MINNEAPOLIS -- With an offense that is still misfiring in several key categories, the Orioles could make some roster changes before the start of Tuesday's eight-game homestand against Seattle, Cleveland and Kansas City.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley said on Thursday that the club was going to get through their seven-game road trip -- which concluded with Sunday's series finale in Minnesota -- before assessing what changes needed to be made.

Baltimore has a team batting average of .244, having been outscored 159-107 in its first 32 games. Only four of the Orioles' active position players have an average of .250 or better, with the struggles of Nolan Reimold (.203), Luke Scott (.186) and Adam Jones (.230) three of the team's biggest early season disappointments.

"I'd be more content if I got a few more guys in that lineup hot," Trembley said. "There wouldn't be a need for any adjustments. But, you know, unless that happens, I know [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is] going to consider doing something to give us a little more offense."

The Orioles' 107 runs rank ahead of only the Mariners and Indians in the American League, although both squads have played fewer games. The Indians have scored 106 runs in 29 games, while the Mariners had plated 94 runs in their 30 games -- prompting the dismissal of hitting coach Alan Cockrell. Seattle scored eight runs on Sunday, bringing its total to 102 in 31 games.

"We need to score more runs," Trembley said. "And I don't know if it's on any one guy, and I don't know that any one guy is going to be such a factor that he's going to rectify it. I think it's a collective thing, more [like] two or three guys on a nightly or daily basis."

The last time the team reached down to Triple-A for a bat, the O's went with the hottest hitter at Norfolk, Rhyne Hughes. With Hughes on the big league club, the Tides' best bat is that of outfielder Corey Patterson, who would provide speed off the bench and could spell the slumping Reimold and Jones if needed.

Patterson is hitting .367 with three stolen bases in 12 games for Norfolk. The 30-year-old outfielder played for the Orioles in 2006 and '07, and opted out of a Minor League deal with the Mariners this spring after being told he wouldn't make the team. The O's resigned Patterson at the end of April.

"We're well aware of what Corey's doing," Trembley said on Sunday. "I think he's getting himself into shape, playing well now. We will see what [Monday's] off-day brings, what might transpire when we start the homestand on Tuesday."

While the Orioles have been ravaged by injuries up and down their roster, the offense hasn't been able to pick up the slack in the same way the bullpen has.

"Our offense unfortunately has not shown the same amount of depth," MacPhail said. "We've lost [Brian] Roberts and [Felix] Pie and we haven't been able to do what [it] looks like we've been able to do in the bullpen. We've been able to get the ship stabilized, and in the offensive area, we still need to do more there."

That could mean adding some bats from Norfolk and sending some of the Orioles' slumping hitters back to the Minors to get straightened out. Along with Reimold, Jones and Scott -- all of whom have options remaining -- Lou Montanez is another player whose roster spot could be in jeopardy. The outfielder is hitting .114 in 15 games.

"That's not my decision, or anybody else in here," Reimold said when asked if he expected some offensive changes to be made for the homestand.

"It's out of your hands. I don't try to think about that."

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

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