BALTIMORE -- Mark Reynolds shifted over to first base after struggling at third earlier this season, and the move has paid off nicely.
Thursday's matchup with the Rays was the 86th game that Reynolds has started at first. He had 15 starts at the hot corner before manager Buck Showalter put him at first base, and the skipper's been really impressed with his defense.
"Mark impacts our club over there," Showalter said. "There's a lot of different things that you have to adjust to. It's remarkable Mark's been able to do it in such a short period of time."
Reynolds, who came into Thursday with a .228 average, 21 homers and 59 RBIs thanks to a late-season hot streak, has found his way on defense over at first.
He made some nice plays in Wednesday's 3-2 win over Tampa Bay on short hops in different spots. Reynolds keeps coming up with tough stops that help Baltimore pitchers get out of trouble.
"He wanted to be good at [first base]," Showalter said.
Wieters gets breather, on verge of becoming a dad
BALTIMORE -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter gave starting catcher Matt Wieters a break in Thursday's matinee game. Taylor Teagarden started the series finale against the Rays, working with Wei-Yin Chen on the mound.
Showalter's been careful with trying not to wear out Wieters in the final days of the season while Baltimore is competing for a playoff spot. The skipper's often given Wieters a break when the Orioles play a day game after a night game.
"Matt needs a day," Showalter said before Thursday's game. "He might catch eight out of the next nine games."
Showalter also said that Wieters' wife is on the verge of giving birth to their first child.
The skipper said Wieters will fly home when that happens, and Teagarden would take over. The O's embark on a nine-game road trip Thursday, heading to Oakland after the series finale against the Rays.
Hammel gets good news, but unsure about return
BALTIMORE -- Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel said the MRI he underwent on his troublesome right knee showed no new damage, but he's not sure when he'll return.
Hammel said the doctor said the problem with his knee -- which had an arthroscopy done on it in mid-July -- was what the doctor called a "hot spot" and probably needs some time to calm down. Rest and strengthening the knee will be what Hammel works on for the next several days.
But Hammel couldn't pinpoint a return date. Still, he was happy that there's no new troubles with the knee.
"I was pumped to hear [this news]," he said after Thursday's game. "I thought something else was going on just by the way it felt and even from the pain I felt [Wednesday] -- and the improvement into today was significant. It's making strides."
Hammel came out of Tuesday's game with the Rays in the fourth inning when he felt pain in that knee. He headed out west with the Orioles and said he wants to return as soon as possible. For now, he's going to continue the treatment and keep pushing.
"I want to get back out there as soon as I can," Hammel said. "But obviously, if I can't use my leg, I can't pitch. If I can get back at any point this season, I'm going to."
O's extend throwback pricing for Jays series
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles will extend their throwback pricing for select locations during their series against the Blue Jays from Sept. 24-26.
This promotion celebrates the race for the playoffs, which the Orioles are trying to get into for the first time in 15 years, during the 20th anniversary season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, plus the continuing effort to get fans to "BUCKle Up!" and Back the Birds.
For the entire series, including the single-admission doubleheader on Sept. 24, Eutaw Street Bleacher seats are $4 (they regularly go for $19) and all Left Field Lower Box seats will be $8 (regularly $32) while they last. The discount is available online at www.orioles.com/buckleup or by stopping by the box office at Oriole Park.
Fans who already purchased regularly priced seats in the Eutaw Street Bleachers or Left Field Lower Box will receive a refund for the difference in ticket value. A refund check will be automatically issued, and fans should allow up to four weeks for processing and delivery.
The Orioles need one more victory to guarantee at least a .500 record for the first time since winning the American League East in 1997.
Pitcher Troy Patton and designated hitter Jim Thome both will be doing work in the Instructional League, which starts Sunday. Patton (sprained ankle) needs two or three more outings before possibly being ready to come back. The team's not exactly sure when Thome (herniated disk in neck) will return.
Baltimore came into Thursday's game with 110 homers at home, 11 away from the team record for homers at Camden Yards.
For this weekend's series in Oakland, Joe Saunders is going to pitch Friday with Zach Britton throwing Saturday. Sunday's starting pitcher has not been announced.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.