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07/09/10 1:45 AM ET

Pie emerging as spark plug for O's

ARLINGTON -- Amidst a season of struggles, a bright spot is beginning to emerge in Orioles outfielder Felix Pie.

Pie has been a spark plug offensively in the Orioles' past three games. On Tuesday, he went 2-for-6 with an RBI in a 7-5 loss to the Tigers. Wednesday, he went 1-for-4 with a triple in a 4-2 series-ending defeat.

Pie continued on Thursday igniting the O's rally in the seventh inning with his leadoff homer, before knocking in the tying run an inning later on a hit by pitch in the 6-4 win over the Rangers.

"I feel good," Pie said. "I'm making adjustments with the pitching. I'm taking good pitches and hitting the ball the other way."

Since missing 72 games with a strained back muscle, Pie has been 4-for-13 (.308) and dating back to before his injury, has hit in six of his past seven games. During that time, he's gone 11-for-24 (.458) with a double, triple, two homers and four RBIs with four runs scored.

"I've got to keep working hard," Pie said. "I was selective in Detroit at the plate. I've been waiting on good pitches."

As a result, the Orioles' normal left fielder, Corey Patterson, served as the designated hitter Thursday against the Rangers in order to get Pie more time.

"We're looking for Corey to continue what he's doing. He's done a tremendous job for us," interim manager Juan Samuel said. "We just wanted the opportunity to have him and Felix in the lineup at the same time to utilize his speed."

Samuel waits to make call on Saturday starter

ARLINGTON -- Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said he still hasn't decided on his starter for Saturday's game against the Rangers, but says a decision could be looming.

"Right now, we are leaning toward bringing somebody up," Samuel said. "We are probably going to make the change [Friday]."

Samuel said he was leaning toward left-handed reliever Mark Hendrickson, but realizes the potent lineup of the Rangers might not permit that. The logical choice seems to be Triple-A right-hander Chris Tillman.

Tillman is 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA since he was optioned by the Orioles. During his time in Baltimore, he was 0-8 with a 8.40 ERA in four starts.

"It was a possibility that we were going to think about Hendrickson, but we would like to keep the bullpen the way it is," Samuel said. "We have four games here, and this is a very good offensive club. We need all the arms we could use. We are leaning toward making that decision [Friday]."

Hendrickson became even less likely to start after entering Thursday's game against the Rangers in relief. He pitched a scoreless inning, walking one while striking out another. He got the O's out of a bases loaded situation in the fifth with a lineout to short, which may have been the different in the Orioles' 6-4 victory.

"We know that things could change overnight with these games," Samuel said. "We'll see how this game goes [Thursday], and then it will be easier to make once we play."

Wieters, Izturis receive day off

ARLINGTON -- Orioles catcher Matt Weiters and shortstop Cesar Izturis received the day off as the O's opened up a four-game series with the Rangers on Thursday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"I'm trying to take care of all these guys. We've played some long games," Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said. "It was very, very humid and hot in Detroit, and now we're here for four games. We're trying to pick our spots to get these guys off-days in order to keep them fresh."

Taking Weiters' place was Craig Tatum, batting seventh, while No. 9 hitter Julio Lugo replaced Izturis.

Samuel said it was especially tough to rest Izturis, who's batting .354 (17-48) in his past 14 games and has hit safely in the Orioles' past six games.

"Probably for a whole month, Cesar has been swinging the bat very well," Samuel said. "He's been swinging the bat hard, right at people. He's getting hits and giving confidence to a lot of these hitters. Cesar has gotten his share of late. He's swinging the bat very well."

Samuel can relate, knowing he never liked to be pulled from the lineup when he played.

"They had to pull me out. I was one of those guys that never wanted to come out," Samuel said with a laugh. "You understand that when you try to give some a day off, they don't like it. But you have to look long-term here with what's the best thing for everybody."

Error nixes Robinson jersey giveaway

ARLINGTON -- Due to a vendor error, the replica Brooks Robinson Jersey that was planned for a giveaway Saturday, July 17, will not happen.

The jerseys will not arrive in time for that night's game, a 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch against the Blue Jays, so the Orioles are compensating by giving the first 25,000 fans age 21-and-over a Brooks Robinson jersey T-Shirt.

Additionally, those fans will receive a voucher for the originally scheduled Brooks Robinson replica jersey. It can be redeemed at Camden Yards or via mail once the jerseys arrive.

Worth noting

A judge Thursday ruled in favor of Sarasota County, Fla., in the lawsuit regarding the county's deal with the Orioles to move Spring Training to Sarasota and renovate Ed Smith Stadium. ... The Orioles have made 15 errors in the past 16 games after committing 10 errors in the previous 19 games. ... The bullpen has worked 12 2/3 innings in the past three games, allowing 13 earned runs on 19 hits with eight walks during that span. ... Orioles' starters have made 38 quality starts through 84 games this season. They didn't get their 39th quality start until the 107th game last season.

Chris Cox is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.