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05/19/12 8:10 PM ET

Competitive group of O's driven to succeed

WASHINGTON -- The Orioles have a very competitive group this season. It's one reason they're in first place in the American League East and have been one of the best teams in baseball.

Simply put, they don't like to lose.

That's something Nick Markakis talked about Friday night after his game-winning home run -- and why he thinks that's a big positive for this team.

"It's fun any time you're winning, no matter what the sport is," Markakis said. "We have a bunch of competitive guys in this locker room, whether it's playing cards or ping pong or baseball."

Markakis said the guys in the Baltimore clubhouse simply don't like to lose, and he feels bringing that attitude on to the field can be helpful.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter agreed with Markakis, saying being competitive is something he really likes.

"It's kind of that sixth tool, so to speak," Showalter said. "It's important. They've always been a competitive group. The people that we've added have brought that same mentality."

Reynolds pain-free, not swinging a bat yet

WASHINGTON -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter said that Mark Reynolds is just about pain-free and, even though ha hasn't been swinging a bat yet, he could come off the disabled list later this month.

The Orioles placed Reynolds, who's played third, first and seen time as the designated hitter this season, on the DL on May 12 with a left oblique strain. He's been rehabbing the injury and can come off the DL on May 26.

In addition, Showalter said outfielder Endy Chavez also is doing well. He's working on getting better after going on the DL on May 10 with a left intercostal muscle strain.

Showalter also said that Miguel Tejada, signed earlier this month to a Minor League deal, will head to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday. He's been in extended spring training and will probably see time at third base and DH.

"I haven't seen him play, just heard everything seemed to be going OK," Showalter said. "There's a need in Norfolk, and he was ready to go."

Showalter said there's no concrete plan yet on what they're going to do with Tejada.

Move back to third-base side works for Gregg

WASHINGTON -- Kevin Gregg spent the offseason and Spring Training learning to pitch from the first-base side of the mound, and the results were not at all what he had hoped.

In his first three outings, Gregg allowed more baserunners than he recorded outs. On April 15 against the Blue Jays, he gave up three runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman, all while recording just one out.

That outing led him to undo his mechanical changes. He moved back to the third-base side of the mound, where he had pitched for most of his career, and said he was more comfortable.

"I moved over to the first-base side trying to make it easier to keep the ball in the strike zone, and that was working," Gregg said. "But it created less deception on the ball, so people were making more contact."

Said manager Buck Showalter: "Kevin knows what adjustments need to be made. He's a guy that has been successful for a long time. You don't have that without being able to fight through some adversity now and then."

Since making the switch, Gregg has made seven consecutive outings without allowing a run. He's given up only three hits and three walks while striking out eight in 9 1/3 innings.

"It's just a matter of getting myself right," Gregg said. "I've been in the big leagues for a while, so I know how to pitch. I know how to get people out."


• Adam Jones singled in the first inning on Saturday to extend his hitting streak to a season-high 11 games. He has three hitting streaks of at least 10 games this season. He's been a prodigious power hitter for the O's, knocking a team-leading 14 home runs through 41 games. Last season, Jones hit his 14th home run in the team's 90th game.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. Greg Luca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.