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7/20/2013 9:09 P.M. ET

McLouth impacting game whether he runs or not

ARLINGTON -- Orioles left fielder Nate McLouth stole his first base since June 19 in the first inning Saturday night, and that's perfectly fine with manager Buck Showalter.

"I love what he's doing," Showalter said of McLouth, who has a career-high 25 steals in 29 attempts already this season. "It's not there. Guys are about 1.1 [seconds] to the plate when he's over there now. And he's not going to run into outs."

McLouth has the second-most stolen bases in the American League, and the 31-year-old has been a spark atop the lineup, taking over the bulk of the Orioles' leadoff duties. Through the team's first 97 games, McLouth hit .278 with six homers and 17 RBIs, and his speedy ways sparked a team T-shirt giveaway that dubbed him the "Base Bandit."

"We talked about it in the dugout the other day," Showalter said. "He said you all [in the media] are saying something to him about it. He said, 'The [stolen bases] are not there.' I said, 'I know they are not. But by them being quicker on you, the guys are hitting better, because [of the offspeed] pitches they aren't able to throw.' So, he's impacting the game even when he doesn't run. If they relax on him again, he'll ambush them."

Worth noting

• Steve Johnson (left oblique strain) threw two innings on Friday with no problem and he will pitch for short-season Aberdeen next.

• Outfielder Eric Thames (left hand fracture) was activated from the disabled list and got his first start in the Orioles' organization on Friday, playing right field for Triple-A Norfolk.

• With Friday's win, Showalter became just the fourth Major League manager to win 250 or more games with four different teams. Showalter's previous three stops were with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.