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Thames looking good against lefties

Thames looking good against lefties

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BALTIMORE -- With a tough lefty on the mound for the Orioles on Thursday, Marcus Thames once again arrived at the ballpark and spotted his name in the lineup.

Thames made manager Joe Girardi look good, stroking three hits off Brian Matusz -- including a run-scoring double in the sixth inning -- and working a walk in his fourth plate appearance.

"I know my job, and I'm ready to play when my name is in the lineup card," Thames said. "I've been working with [hitting coach Kevin Long] every day. I try to carry it over in the game."

Thames has made seven starts this season, all against left-handers. Sixteen of his 19 at-bats have been against southpaws, and he has 10 hits in his last 14 at-bats.

"He's played very well," Girardi said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do."

The lineup swap put Nick Johnson back on the bench after he'd gone 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored on Thursday. Nick Swisher moved up to second in the lineup, and Thames batted sixth.

Thames had to sweat a little bit to make the team as a non-roster invitee this spring, pitted against Rule 5 selection Jamie Hoffmann, but that is beginning to seem like ancient history as he enjoys a hot start.

"It's great," he said. "I hit some balls in Spring Training, and they caught them. Everything evens out, I guess. I was just ready to get out of Spring Training, and when I found out that I made the ballclub, it took a little bit off of me. I was beating myself up, even though I worked hard in the offseason."

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