BOSTON -- Nate McLouth feels like he's been lucky to avoid the injury bug this season. He feels even luckier after dodging a serious one on Sunday.
McLouth was hit by a pitch in his right knee and felt his whole leg go numb for a moment, but feeling soon came back and he's now just dealing with general soreness.
In his the third full season since he broke into the Major Leagues seven years ago, McLouth was thrilled the injury was nothing serious.
"I've learned after having struggled for a few years, having had ups and downs throughout my career, I just don't take anything for granted in this game," said McLouth, who has contributed 1.9 wins above replacement, the second highest mark of his career. "I know how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to play here and be here every day. You just don't know when your last day is going to be. So I just really have taken the approach to enjoy it for what it is, because it really is an awesome opportunity that we all have in here."
McLouth entered Tuesday's game eight at-bats away from the 500 mark. Due to injuries and lack of playing time, this is just the third time in his career he's approached 500 at-bats.
McLouth followed up his breakout season in 2008 -- in which he hit 26 homers on his way to his first and only All-Star selection -- with 20 homers in '09. But he hasn't played a full year since.
Manager Buck Showalter said he's been impressed with McLouth's ability to bounce back from a few rocky years to post a .744 OPS while stealing 30 bases and playing a strong defensive outfield in 2013.
"He's just a solid baseball player, a guy you can count on every day," Showalter said. "You know what he's going to bring, he's been in both leagues, been in the fight a lot. I like the fact that he's got his nose bloodied some throughout his career and got back off the deck. He's a tough guy. He fits us well."
Hammel to start crucial series against Rays
BOSTON -- Jason Hammel will start Friday's important game against the Rays, but with Bud Norris battling right elbow soreness and Miguel Gonzalez due to miss one start with a right groin strain, manager Buck Showalter predicted there could be an unfamiliar name starting for the O's on Saturday.
"We used to call it Jonny Wholestaff," Showalter said. "We'll see. I'm hoping Bud feels good enough to [start]."
Norris threw a side session at Fenway Park on Tuesday and came out of it feeling good, but if he's not ready to start on Saturday, Showalter is prepared to go with a multiple-pitcher approach. He said he's identified five or six guys that could go, if needed.
"We'll see how [Norris] is, make a decision on Thursday to see where we're going with him, whether we need a starter for Saturday or not," Showalter said. "Who that will be, we'll talk about when we make that decision."
Wrist better, Pearce activated off disabled list
BOSTON -- After an injection was successful in helping Steve Pearce deal with tendinitis in his left wrist, the Orioles reinstated him from the 15-day disabled list in time for Tuesday's game against the Red Sox.
Pearce has played in 38 games for the O's, batting .241 with a .689 OPS and three homers. He'll provide another right-handed bat off the bench.
"I think the injection really helped him," manager Buck Showalter said.
Pearce, who has been on the DL since Aug. 31, said he's ready to test his wrist with full force and won't hold anything back.
"Let it eat," he said. "I had an offseason to get ready. I'll do anything to help the team, so I'll go out there and I'll swing."
O'Day could return to bullpen on Wednesday
BOSTON -- Sidearming righty Darren O'Day could return to the Orioles as soon as Wednesday.
Manager Buck Showalter said he spoke to his late-inning reliever on Tuesday, and O'Day reported feeling good after throwing all of his pitches off a mound in Sarasota, Fla.
"We'll see how he feels in the morning when he comes in," Showalter said. "He still has a little bit of soreness from the actual injections, so he seems to be making progress."
O'Day has pitched just twice this month, the last time Sept. 7, due to tingling and numbness in the fingers of his pitching hand.
"Compressed nerve is the way I understand it," Showalter explained. "The inflammation was doing it. Once we get the inflammation out of there, the nerve is no longer compressed. I could be wrong, but that's the way I understood it."
O'Day has posted his second consecutive impressive season, posting an identical 2.28 ERA while striking out nearly a batter per inning. The O's have been forced to mix and match in the late innings without the 30-year-old available.
• Red Sox closer Koji Uehara, who spent his first three years in the Majors with the Orioles, entered Tuesday having retired 37 consecutive batters. Showalter said he was impressed, but not surprised by Uehara's success with the Red Sox.
"We made an offer [in the offseason], they just offered a lot more than we could," Showalter said of Uehara's contract that pays $4.25 million this season. "We wanted him back. We miss him. He's a good man. I like him a lot."
• The Orioles lead the season series against the Red Sox 7-6 and are 20-11 against Boston since the beginning of 2012.
• Sixteen of the Orioles' last 22 games have been decided by two or fewer runs, though the O's are 6-10 in those 16 games.
• The Orioles' 113 errorless games this season are a new club record (previously 104 in 1998). They tied the 2008 Houston Astros for most errorless games in a season since 1900.