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Red-hot Valencia gets start against righty pitcher

TORONTO -- Red-hot designated hitter Danny Valencia was back in the Orioles' starting lineup Friday, earning his first start of the season against a right-hander in Toronto's Todd Redmond.

"I'm not going to put a stereotype on him that he's purely just [good] against left-handers," said manager Buck Showalter, who has primarily used Valencia in a platoon role. "He's shown that his whole career he handles that well, but it's not like he goes down to Triple-A and can't hit a right-handed pitcher. A lot of it depends on how the pitcher is right now ... the matchups have been in his favor without looking at what you look at vs. [Redmond]. But I think he's deserving [of] a continued opportunity."

Valencia, 28, was batting .548 (23-for-42) with seven doubles, four homers and 10 RBIs over his last 12 games entering Friday. Nine of those are multihit contests, and he's fresh off a game-tying three-run homer in Thursday's 6-5 loss to the Yankees.

"It's one of those streaks where I've been fortunate enough to have some balls find holes and make some solid contact in between," said Valencia, who has a .380/.402/.684 line against lefties this year. "A lot of guys go through it. There are definitely more ups than there are downs in this game, it's just nice to be swinging the bat pretty well and helping the team as much as I can."

Valencia had never faced Redmond, but he has held his own against righties, with four homers and nine RBIs in 33 at-bats this season entering Friday.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli.
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