Thoughts on Pearce, Davis and a conversation between Dickerson and Schoop

The Orioles may be too rested tonight as they begin their series in Toronto.

A night game after a day game? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

Left-hander T.J. McFarland has joined the club and will be in the visiting bullpen tonight at Rogers Centre. A corresponding move will be announced this afternoon.

Eighteen games into the season and the Norfolk shuttle already is cranked up.

pearce swing white sidebar.jpgI’m wondering about Steve Pearce’s immediate future with the Orioles. As I noted yesterday, he’s received only one start and seven at-bats, with Nelson Cruz and Delmon Young basically pinning him to the bench. The Orioles need a reliever, which is why they recalled McFarland. They need all of their middle infielders with shortstop J.J. Hardy slowed by a strained hamstring following the back spasms and tightness that cost him six games.

A right-handed hitting corner outfielder? Not in high demand at the moment, though Pearce also can back up at first base.

Pearce has earned manager Buck Showalter’s respect with his work ethic and ability to sit for long periods and still offer a quality at-bat. His wrist didn’t heal properly last season only because he took too many swings while fighting to get back on the active roster. And nobody centered the ball more than Pearce in spring training.

He’s the kind of guy you root for in this game. He’s also the type who tends to become expendable to one team and desirable to another, which explains all the change-of-address forms.

I’d totally understand if Chris Davis tried to book an earlier flight to Toronto, where he’s a career .356/.456/.736 hitter with 12 doubles, seven home runs and 19 RBIs in 25 games. He has 19 doubles, 20 homers and 50 RBIs in 63 games against the Blue Jays.

No team takes more abuse from Davis than the Blue Jays.

An interesting scene unfolded in the clubhouse immediately following Sunday night’s 6-5 loss to the Red Sox. Hardy and third base coach Bobby Dickerson, who works with the infielders, stood near the trainers’ room and chatted with rookie Jonathan Schoop while players quietly ate their postgame meal and reporters tried to collect interviews in a space approximately the size of a toll booth.

The discussion didn’t last long, but it drew my attention because Schoop had committed an error after moving from second to third and failed to cut off David Lough’s throw in the bottom of the ninth as the winning run scampered home. Lough was charged with the error, but Schoop took full responsibility for being out of position and indecisive.

“We were just talking about really everything,” Dickerson told me yesterday morning. “He’s learning on the fly, that position, and we just talked about decisions and trying to make sure he keeps the game going slow, don’t let the game speed him up. And just talked about basically that play and his options on the backhand down the line and should he or should not have cut that ball.

“I let him answer instead of telling him. I want to see where his mind was, you know? And again, he’s got 20-something games in the minor leagues at third and he’s learning on the fly here. That’s basically what we talked about.

“He just felt like he wasn’t in line. It happened pretty quick, He thought he had a force out at third base. He thought he might have a force out there, so he was working himself back to the cutoff position, so he was in a bad position to cut or line it up. It was kind of a quick happening play.”

Schoop has played only 24 games at third in the minors, and none since 2011. Twenty of those games took place at low Single-A Delmarva.

“Obviously, his clock’s a lot better at second because that’s where he’s done his development,” Dickerson said. “Just like I told him, physically, his hands, his feet, his arm are fine. They all work. But the clock at third base for him right now, it’s just being unfamiliar with the position that causes him to speed up a little bit. And those are the things that are only curable with time on the field. We’re going to continue to work at it and we will improve it.”

Putting in the extra time isn’t an issue for Schoop. Neither is listening to his coaches and learning from his mistakes, such as getting picked off second base in an earlier game after losing track of the count.

“No question,” Dickerson said. “He does not run from any responsibility. He’s accountable for his actions. And like any other thing in life, if you can acknowledge something, you can fix it, and that’s the No. 1 thing. And he does. He does not run from it.

“He’s a self-evaluator. He looks in the mirror and he can see his mistakes, and that’s another thing that’s impressive about him.”

Schoop has played 13 games at third base with the Orioles and committed four errors. Two came in one inning, and Showalter put him in the lineup the following night as a vote of confidence. Schoop had the error and missed cutoff Sunday night, started at third again yesterday and drove in a run with a single in the third.

Hardy was out of the lineup, but Showalter could have started Schoop at second and put Ryan Flaherty or Steve Lombardozzi at third. He wanted Schoop back on the hot corner.

Nice support system.

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