Notes on Davis, the rotation and more

Chris Davis is out of the Orioles lineup tonight for a variety of reasons, but his prolonged slump seems to be the primary issue.

Davis batted .175/.292/.381 with six homers and 36 strikeouts in June, and .167/.250/.333 with four homers and 38 strikeouts in July. He showed up early again today to work on his swing mechanics in the indoor cage.

The Orioles are facing a tough young left-hander in Seattle's James Paxton. Nick Markakis is the only left-handed batter in tonight's lineup.

Also, Davis still has a cough. He isn't completely recovered from the flu.

Manager Buck Showalter told reporters that Davis will return to the lineup on Sunday.

The Orioles are giving away Davis action figures tonight to the first 10,000 fans 15 and under. Showalter mentioned the unfortunate timing of Davis being on the bench.

The Orioles discussed signing veteran left-hander Joe Saunders over the winter and converting him into a reliever. They inked him to a minor league deal over the weekend after he agreed to move into the bullpen.

"Joe ain't scared," Showalter said.

Pitching coach Dave Wallace, away from the team this weekend while attending his daughter's wedding, will take a flight back to Baltimore that's due to arrive at 8 a.m. Sunday morning.

Kevin Gausman will oppose Tanner Roark when the Orioles play the Nationals in Monday night's makeup game in D.C.

Bud Norris, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez will start in the three-game series against the Blue Jays at Rogers Center. Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison and J.A. Happ will start for Toronto.

Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching Sunday night at Triple-A Norfolk in what's expected to be the final start on his injury rehab assignment.

It would be a major surprise if the Orioles didn't sign reliever Jim Johnson to a minor league deal next week. There's definite interest on their side and he never wanted to leave the organization.

I'm told that Johnson, who lives in Sarasota, wouldn't be allowed to throw a bullpen session at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.

Be sure to watch "O's Xtra," which airs at 6:30 p.m. on MASN2. You can watch CardiacScott throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

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