Mancini’s adjustments at the plate, Beckham’s draft day and more

The Orioles are 3-3 on their road trip as they conclude their series against the Athletics today with Jeremy Hellickson making his third start since the trade. He’s allowed three runs in 13 innings.

Kevin Gausman, Wade Miley and Ubaldo Jiménez are the starters for the series in Seattle that begins Monday night. The Mariners are listing Yovani Gallardo, TBD and Marco Gonzalez.

I can’t fill up my notebook in Seattle until I clean it out. At least in theory. I usually just change notebooks.

Trey Mancini had two more hits and an RBI in last night’s 12-5 win over the Athletics. He’s batting .297 with an .869 OPS.

A big part of Mancini’s education is adjusting to the way pitchers attack him. Scouting reports become more extensive and trends are detected. If one approach isn’t working, another one is utilized.

“It’s kind of been a cycle, I’d say,” Mancini said. “Like, at first I got challenged a lot at the beginning of the year with fastballs and everything. And then I think after I started having some success, they went to a lot of breaking stuff for a while. Then, I had a little tough go of it at first and kind of adjusted to that. Now, I think they’re just kind of mixing everything.

“I’m getting more fastballs, I think, now than I maybe was at that time. Yeah, it’s just kind of an everlasting, having to adjust. And sometimes, I can still get away from my right-center approach, which is what I always try to have. I keep trying to do that, even if I am getting challenged more with fastballs inside.”

Mancini’s three-hit day in the series finale against the Tigers included a home run and single to left field and a single to right.

Trey-Mancini-run-orange-sidebar.jpgManager Buck Showalter is comfortable with Mancini in left field, a huge development with Chris Davis blocking first base and Mark Trumbo getting most of his at-bats as the designated hitter.

“Left field is so different than right field,” Showalter said. “I played them both and people don’t realize. I think left field might be as tough to play as any of them, maybe the most impactful. If you have an above-average left fielder, you are ahead of everybody else for the most part. There’s a lot of throws made there.

“Most outfielders that have played all three will tell you left field is the hardest to play. The way the balls come off the bat are different than in right field. Most right-handed hitters that hit the ball the other way don’t spin the ball side to side. A lot of left-handers, you’ve got a lot of curve. Right field, it’s not easy, but I don’t think you get as much of that as you do in left field. The angles are tougher.”

Tim Beckham’s first 12 games as an Oriole resemble what you might expect from a guy who was the first overall pick in the 2008 draft, though it’s pretty much a crapshoot and selection status doesn’t come with any guarantees.

The Rays chose Beckham out of Griffin (Ga.) High School. He was tabbed as the top prep prospect and a legitimate five-tool player who batted .482 with 13 doubles, six home runs, 41 RBIs and 23 stolen bases as a senior.

There probably was a signability lure, as well.

The Rays narrowed their list of candidates to two players - Beckham and Florida State catcher Buster Posey, who made the conversion from shortstop. Posey, as it turned out, would have been the wiser choice. The Giants took him with the fifth pick and you know the rest.

“We feel like (Beckham’s) got an advanced approach to the game, a genuine enthusiasm for what he does, and we feel like he’s got a great chance to be an impact player in the major leagues,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said on the day of the draft.

The Pirates took Pedro Álvarez with the second overall pick. He’s also in the Orioles organization, playing first base and mashing the ball at Triple-A Norfolk.

The Orioles took left-hander Brian Matusz with the fourth pick. The Diamondbacks released him in May from their Triple-A affiliate and he hasn’t signed with another team.

The Cubs selected infielder Ryan Flaherty with the 41st pick out of Vanderbilt University and the Orioles grabbed him in the Rule 5 draft. Left-hander Miley, out of Southeastern Louisiana, went to the Diamondbacks two picks later.

Beckham has worn No. 1 in the majors. Who’s your favorite Oriole to don the digit?

I’m going with the obvious choice - Everth Cabrera.

OK, seriously, it’s Al Bumbry for me. I’m guessing that Brian Roberts will get some votes here. Probably won’t be many for Manny Alexander, Jeff Stone and the late Juan Bell.

If Jeffrey Maier picks Tony Tarasco, I’m gonna slug him.

Beckham hit the 10,000th regular season home run in Orioles history. But did you know that there have been 22 inside-the-park homers among them?

Trivia: Who’s the last Orioles player to hit an inside-the-park home run? Answer below. And no fair looking it up.

Catcher Clint Courtney hit the first home run for the Orioles on April 15, 1954 against the White Sox. The most home runs have been hit against the Yankees (967).

Also, 184 have been hit in extra innings, including catcher Andy Etchebarren’s two-run shot off the Senators’ Bob Priddy in the 19th inning on June 4, 1967.

Buck Britton, older brother of Orioles closer Zach Britton, is in his first season as hitting coach at Single-A Delmarva. He decided to give up on playing in the majors at the age of 30.

“I guess reality hits pretty quick, right?” Britton said during a spring training game at Ed Smith Stadium.

(Yes, I’m finally posting part of the interview. Nice to have one saved for a rainy day. Or a sunny vacation.)

“For me, I got injured midway through 2015 and last year I didn’t feel the same,” he said. “I think that was baseball’s way of kind of telling me, hey, this is kind of a means to an end. And I was an aging player. You see guys getting in the big leagues now, they’re 22, 23. Now, the guys who are hanging around are guys who are moving up and down. Everybody now wants that young controllable talent in the big leagues. Reality set in.”

I watched Britton doing some work with Davis during the first baseman’s injury rehab game at Delmarva, accompanying him into the cage between innings for some extra swings.

Britton spent seven seasons in the Orioles farm system before finishing with the Triple-A affiliates of the Dodgers and Twins. He was done as a player by his own choice, no longer interested in signing another minor league deal.

The student became the teacher.

“That’s been one of the hardest things, especially as a hitting coach,” he said. “In the past I was just worried about myself and understanding what it took for me to be ready when I was struggling, what I needed to do to prepare. But now I’m responsible for 20-30 guys.

“The biggest challenge is trying to understand how to talk to players and get them to understand what I’m thinking and try to help them in ways that helped me and build that trust factor in these young players, because they look at me as a guy who’s (31) years old. I’m not one of those old guys who’s been in baseball forever, so that trust factor’s going to be very important.

“I told myself when I decided to do this, I want to be the coach that I would have wanted to play for. I didn’t want to play for a guy who was like, ‘This is how you do it or else.’ Because baseball, there’s a lot of different ways to do things, there’s a lot of different ideas. Everybody’s skill set is different, so you’re trying to train somebody based on their personality, the type of player they’re going to be. I can’t tell somebody, ‘Hey, go hit like Chris Davis’ who’s 5-11 and 150 pounds. It’s not going to work for him. That’s going to be the fun and exciting challenge for me.”

Zach Britton knew that his brother was intrigued by the idea of instructing players instead of competing with them.

“He had talked about it for maybe the past year and a half, if he would like coaching. And I was talking to Showalter about it a little bit and he thought my brother would be a good coach,” Britton said.

“They had him go to instructs last year, kind of to just get a feel for it. Then he went and played winter ball in the Dominican and I guess when he was over there he felt like, ‘Well, maybe this is the time to start coaching.’ “

The next step involved director of player development Brian Graham, who reached out to Buck Britton to gauge his interest.

“(Graham) wanted to see if that was something he wanted to do and he said, ‘Yeah, let’s see.’ And it took off a little bit,” Zach Britton said.

“It was maybe a little sooner than I thought he would, but I think he was just physically and mentally ready to make that transition.”

Answer: Robert Andino hit the Orioles’ last inside-the-park home run on Sept. 26, 2011 against the Red Sox at Camden Yards.

Anyone remember Boog Powell hitting one against former teammate Steve Barber, who was pitching for the Seattle Pilots? It happened on Aug. 16, 1969, with a runner on base and two outs in the ninth inning.

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