ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The news was light again today as manager Buck Showalter sat in the visiting dugout at Tropicana Field for his pregame media session.
Three of the four starters have been confirmed for the Red Sox series at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy takes the mound in Friday night’s opener, Yefry Ramírez starts one of the doubleheader games on Saturday and Alex Cobb closes out the series on Sunday.
Jimmy Yacabonis is a candidate to be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk and start Saturday. He worked only 1 1/3 innings last night, but not according to his schedule. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre collected three runs and five hits.
“They shortened up Yacabonis last night,” said manager Buck Showalter. “So did the other team.”
Yacabonis allowed seven runs and walked five batters in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start. He isn’t carrying a hot hand.
Outfielder Craig Gentry, on the disabled list with a fractured rib, began his injury rehab assignment last night with Double-A Bowie and went 1-for-2 with a walk.
“Ran around good, felt good, so that’s encouraging,” Showalter said.
How does a veteran outfielder like Gentry fit into a rebuild?
“That’s a question that we’ll have to answer,” Showalter said. “I think everybody loves having Craig on the club. He plays the game the way that you like to see it played, and he’s so versatile. He can do a lot of things.
“Every club, including ours, is in need of a guy like Craig. He’s got some value. But what you perceive as value may not be what another club perceives as value. ... When he gets healthy he’s going to play in the big leagues for somebody. We’ll just see how it fits when that time comes.
“We are closer to September, about three weeks away, so we’ve got some roster room, too.”
Cedric Mullins is out of Norfolk’s lineup again tonight due to a stomach virus. The Orioles can’t select his contract if he’s sick.
First baseman Chris Davis struck out three times last night and brings a .159 average into tonight’s game. He’s been in the .152-.161 range since June 27.
“There are a couple games where you think he’s getting ready to have a real streak or spurt or whatever you want to call it, where he’s really making some big contributions,” Showalter said. “We know the potential’s there, but he’s just having a lot of trouble sustaining things for an extended period of time. And that’s been frustrating for him and for us.”
Davis committed a costly throwing error last night on a potential double play ball in the eighth inning that led to two unearned runs and enabled the Rays to tie the game.
“It’s a play that he’s made a long time,” Showalter said. “In fact, it’s something he does real well, so it was very surprising to see, because we have something to gauge it against: how good he’s been at that play.
“That’s what’s tough. And it wasn’t the whole game. We had other opportunities to push across a run here and there.”
Davis fielded Matt Duffy’s ground ball and tried to start a 3-6-3 double play with Mallex Smith, who reached on Evan Phillips’ leadoff walk, breaking for second base.
“When I came up with Texas, I didn’t come up as a guy whose defense was going to set him apart, and it became a point of pride for me because I was always a hitter, but I always thought of myself as so much more of a complete player,” Davis said.
“I was thinking about it last night and it was just a bad throw. I think the combination of the speed that was on first, the ball kind of came up and knuckled when it got to me, so I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked. But I just uncorked it. I saw where (Tim) Beckham was as he was going to the bag and I threw it right where he was standing, not where he was going, and it was just a bad throw. And there’s no one to blame but me.”
Shameless plug alert: I’m doing a live hit for “O’s Xtra,” which begins at 6:30 p.m. on MASN2.
Update II: The Orioles committed two errors in the bottom of the first inning and the Rays scored twice off Andrew Cashner to tie the game 2-2. Cashner allowed three hits.
Update III: Mark Trumbo led off the fourth inning with a home run to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead.
Update IV: The Rays scored another unearned run in the seventh to tie the game 3-3. Beckham was charged with his second error of the night.