Xavier Avery talks about his return to the Orioles

For the first time since May 28 in Toronto, Xavier Avery will be back in the Orioles lineup tonight. He’ll bat second and play left field.

“It’s always a surprise (to get called up) because you never know what can happen. It’s a big surprise,” Avery said of returning to the Orioles.

He was with the Orioles from May 13-28, batting .217 in 15 games. He hit .313 his first eight games but went just 3-for-28 over his last seven before being optioned back to the Tides.

“I didn’t get a chance to make an adjustment when I was up here and the pitchers made an adjustment on me,” the 22-year-old Avery said of that first chance in the major leagues. “I just realized they made an adjustment and I was in the process (of adjusting to that) when I got sent down. When I got back to Norfolk, they were kind of doing the same thing and I then I focused on things I needed to work on when I was down there.”

Avery was asked what specifically American League pitchers were doing to get him out at the end of his first tenure with the club.

“Mainly, in certain counts, throwing offspeed pitches. You know ,like in hitter’s counts throwing a changeup so I had to focus on going the other way more often than I did in the past,” he said.

But with 15 major league games now under his belt, the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2008 feels ready to help now with those 60 big league at-bats to draw on.

“Definitely. It was an experience for me and the experience is what teaches you - how to get better, how to make adjustments - so definitely it was a benefit,” Avery said.

Avery has been a leadoff hitter most of his minor league career but he’ll bat second tonight.

“I batted second when B-Rob (Brian Roberts) was with us in Norfolk,” Avery said. “I won’t say I’m used to batting behind him, but I’ve batted behind him before.”

Avery had really picked it up at bat in the last few days with Norfolk. Over his last 11 Triple-A games, Avery was batting .333 (14-for-42) with three doubles, eight walks, five steals, 11 runs, one homer and six RBIs. Overall, in 59 Norfolk games, he was batting .268 with six homers, 26 RBIs and an OPS of .783.

There is some playing time to be had in left field in Baltimore right now - and maybe in the future as well, with Nolan Reimold out injured. But Avery is not looking that far down the road.

“I try not to focus too much about other players’ injuries. I just wish they get better. I’m just focusing on doing my job, helping the team and if I can do that, I’m happy,” he said.

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