CHICAGO - After he went 1-for-12 with eight strikeouts in the first three games of the Boston series, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis didn’t start Sunday against Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
Davis got a “reset” in late April when he sat out two games, but manager Buck Showalter said today that is not going to happen this time. Davis is staying in the lineup for now.
“No, we’ve done that (a reset),” he said. “Came back and played pretty well. Lot of confidence that Chris will figure it out and that will happen by playing. Work through it. He and Scott (Coolbaugh, hitting coach) have tried a lot of different things. He’s our first baseman. Plays every day, except when there is not a good matchup. He’s playing tonight. He just hasn’t been able to get on that consistent roll we know he is capable of.”
Showalter indicated today that David Hess is staying in the rotation after starting Sunday in Boston. Hess is lined up to pitch Friday on the road against Tampa Bay.
“I really want to see Miguel (Castro) start. But unfortunately he’s so valuable down there (in the bullpen). Right now I am planning on David starting,” Showalter said.
Showalter said closer Zach Britton is scheduled to begin his minor league rehab assignment on May 30 for Triple-A Norfolk. Britton will throw a one-inning simulated game here tomorrow and a two-inning sim game Saturday at Tropicana Field. If that goes well, the rehab assignment will then commence.
Meanwhile right-hander Darren O’Day has still not been activated. He last pitched on May 4 and has been on the disabled list with a hyperextended right elbow. He will throw again tomorrow pregame in Chicago.
“Nothing imminent there,” said Showalter. “Getting a little bit better every day. But it’s really slow-moving. We are getting close to the time (on the DL) that he might have to go out on a rehab (assignment). There is just (still) soreness in one place. Nothing structurally (wrong). It’s going to proceed at its rate. We’re just not comfortable pushing it any faster than we’re pushing it. It’s going to move real fast once that last little bit gets out. Then it’s just a matter, is he going to pitch in the game that night or somewhere else (in the minors)?”
Chris Tillman, on the DL with a lower back strain, threw today for the first time since he went on the disabled list on May 11.
“Went well. It was like long toss out in the outfield. First time he had the ball in his hand,” the skipper said.
Of course, Showalter was asked about Manny Machado and the media horde that sought him out for an interview earlier today. Is speculation about Machado’s future impacting the team?
“No. Manny is very professional and will answer your questions, because he knows you have to have a sound bite on it,” he said. “He’ll deal with it. His focus is where it needs to be - look at his numbers. He’s in the running for American League MVP right now. He’s really settled in at shortstop, too. He’s playing a good shortstop. It’s newsworthy, I got it. I hope we win the next 20 games and he’s here all year.
“Some people feed off that. Manny doesn’t mind the spotlight. He doesn’t mind being expected to be that guy. He’s a special talent and he has become an all-around teammate, everything. He’s reached a level of maturity that has been fun to watch. You see him as a puppy before, so to speak. He’s on the front porch now with the rest of the big dogs.”
Showalter also today noted a strong Sunday on the farm for the Orioles. It included right-hander Michael Baumann’s strong outing in his Carolina League debut for Single-A Frederick, the latest outing for Hunter Harvey, doubleheader sweeps for Single-A Frederick and Triple-A Norfolk, a Preston Palmeiro grand slam for the Keys, and big games for Ryan Mountcastle and Cedric Mullins at Double-A.
“We had a great night in the minor leagues last night. Are you kidding me? That’s one of the best nights we’ve had all year,” Showalter said as the farm teams went 6-1.
Manny again: Machado hit his 15th homer to provide the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the fourth. He hit a 2-1 changeup from Héctor Santiago 411-feet to left. It was his sixth homer in his past 11 games and 12th in the last 29.
Jones homers: Adam Jones’ eighth homer made it a 3-1 lead in the sixth, following the last of the fifth where Chicago cut its deficit to 2-1. With two on, José Abreu doubled in a run but a potential second run was cut down 7-6-2 at the plate to end the inning. Left fielder Trey Mancini had two outfield assists in that inning.
Mychal Givens replaced Cashner in the sixth with a 3-2 lead and stranded runners on second and third with no outs. His brilliant relief job kept the O’s in the lead and gives Cashner a shot at a win.